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Angel of death

I'm not sure I completely understand what happened today...

It started out like a typical Friday.  Fridays are met with a bundle of fatigue from the harried pace of the week and a hope that maybe a calm weekend is in store.  I mostly like Fridays.

I finished cleaning my first house at 11am.  I was headed to my second house, and as I past the donut shop, I had the thought that I should stop and take a dozen donuts to the couple whose house I was headed to clean next but, I was running a little behind and I didn't want them to think I was not showing up, so I decided I would make a donut run after I cleaned their home.

You see, I have been cleaning for them the past 4 years.  In those 4 years, I have become very attached to them.  I always looked forward to spending an hour or two with them.  They are so very generous, good humored and completely loving.  I loved hearing the husband talk about the chickens he loved so much who roamed in the back yard.  Each week, he would share a dozen eggs with me.  I never left their house empty handed.  They were always sharing something with me; little gifts for the kids, even though they lived on a meager income themselves.

My kids loved being with these people as much as I did.  Often, the boys would go up on the weekend and help them with yard work, moving things into the shed for the winter, just a little bit here and there.   Recently, shortly after Spencer got home from his mission, the wife was having a very hard time and I called the kids to come up, mostly so the boys could do a couple heavy things she needed done, and just to help cheer her up.  Shelbie brought her lunch and visited with her while I cleaned, the boys did the hard work and Spencer gave her a sweet blessing.

I love these people!

Today, as I walked in the back door from the kitchen, It was quiet.  I called out to my friend so I wouldn't startle her.  As I headed back to the bedrooms, she met me at the hall and informed me that her husband had just taken his last breath.  I held her and she sobbed on my shoulder.  I couldn't even believe it!  He had passed away less than a minute before I arrived!

I felt blessed to be able to help her clean up.  He had had a difficult couple of days with pneumonia, his lungs had filled up with blood so there was a bit of a mess but I didn't mind.  It was the most sacred cleaning job I have done.   It didn't take long for her kids and grandkids to arrived.  I ushered them in,  and quietly cleaned the rest of the house, changed beds and got things ready for her kids coming in from out of town.  I tended to the dogs and gathered up all of the medical equipment and took it out to the shed.  I threw out the oxygen tubes, and helped the nurse finish her job.  It was sad but I had to be brave.  For all the family coming in, the undertakers, the Bishop, I was just the cleaning lady.  No one but the wife really understands the connection I had with this man.

This was the 12th person I was there for as they passed away.  I'm not sure why I have been given this task.  I've always been in this role...Someday,  I will understand this.

It was interesting to hear his step grandkids say goodbye.  Their tears were filled with love and appreciation to this gentle man who loved everyone.  It was touching for me to be a part of that.

In contrast, his own daughter arrived.  From what I understand, they have not been close.  My heart broke even more to hear that the first words out of her mouth were regret.  What a painful moment.

Last week when I was there, he was having a rough time with pain.  Before I left, I stood by his bed, held his hand and I asked him if a donut would make him feel better?  He loved donuts.  I was the donut girl to him.  I made sure he always had a little treat, his favorite maple bars.  I said to him, "I think what you need to feel better is a maple bar!"  His eyes lit up and the biggest smile came across his face, "That's exactly what I need Kathy!! I love you so much!!" he said.

The next day, I took him the promised donuts and he was overjoyed.  He sat up in bed and I helped him eat his donuts and drink his Ensure.  He hugged me and I told him how much I loved him and he told me how much he enjoyed the treat.   I left last Saturday feeling so blessed.

Though it's so hard to say goodbye to these people I get so attached to, it is a blessing and I am reminded with each friend that passes what a sacred, holy moment death is.


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