Author: Jessica Hadari
The way a person looks when life is leaving their body. Why is it that people at the end of their life often look light as feathers, so slight and thin. I guess for some of them, their bodies have fought so hard or so long that they simply have nothing left and no reason to layer on the usual fat and supple skin we are so used to seeing on even the thinnest of healthy human beings.
Writing this it seems obvious, that a person would be so thin, so slight at the end of life; but to see a person in the dying process as diminutive, as if they might sink down and disappear into their bed; skin like shrink-wrap over bones that seem impossibly thin and fragile, and also insignificant in the moment.
I remember Tuesday December 6th 2011 as the most intense of my hospice volunteer shifts so far. Three residents passed away between the Monday evening before my shift and the middle of my Tuesday morning shift.
Hearing the news about *Anne’s passing; she had lived at the Guest House for about a year, give or take. The nursing staff was grieving this beloved resident who had given me such a radiant smile the week or so before. Her body had already been taken away by the time I got there. We went into her room and looked at her family photos, still posted on the walls.
*Mabel had also passed some time in the night. She had only been at the house for one week. My last shift was spent entirely at her bedside. I fed her tiny little spoonfuls of yogurt and oatmeal. She could not speak so our communication was entirely through the eyes. Hers were so subtly expressive and yet so mild. She had seemed like one of those naturally patient and gentle women. An occasional movement that looked like a nod or a frown lent to the communications of “Yes, I would like more” or “No, I would like to rest now.”
I went in to see her body. The nursing staff always tidies the hair and places the hands on the belly or chest. I was happy she had been released. I was so please to be a part of her bathing ritual.
Roy washed her face, I washed her hands and arms. This bathing ritual felt more awkward than I wanted as her body had begun to stiffen. It was hard to shift her arms. Melanie washed her feet. Mabel’s niece whispered lovely farewells and blessings as she stroked Mabel’s white hair.
Melanie and the nurses aid cut down the back of a beautiful white cotton gown that Mabel’s niece brought for her. I helped to undress her and noticed she had only one breast. The other, I supposed, had been removed with surgery a long time ago; I could not see any dark scaring.
What ordeals and experiences this women must have been through in her long life?
Perhaps it will never not be strange for me to see a body with no breath in it. She looked beautiful like and angel in her cotton gown with blue embroidery around the collar.
Jessica Hadari is the founder of the Miracle Salon and the FEM Talks Alliance of Women Leaders, Educators & Healers.
Passionate about the "self-blossoming woman", for 15 years she has been privileged to lead countless women’s circles. Her greatest love? Watching women transform in the arenas of relationships, divine path and spiritual growth.
Each month she produces the Miracle Salon, a celebrated woman's wisdom networking event, as well as Women's Wisdom & Prayer Circles. Jessica immensely enjoys producing and collaborating around any women's event centered on emotional freedom.
She's a mother, writer, artist, hospice caregiver, master yoga teacher, holistic health practitioner, officiant, unconditional friend and voice of accountability in her Bay Area women’s communities.
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