In 1986 my mother in Holland was in an advanced state of cervical cancer and terminal. She phoned me in South Africa to tell and ask me that she was on her last leg and would I be able to come over to say good-bye. Of course I went and sat with her for three weeks. She was so calm and accepting of her impending death. We said good-bye; how do you say ‘good’-bye, knowing that you will never see that person again? I held her head in my two hands and looked deep into her eyes and said that she must have a wonderful trip (she was deeply religious).
A week later her house doctor of 30 years came in and said with a ‘cheerful’ voice that he was going to help her over the threshold and she willingly put out her arm and he injected her. He told my sister, who was a geriatric nurse, to watch her to see that she would not come out of her coma. That is how she died and I am infinitely grateful to that doctor, who is also dead by now. So gracious, dignified and serene.
That’s the way I want to go, too. Thank you, Mom, for being a role model in dying!