“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die…”
King Solomon ca. 935 B.C.
She lay in the hospital bed, head to one side, staring out the window with unblinking eyes. Her chest heaved with every breath. The death-rattle gurgled in her throat.
I knew her name, but nothing more.
She looked old.
A wedding band encircled her ring finger. Was her husband still living? Or had he passed on and now waited for her to join him?
Her hand twitched, then became still once again.
I studied the frail form under the bed covers. In my mind’s eye I saw a little girl wearing black patent leather shoes and white ankle socks trimmed in lace. She giggled and twirled around in her Sunday-best dress that was gathered at the waist and buttoned down the back.
Did she make chocolate chip cookies with her mommy and lick the bowl clean? Did grandmothers shower her with hugs and kisses? How quickly life passes by. Did she become a mother? Was she blessed with grandchildren to love?
I would never know. Our lives only intersected for two short hours during the wee hours of the morning.
She was a NODA vigil.
I am a NODA volunteer. We offer a comforting presence to dying patients. Why? Because No One should Die while all Alone.
For more information about the NODA program, go to my blog titled “NODA”.