My next-door neighbor is dying. She has been on dialysis for some time, along with numerous other health problems. She had a heart attack last week, and the doctors have come to the conclusion that there's not much more they can do.
Her husband came by to tell us. We have been neighbors for 34 years. I don't know how it ever gets easy to give (or receive) that kind of news.
She told the doctors that she's tired. Tired of treatments, tired of bandaids, tired of dialysis. She's done. She wants to go home to Jesus. Today was her last dialysis treatment. She will surely be gone by this weekend.
She won't have Christmas. No more birthdays. Thanksgiving was her last holiday. Last night there were over a dozen cars parked out in front of their house--which made Mark and I suspect that things weren't going well for her. Her husband told us that their kids surprised them with a big gathering - a party! - of family and friends. "Everyone you could think of was there," he said.
We asked if she was up for a short visit from us. Yes, he said, but make it soon. She won't be here much longer.
Last year another elderly friend of ours died after he decided to stop dialysis. He was blind and confined to a wheel chair in a nursing home because his wife was frail and couldn't care for him on her own. After several years of living in those circumstances, he said, "Enough." He died peacefully a few days later, surrounded by his family.
I hope my neighbor's passing is that easy, that rich, for her and her family.
We gave her husband a hug and thanked him for including us in the news, and we sent him home to his wife. Every moment is so precious for them now. We'll make a short visit later this evening.
It just makes you think. About moments. And how precious they are. Every last one of them.