The first thing the Hospice nurse did was put my Mom on oxygen 24/7. It is palliative care, because we know she is not going to get better. But what a difference it has made–her mind is clear and she is very alert, whereas before, she could not stay awake.

It is important for the family who gathers to remember that we are not gathering for an event (my Mother’s death), but we are gathering to be with her for perhaps the last time. No visit is wasted, and Mom always revives when she knows somebody is coming. She is energized by the visits for awhile and then she goes to sleep.

In our large family, the children have learned from an early age to deal with infirmity and death. We do not shield them from this part of life and believe it is important to take them with us to visit the sick and dying. When my Dad died seven years ago he was surrounded by many members of his family, including the youngest children. The recent visit of 19-month-old Benedict was a joy to my Mom and she thrived on the activity which a toddler generates. The cycle of life continues, spanning four generations and 90 years from the oldest to the youngest.

God is good, and we are blessed. My Mom is showing us the dignity of her humanity, years and experience and we are soaking up every lesson.