Author: Beth Pauvlinch

Feeling raw . . .

Just left Hospice for the second time this week. The very same Hospice that housed my mother as she passed. Six years later here I find myself again, witnessing yet another dear friend demising from this horrific diagnosis they call CANCER.

Upon entering today, I was met with his sister (whom I absolutely adore!) and we embraced. I walked over to my friend who seemed confused, restless, irritable, emotional, and ornery, at times! I wasn’t sure he really recognized me at first; however, that confusion was cleared up pretty quickly when his sister and I sat down while she began to tell me what had been happening with him as of late. She told me that he kept reaching his arm up in the air a lot and he’s been mentioning many people who have already passed on. Immediately after relaying those details to me, my friend began to say, ‘OK, let’s go. Let’s go see Carol. Let’s go see Carol.’ His sister shook her head and didn’t recognize whom he was referring to. I then informed her that my mother’s name is Carol.

After thinking about this, ‘they’ call this phase ‘Having one foot in each world’. And this is meant literally. They are seeing and speaking with those that have passed before them while sometimes coming back to reality and talking to those around them in the physical world. It’s much easier for me to recognize this time around than the first. I guess because that is when I learned all the phases of death, not because I wanted to, mind you!

This situation brought me back to a memory when I was dealing with this stage with my mother. This has never been told and requires a bit of pre-story information.  Here goes . . .

When my Grandmother passed away, I explored her jewelry box. I was fortunate to find a silver bracelet which had been roughly etched ‘Kate’. See, my Grandmother’s name was Kathryn, but from as far back as I can remember, he had always called her ‘Katie’. After seeing old photo albums of them in their 20’s, romancing one another. Regardless, that I wasn’t there, I cannot help to believe that he called her just that . . . KATE!

They stayed together their entire lives. So romantic.

Sorry, got off course. Anyway, that’s the reason I kept the bracelet. Because the bracelet had so much meaning to me, I would do this weird thing that every time I put it on or took it off, I kissed that darn bracelet three times. Once for my Grandfather, once for my Grandmother and once for my Gramma Dixon (my Grandmother’s mother) just because I was always so close to her and she probably paid for this bracelet he gave her! I never confessed this weird act of mine to anyone, including my angel mother.

Fast forward, Ma was real sick and ‘Had one foot in each world’. I went into her room wearing the bracelet. She was arguing, but with no one that was really in the room. She continued crying & repeating, ‘I don’t want to. I don’t want to do that!’ I asked her what she didn’t want to do, but she would not respond to me. However, she grabbed hold of my wrist that wore the bracelet and she wept (as did I), she proceeded to kiss that bracelet not three times, but four because she knew that I would add her to the beginning of that strange process of mine that NO ONE ever knew about.

Then the most beautiful thing happened. His feet were cold and she was covering them up with socks and he chuckled and said, ‘You are so beautiful’! It was as clear as day! Unlike most other things he was trying to say.