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a visiting fawn

Today I had the privilege of spending time with a woman who is dying. I brought a blanket made of faux fur and spread it over her skin and bones. Seeing the corner of it, and rather delusional right now, she whispered, excited as a small child, “Oh, do you see the fawn?!” Where? “Right there beside me, all curled up. Oh touch it!” And she gently caressed the bundle of blanket beside her and cooed to it. “Oh, oh, so precious you are…”  and clucked her tongue as though to a baby. “He’s winking at me! Can you believe that?”

Dinner was served and she kept inviting me to eat my share as though I were a fellow patient there in the hospice. She would have none of the stroganoff and she would have all of the cake. I thought “why not?” She kept asking me if I was warm enough. She grabbed my hands in hers and started rubbing my fingers. “That feels better now, doesn’t it?” She said. She comforted me in her slow death, massaging my hands for a good half an hour as I massaged hers with my other hand.

Know that this is a woman who was not given to displays of affection towards me. Our relationship was small and cordial. We cared for each other respectfully. But today, I fed her by spoon and rubbed her dry feet with nice expensive cream and she tolerated my blathering on, patient and happy.

She looked up, startled and said, “Oh, she’s here again.” I asked who. “That one. Well. That’s a good sign. When you’re dying. She’s smiling at me.” I asked if she is afraid. I said, “you seem peaceful”. She laughed. I asked her if she had seen glimpses of the other side. She said, “That’s a good price for that. And I like that colour. You should try it on. Check the size.”

After a few hours of amusing and moving gentle time spent with her string of non sequiturs, I had to go, tag teaming with her son who would soon arrive. I wondered if indeed I would see her tomorrow? What an amazing thing to have shared time with who she is on the inside.
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2 comments

  1. Lynda Hamer

    Yes, amazing. So beautiful; the gift we get from being there for another as they conclude, as they seem to need, and indeed as they receive. A fawn is the perfect image for this in its beauty and vulnerability.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      ahhh dear Lynda, you know this all too well…xo

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