I got a text message early this morning from my son saying that his fiance’s mother, Leslie, was beginning to transition toward her death.  I hadn’t heard dying referred to in that way before but it made a lot of sense as I thought about it.  There are specific changes that occur as our bodies begin to stop functioning and prepare us to die.  For those who are followers of Christ Jesus, it prepares them for accepting their heavenly bodies and begins the process of ashes to ashes; dust to dust.  Tonight at 10 p.m. she finished her transition and she has now gone home to her heavenly family.
Anticipating his call (admittedly, not quite this soon) that she had died, I’ve thought a lot about how we transition our lives.  For Leslie, she no longer suffers.  She is being welcomed by family and friends who have gone before her and by a heavenly Father who’s love surrounds her in warmth.  She has no more pain, no more worries, no more fear.  Her transition to the purest form of bless possible is now complete.
For her family, they transition to sadness mixed with some relief.  They are relieved her suffering was so brief (she was diagnosed with lung and bone cancer just two months ago) but sad because they cannot have her with them physically anymore.  There will be many adjustments for them to make since my son and his fiance lived with her and her husband.  They will each assume new roles and new responsibilities.  It will be tough on all of them and has been since she got sick but they have also grown and matured so much in the last few weeks.  I am so proud of both my son and his fiance in how they have worked together and handled this difficult time.
I also have thought about the transition that occurred in our lives when Lynn was diagnosed with MS; then again when he fell and was left helpless on the floor for several hours till I could come rescue him; and then again when he came home from the hospital so weak and de-conditioned that he could not sit up on his own or do any self-care. We transitioned from being a couple fully involved in our church to a couple who only attend church electronically now.  We used to help others and now we need others to help us.  He used to build and create with his hands and now he must do so with his mind.
Transition implies a gradual change from what was to what is.  After the transition, you’re left with a new reality.  It takes a lot of adjustment and sometimes it’s a struggle. Sometimes it’s a welcome change; other times we go kicking and screaming but in time, if we’re wise, we accept it and move on.  We take a deep breath and move forward taking it one step at a time without looking too far ahead.
Leslie has now transitioned into her new life and her family are transitioning into theirs without her.  I pray for comfort and peace for them all and am thankful for their faith and the knowledge that they are not alone.

3 thoughts on “Transition”

  1. ‘transition’ oh yeah! a topic that has been on my mind more than I want to think since my lung cancer diagnosis earlier this year. We spouse caregiver’s are suppose to be immortal. The word ‘transition’ seems to usually imply we are the one’s left standing, but what if …
    Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

  2. I know firsthand about transitioning from life to death. My husband Bill had been in a nursing home for a month. For the past six years, I’d been caring for him at home because he was partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes. His appetite was decreasing, and he was losing strength.
    On Friday, October 27th, his nurse finally called me to say that he had stopped eating altogether, and it was time to think about end of life care. The next few days were a nightmare. His transition took so long, I think, because I let him see how upset I was about him leaving me, although I kept telling him it was okay to go, that I would be all right. Although staff assured me he was in no pain, it was hard because he was pretty much out of it and couldn’t talk to me.
    By Monday, I was starting to accept the fact that he was leaving. When I came to visit him, I brought my Netbook with me, and after playing my guitar and singing to him and then holding his hand and singing to him some more, I started working on his obituary while I sat by his bed. I think he then realized that I had everything well in hand and it was okay for him to go. He slipped away peacefully sometime in the early hours of Tuesday, October 30th.

Comments are closed.