Sweetie Pie

I’ve been thinking back about an older couple I knew when I was in college.  Loved them! Great, rock solid, influential people!

He developed cancer.  After a valiant fight, Hospice was called.  Hospice was there round the clock during his last days at home.

They were always a very kind, loving couple, quite expressive in their love and admiration for each other.  They used pet names, like Sweetie Pie and Sugar Plum, Honey Bear and Honey Bunny, along with other pet names as terms of endearment.

They would greet each other, usually in a higher pitch voice with great emphasis on their tones, sounding like they were talking to a bouncing baby or a favorite animal.

Their transparent physical, emotional and verbal affection for each other was fun to watch.  I learned a lot from them.

But that was in life.  Death was a little different.

On the last day of his life, she went to his bedside and lovingly reached to hold his hand while speaking affectionately to him in a pet name.  Unable to speak at this point, he pulled his hand back from hers and motioned her to stop.

She was confused, crushed in a way, and left the room in tears a few minutes later so he wouldn’t see her cry.

The Hospice nurse was right behind her.  The nurse put her arm around her shoulder, then quietly described what she’d seen many, many times before.

She explained, “He knows he’s dying.  Honey, he’s heartbroken to leave you, but he has to let you go or his grief to leave you will overwhelm him in his own death. He’s gaining resolve.”

Sweetie Pie

After a few deep breaths and a quick prayer, she was back at his side.

She told him how special he was, and how he’d been, and always would be, the love of her life.  She spoke blessing over him and spoke of how he’d made a difference in the world.  She assured him she would be OK because he had provided well for her, even now in his death.

Lastly, she told him it was OK.  It would all be alright.  She said goodbye, but added, “But, just for now, I’ll see you again in heaven”.

The resolve came through to him.

A few hours later his breathing was hollow and raspy.  His eyes were partly open, but seeing nothing.

Still at his side, she once again lovingly reached to take his hand while speaking affectionately to him until his breathing ceased.

At that moment, he gently eased from life to death, crossed the river of life to a new body, in a new home for a new beginning.RabBits 6

Through her tears, she whispered to ears that no longer heard, “I’ll see you soon, Sweetie Pie!”

Yesterday is a memory.

Today is tomorrow’s memory.

Tomorrow may not come.

Make today count!


20 thoughts on “Sweetie Pie”

  1. One does not comprehend the magnitude of leaving loved ones behind until one is really faced with that reality. Years ago when I was diagnosed with aggressive cancer and told I had a 18% change of being alive in 5 years, I remember crying. Not for myself but for those that I would leave behind. That was almost 14 years ago and I’m still cancer free. The reality of death ushers in the reality of faith and our hope. Very moving Jeff, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lovely post. I can understand it when he took his hand back. I have seen that happen with another elderly person. She was retreating before she actually died. I like the way you handled how they did not part on poor terms but as close friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. I used to work for hospice and had the privilege of being witness to these sacred moments. It truly reminds us that the veil between here and heaven is so thin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw you were a therapist, Jess. I used to practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. I suspect we have had some similar experiences and perspectives, certainly in the faith. Peace to you, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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