Dying Can Be Complicated

My mother has been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, she is 89.  In fact, she just turned 89 a few weeks ago.  It has taken us all by surprise.  This is a woman who has been widowed for almost 40 years and has lived by herself longer than she was married.  Hospice is at her home most everyday now and the Oncologist has not give her very long.  Of course, we know the One who gives life has already numbered her days and they, like ours, are in His hands.

She is at peace, and after speaking to the doctor has felt like it is best not to have surgery to remove the already large tumor.  Chemo is not in the picture. She is at a place where she knows what is next and has accepted it with grace and beauty. In fact, one of the great things about my mom is she still has her wit and sense of humor.  And this in spite of the fact that her life hasn’t been easy.  She has shared bits and pieces of her life with me from time to time and from those I’ve discerned it to be, let’s just say, less than comfortable.

waking dead graves

She and my dad were great together!  They shared life, work, struggles, triumphs and everything you can imagine.  I can always remember them as being happy and content, whether they had a little, or a lot.  They never really had a lot by the world’s standards but were two of the most loving and happy people I know.  My mother continued to pour into me in every way possible and I thank God for her life.

So, we’ve been dealing with a lot of what you would expect when a parent comes to the end of their life.  She still lives in the same house I was raised in, so there’s that to deal with.  We’ve talked about her dying and her wishes.  She has planned extremely well.  All of her documents and articles are in order and well managed.  If there is such as a thing during this time as easy, it would only be associated with how prepared she has made herself for this time of life.  She is an amazing woman.

We were at the attorney’s office the other day dealing with some legal issues.  After signing some legal documents, she turns to the attorney and says, “I never realized dying could be so complicated!”  She had everyone in the conference room laughing!  It was a wonderful moment and a small glimpse into where she is with life, or perhaps death, right now.  Her quip was loaded with truth.

The actual moment of our death is the total antithesis of complicated.  It’s everything in between, and what is left to deal with on earth that is complicated.  The legalities, the insurance, the burial, the obituary, the selling of an estate; it goes on and on.  It can take weeks, months or years.  Then there is the emotional aftermath of our lives.  We are the ones who have to pick the pieces of our souls and carry on.

Complicated?  Absolutely.  Yet there is also a beauty and grace in the death of someone who has lived their life to the full.

It’s the ending to a beautiful symphony, a sunset that takes your breath away, a lone eagle flying off into the distance.  We should all die that way.

Uncomplicated and full of grace.

3 thoughts on “Dying Can Be Complicated

  1. Thank you David for your article. I know your mother is a precious lady, even though I’ve never met her. What a joy she must be. My mother died about this time last year. She was 94 & a sharp-witted, spunky lady until the end. What a blessing!
    I understand also about dying being complicated. We have just now settled everything from her estate, and she was not a rich person by any means.
    Praying for you & your mother today and in the days ahead.


  2. I have known R. Gaines for many years and know of her unrelenting faith and joy in life. Her life is evident in her son and his beautiful wife and daughters. Glory to God in the highest for this world is a better place because of the life of R. Gaines. I am delighted to have known her and shared some family moments because I am her daughter-in-law’s daddy. It is a joy to be part of the family. Bless be the tie that binds our hearts in Jesus Christ.


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