By Pauline Amaismeier
I am a registered nurse and a licensed professional counselor. In my various jobs I have both witnessed people dying and also assisted loved ones in the grieving process. My family and I had an experience that we will never forget. Let me share it with you.
My 94 year old mother – in –law, died earlier last month. She had lived at the Little Sisters of the Poor for about the past 10 years; initially in the independent living section and more recently in the nursing home section. Her family would spend a lot of time visiting her, especially her daughter and two sons, and they got to know the Little Sisters staff very well.
The Monday before she died my husband was notified that his mother was decompensating physically and was going to die fairly soon. Grandmom (the name I called her) already had a lot of difficulty recognizing others (though she did well with her own children) and lately had only been able to say a few words during the hours that her family would visit. We all knew that she was ready.
We received the call in the morning on Wednesday and navigated rush hour traffic in order to get there. When we arrived her room was full of family, nuns and staff, and there was a staff member playing the guitar. I was told that two different priests had even visited earlier that morning. You could feel the love and support that was surrounding her. What a beautiful way to end one journey and begin another, surrounded by love and music. The entire family took so much solace in how peaceful, loving and supportive the atmosphere was in her room that day.
The Little Sisters of the Poor is a strong community of nuns, priests, staff and the residents who live there. They all support their charges, and I was a witness to it on the day Grandmom died. She started her journey to the Lord surrounded by family, love and music. I can honestly say that I have never seen anything so beautiful.