Sitting with N. Have been here since 7 p.m., F. coming at 9 p.m. This act of "being with" is amazing to me and I pray I will never grow accustomed to it. Comfortable with is one thing--accustomed to is another.
The nurses just came in to rotate the side on which she's been positioned. They, too, are so tender-- some stopping by periodically just to pause a moment, just to touch her face or forehead in a sort of permissive blessing-- or, better, a blessing of permission, of freedom, to go where God is beckoning.
It is as though God is calling upon the community to walk her to the riverside. Not that God needs the help, certainly, but it is almost like an invitation to help because God knows it is important--for the community and for the one dying. What a privilege to be a part of that...part of a whole group hearing and accepting the invitation to accompany someone to the waterside.
And as to the why this feels so important, so right... well, I am left reflecting on the fullness of what it means to love God and love one another. It is part of that perfect freedom that binds us. The freedom to receive, the freedom to give, the desire that no one be alone and the recognition that sometimes all we can do is be and that being at its best is being with even when alone and that is enough. Beyond enough, actually. It is at the heart of being humans created in God's image and likeness. It is right and important in ways I can not quantify with syllables.
We do not actually accompany into the arms of God, I think, but to the point of that final giving...at some moment known to God and the one whom God calls, everyone who is journeying with the one who is dying must stop at the mystical intersection of here and beyond here. We must stop at "Where I am going you can not come," and there set free the one who is headed home.