Our longtime friend, Helen, died last week. I've been thinking about the hours I was able to spent with her in the hospital.
Helen was hungry, but unable to receive food. She took my hand and, even through her oxygen mask, made eating motions, alternating trying to chew and swallow my hand with attempting to chew the bedsheet. She told me that there were 5 musicians in the room, singing and playing instruments. Later she said there were 25 more musicians outside her window, all there for her party. After a while she stopped "eating" and moved my hand as if to suggest I were conducting the gathered musicians.
For Helen's friends, those last days were difficult and very sad. But I think that Helen was content: she thought she was eating, hospice allowed her cats into the room, and there were a whole lot of musicians at her party.
May Helen's soul, and the souls of all those whom we have loved and lost, rest in God's peace surrounded by a choir of angels.