The time is drawing very short for my dear cousin Wendy. She is less coherent now and barely opens her eyes. She cannot speak.
Lisa and I have been having interesting thoughts and conversations over the last couple days as we've been experiencing this slow and painful death from afar. We've thought about things such as why she can't speak and why people sleep so much as they approach actual death from cancer. My thoughts are simple. I don't know that they are true. I don't know that they aren't. It's just an impression I have had today. We will only know once we, ourselves, die.
My thoughts are that as we approach death, in a manner such as this, where it is slow and painful, that our spirits are partially between heaven and earth, and although we have not yet passed on, we are too close to go back. The gloriousness of heaven and the things that must happen as we progress to this new state are too sacred to share with those on earth and that is why people in this state cannot fully speak. I think that there has got to be a different language that is spoken in heaven, one that defies all earthly words and that, too, is why those passing through the veil to heaven cannot speak or maybe why it sounds like mumbling to us. Maybe that's why when Wendy tried to describe seeing her father and grandfather who appeared to her in the middle of the night, she could only say that there were no earthly words to describe how they appeared. I, too, have had someone appear to me from the other side before and I agree - there are no earthly words to describe the glory of their presence.
The other thing I can't even imagine is preparing for my own death in the way she has had to. She has planned her funeral. She has packed her "bag" of temple clothes to be buried in. She has given away things she wants to give away to certain people. She has had time to reflect on the fact that all of a sudden, one day, she will close her eyes and not wake up again - here on earth. Instead, she will be alive - in heaven - with her grandparents, my mom, Auntie Joann, and all the rest of her ancestors. She will have both breasts - whole again. She will be glorious in appearance. She will no longer be in pain.
This is a draining process - not only on those who are dying, but those around the person who is dying, and those who love the person and cannot be there. I cannot imagine being there with her and the strength it must take to watch her go through this process. I am tired and worn out from it from afar and I haven't had to deal with even 1/1000th of what she and her family have gone through. It will soon be over for her though and she will finally be at peace.