I hold my own breath, counting the time in between his breaths; 17, 18, 19 and then a soft breath, followed by a crescendo and then decrescendo of breaths before another gap. Nine breaths to be exact. The first and last are almost imperceptible, but they count. I figure it was such a struggle for his body to get them out, they count. The time in between his breaths, is getting shorter now. I am surprised by this. For two weeks, the time in between was getting longer. Forty-five seconds at the longest, but now as he nears his transition, it is shorter. I whisper in his ears. I dance by his bed. I tell him it is almost time to be free from all of the limits of this physical world.
I’ve been doing ROMWOD with Jesse at night right before I go to sleep in the recliner in Dad’s room. It is a stretching program that Jesse believes is good for me right now, so I do it with him. Many of the decisions of how to care for myself are entrusted to Jesse at this point. Two weeks of only 45 minutes of sleep at a time alters your perception of the world and makes it virtually impossible to think about how best to care for yourself if you spend all of your time away from work thinking about how to care for someone else. Anyway, I believe it stands for Range of Motion Work Out Daily. Jesse is good to me. I kneel on the soft mat by Dad’s bed, feeling the stretch in my legs as I reach up to hold his hand. If I was doing ROMWOD, they would call this pose something like flamingo. Half flamingo; 17, 18, 19. The soft orange light from the himalayan salt lamp illuminates Dad’s the room enough for me to see Dad’s tongue rising and falling inside of his slackened mouth.
Dad’s breathing is mechanical now; 16, 17, 18 and breath. I cannot sense him in his breathing at this point. I am not even sure what that really means, but mechanical is the only way to describe it. I moisten his tongue with the pink sponge on a stick. His mouth closes over it, which scares me, as he hasn’t taken in food or water for the whole day, but I can’t pull back until he lets go. It was a response to a stimuli. It was not Dad in control of closing his mouth at this point. The mechanical aspect seems in harsh contrast to the music that is playing. Jesse burned this CD for him 3 months ago and as Dad chose to listen to it continuously, it is becoming the soundtrack of his journey beyond. The hospice nurse’s assistant told me that every time she comes into Dad’s room she feels like she is at the spa, with the lighting and soft reiki music playing; 16, 17, 18 and breath.
I was told by a beloved friend that this is the time in between in the Swedish culture. People cut a string in November and re tie it again on January 13th to reconnect the flow; the time between the two events is referred to as the time in between. The Veil is supposed to be thinner and easier for souls to travel beyond this world during this time. I look at Dad and count again, 16, 17, 18 breath. His time in between is getting shorter. Tomorrow is January 12. It is 10:30 at night. I wonder if his breathing will have no time in between at some point. What happens then? Does it become the present time? Is he controlling Time with his breathing or is his body responding to the time In Between and showing me the actual pattern of Time about to return to the present time? I probably should get more sleep before I think these thoughts. Or perhaps this altered state helps me understand. I am not sure, 15, 16, 17 breath.
Grandma B. told me tonight was the night. When I went home in between my afternoon and night visit with Dad today, I saw that the electric candle was on by Grandma B’s picture on my altar. “Oh,” I remember saying before I took a breath and put on my best nurse attitude, like Grandma would have. I lit the wax candle on the altar as well and made a few extra preparations than I do most other nights. Thanks Grandma B. I am so glad you are here to help me and on the other side to help Dad; 14, 15, 16.
Have I said everything that I needed to say? Smoothed the passage for him as best I could? Prepared the family as best I can? Yes, I hear myself answer out loud, which startles me again. I can honestly say, I have done all I can do. I have been with Dad through his entire decline. Is it a decline or just a change? Dad said at one point that he was slowed down and his energy doesn’t match here any more. How intuitive of him. He liked to always say he wasn’t intuitive and into “that stuff,” but I think in order to solve problems, the big picture engineers have to be creative and in tune with their intuitive self. How many of the inventors have talked about finding the solution in their dreams and how many kept beds near their workplace just for the purpose of naps to help? I don’t know, but I know of at least two, so there must be more; 13, 14, 15.
His energy doesn’t match this world. Brilliant. When we near death, maybe our energy vibrates slower to the point that our frequency does not match the energy on this plane very well. We are out of harmonics and ready to enter another plane where our vibration matches better. It seems it is a slower vibration from what I can understand from Dad’s comment. So, perhaps it is a slowing and not a decline. Can he hear me now that his vibration is so different from mine? I was told hearing is one of the last senses to go, so perhaps. “Quick and easy passage for my dad.” I am not sure who I am saying that to, as everyone has different names, but I am OK with just saying it out loud to the UniVerse, to the One Song. Perhaps our vibrations are just a part of that One Song and when we are vibrating differently and “out of tune,” we are kicked out by the maestra; 12, 13, 14. The time is 11:00pm.
I think I lost time. There is no more time in between breaths. It is simply one breath after another. My heart quickens along with Dad’s breathing. “Quick and easy passage for my dad. Oh Dad. I love you so much. Do you know you are loved? I want you to know how loved you are! You will soon be free from pain and the limits of this body.” One, two, pause. One, two, pause. It is 11:20. The Veil is going to close tomorrow. “Grandma, please help him. Be there for him to protect him and make his passage smooth.” One, two, pause. One, two pause. One.
I look at the clock. It is 11:32. I smile as I cry. Dad always liked to push things. Tomorrow is January 12, the day the Veil closes. It is time to go tell the bees that Dad has passed.
A few days later as I sit with the funeral director and see the certificate of death for the first time, I laugh. Dad and I have an inner joke now. Not only did he push it to 11:32pm on the day before the Veil closes, but his time of death, when he is literally pronounced dead by the certified nurse, is 12:00am, January 12th. This is the time in between night and day on the day that the in between time ends with a night of a full moon.