The Lingering—CoronaLife Day 446

In any protracted illness that leads to death, there is a period I call The Lingering. It is that time between the moment all hope is lost and the actual time of death. The person is often non-responsive—alive, but with no life.

It is a peculiar time, The Lingering. A state of limbo that is excruciating. There is no turning back to a better time, yet there can be no moving on to true mourning, because the person is still with us.

A great struggle arises in you during The Lingering, as if two people have grabbed your arms and are pulling in opposite directions. Because you do not want your loved one to leave you—how desperately you want them to stay!—yet you want release from the pain of watching them waste away, of waiting for the end to their suffering. So you exist in this time between hope and grief.

The Lingering is timeless: minutes, hours, days all running together into one long moment of suspended life. There is only the room your loved one is in, a room full of expectant quiet, of emotion frozen in time, of people bound together in a web of waiting.

And then the change comes.

In one indefinable instant, The Lingering ends. The soul departs silently, but every person there knows immediately, without a word spoken. The spell breaks, time rushes in like a tidal wave, and your grief finds space, finds outlet. Your guilty relief at reaching the end sharpens the loss and heightens the love.

The Lingering is over. The Healing can begin.

Comments

  1. The healing can definitely begin. This is the time to be gentle with oneself. Thank you for sharing this post. Barbara of the balloons

  2. Thank you for identifying the beginning event and giving time this a name.

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