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End of Life
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My mother left me some notebooks filled with thoughts and reminiscences. She kept a journal all her life. And when she died, I found that she had boxed them all up for me to take with me and read.

Little by little, I've been reading them and thinking about how differently we saw the same event--she as an adult and I as a child.

When I was seven, I had measles and a temperature of 106.9 degrees. I remember my mother calling the doctor--my father just stood there in my sickroom in shock--asking him what to do. I was lying in bed. As my temperature rose, I had been achy all over and uncomfortable and nauseated.

Then, oddly enough, I suddenly felt at peace and relaxed and quite good. Comfortable, not hot or scratchy. It was such a relief after the last few miserable hours. My mother said though my head was burning up, my feet were cold and my legs were getting cool, too. But I knew none of that. I was just peaceful and happy.

The doctor told my mother to give me a cold water enema and to flush my body with cold water. She did that, and the "crash" back into being sick was terrible. I hurt all over, my head pounded, my stomach heaved--I was alive.

I have never forgotten it and I've never been afraid of death since then. Afraid of pain and injury, of course. But my near death experience was peaceful and happy and that's what I expect to see/feel when the time comes. Eventually.

My mom in her journal recorded her terror that I was dying, and the guilt she felt for causing me such discomfort. But she knew that she was losing me when I started to turn cold and she could be tough when she had to be. She was a remarkable person.

The next page in her journal recorded the inedible turkey lasagne she made from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Lasagne so bad even the dog wouldn't eat it. Gracious living or good gracious living?

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