Five More Minutes With His Mother

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson on April 15, 2013

Hipstamatic Angel

A March 9 editorial in The Seattle Times really struck a chord with me, and will for the Five More Minutes With community. Seattle writer Doug Kim shared his experiences about his last days with his mother, Eunhee C. Kim, who passed away from cancer in February at age 82.

His writing is exquisite, the sort of heart-felt, gut-wrenchingly intense writing that often comes during these times of deep and unconsolable anguish.

He says, “It feels as if it’s been an excruciatingly long journey to this small room, where my father and I are keeping vigil by her bedside. Time seems to operate differently here; even the space between breaths can seem like an eternity.”

He shares the sentiment many (most?) of us feel who have lost a loved one. “I’m ashamed I didn’t know more about what they [those who have lost loved ones] endured; both the ones who passed, and the ones who cared for them.”

The last line of the piece is absolutely haunting. “I believe that as surely as I am sitting next to her, she is mostly somewhere else right now. She is free. And the angels are there with her, guiding her home.”

Thanks, Doug (a self-described story teller, and former Seattle Times Arts & Entertainment Editor, who “somehow missed these stories”), for opening up and sharing this most intimate portrait. We need more people like you to make talking about death more common and less taboo.

Editor’s Note: After I penned the above post, I got in touch with Doug to be sure he was okay with me printing it. He was, and even volunteered the following:

I have a post-it note of the five things the hospice nurse told me to say to a dying person:

I love you.

Thank you. 

Forgive me.

I forgive you.

Goodbye.

She said it was from a book, I don’t know which one but I thought that was a pretty powerful list.

 

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