Last weekend our annual cousins' gathering occurred. The weather was cloudy, rainy, cool - short on sunshine that we have enjoyed in other years. Fall colors are just starting to develop and were changing daily. Here's a photo showing the undergrowth that has changed previous to the leaves above. I love the twisted lines in that tree trunk.
It was good to be together with cousins. Our aunt is in hospice care, dying of ALS. Her children kept popping out of our little chats to take phone calls from the hospice staff or from other family members who were at their mother's bedside. It kept an awareness of her fragile condition uppermost in our minds and leant a pall of concern over the weekend. It was loving concern, however, and I think it was good for us to be together.
Saturday night the cousins got a call saying that the hospice staff thought their mother would not survive the night. They packed and left within minutes to drive the four hours back to the care center. They made it to her bedside in time; thankfully she survived, and the rest of us were able to get back home and also see her to say our goodbyes.
It was a joyful yet bittersweet weekend - being together, enjoying food and conversation, attending church together and singing beautiful hymns. It was all touching.
We were able to visit and express our love to our aunt. She is in tough shape. She can hear and is alert-minded, but her body is going downhill pretty fast. She is on morphine to help keep her comfortable. At this point it would be a blessing if she could slip off to Heaven. I fear, however, that she is going to linger for a while.
It's an emotional time; I feel like I have a black cloud hovering over me. My daily routines are clouded by my sad thoughts of my dear aunt. ALS is a cruel disease. My hope is that she will soon be free of its ravages.