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Arline Helen Densmore Memorial Day 2020

Posted by on May 25, 2020 in All Blog Posts, LOVE LETTER, Medicine, Photo, Vintage Style, Vintage Video, WW2 Letters | 6 comments

Portrait of Arline Densmore

Arline Helen Densmore

June 25, 1924 – May 16, 2020

Dear Friends, This is a historic time. Years ago I made the decision to take in my mother, and provide her care myself. I nursed her through her delicate years right up to the process of active dying in the few days before she passed. A natural death was something I had wanted to witness. I wanted to see what a natural death looks like. I wanted to have a home death, a home funeral with a doula at my side. Natural, not medical. Natural, like a home birth. God blessed us both when it was time. During the last days I went in and out of her room to give her morphine around the clock for comfort as her systems gently went through the final shut down. I had put on some orchestral music. But it was not what I wanted. I had quickly looked for hymns, but the classical was peaceful enough. Then with family coming and so many things I had to manage, the same music was left on a couple days. As usual, I was left to manage everything alone, after hospice instructions and other basic support. My dear death doula was there for the important parts. She knows about flowers, brought several arrangements, helped facilitate Arline’s last call to my brother and his family to say their tearful goodbyes. And she helped me bridge to the sacred atmosphere with candles and oils. She also came to wash the body after. But she also needed a day off, the day Arline died. So everything was even, quiet, efficient, perfect, just the two of us as usual, softly passing shared hours. I had to change her position every few hours and be up through the night. Then on the last afternoon, with sunlight beaming through closed curtains, she opened one eye just a crack and seemed to be looking at me. She might have murmured. I gently changed her position from side lying to make her comfortable on her back. I stretched her legs, one by one, out straight over the sheepskins to rest them. She’d been in excellent health just a few days before walking on the road. I took pride that there was no scratch or scar left from the ordeals of slips, falls. With her looking at me I got it together to bring in her CD player. I grabbed a CD, Frank Sinatra hits. It had played through once. Then I came back in again to comfort her. This time I was singing with the song, whatever it was at that moment, dancing around her bed. With every kiss and words of reassurance I felt the keen awareness that just next-door at a nursing home the elderly are basically in lock-down in their rooms, room numbers are posted on windows to find them from the outside, their family members required to stay outside, doing their best to communicate through the closed windows which must always be closed. Weeks and weeks and weeks and that still goes to this day. So my kisses to my mother’s neck, my touch and whispers in her ear, our closeness in the moment was extra appreciated. Her breathing was regular. I massaged the back of her neck. Whispers of reassurance. Then in a moment her breath ceased. The music was swirling and I was telling her Morris was there, and Ruthy, the family names. Like we were all dancing at a wedding, and my father cut in. She passed away in my arms. It took a couple minutes to fully register. Yes, the pulse was gone. This was it. After some tears during some song or other suddenly “That’s Life” came on. It struck me, clear like a bell. Clear like a message from angels. She stole my heart! You just had to be there. The message. The synchronicity. It was everything I had wanted to know. It was just what she wanted to say to me, perhaps to all. God bless you Mom. We’ll always be together, a duo, but you, Arline, are the Star Queen. Such a class act. Love, Martha

 

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