My mother passed away on February 24, 2013. It was expected yet unexpected; sudden yet not so sudden. She was 97 and å_ years old. A week before, she was thriving and everything was fine with her; but then, starting a few days before a scheduled assessment conference with the staff caring for her at the assisted living facility, mom stopped eating and drinking and essentially fell asleep for good. During the assessment conference, the staff used an intriguing term to explain her condition: mom was “actively dying”. (I guess this means that the rest of us are “inactively” or “passively dying”!). She had stopped eating, taking fluids, was essentially unconscious, and it was simply a question of time. Her body had had enough and was winding down to the finale. She passed away four days later, quietly, peacefully, painlessly, without suffering. One moment she was breathing, the next she was not.

If one thinks about it, life, itself, is a negotiation with God or whatever higher spiritual being is out there. Is it a distributive bargain in which one party wins and one party loses in that we, the human, will most certainly lose life or is it an integrative bargain in which, although we will ultimately lose the negotiation, we do so, winning a few concessions along the way? Mom is a perfect example- she lived a long life- 97 and1/2 years and according to her death certificate, her cause of death was “failure to thrive”. She went by her own terms and when she was ready, and not a moment before. She did not pass away due to violence, illness or some third party intervention. No broken hip, no pneumonia, no drunk driver, no elder abuse, no gunshot wound, no being in the wrong place at the wrong time,… but naturally, and peacefully. She was able to negotiate the end and when her body said it had had enough wear and tear, it took the final act into its own hands and controlled the outcome. We should all be so lucky and so blessed.

So… my mom turned out to be a pretty good negotiator… winning the best concession of all… a long rich life full of blessings with a painless ending.

May God be with you, Mom and may he grant you peace.

….Just something to think about!

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