Transcript of Dementia & Alzheimers Forum Presentation

It took Alan 9 ½ days to be Not Here By Choice. Once he started, he never looked back. He basically went to bed and stopped eating and drinking. He remained quiet and asked for very little. He didn’t complain nor said he was hungry.

On the fourth and fifth days, he asked for water. Both times, I reminded him why he wasn’t eating and drinking and told him that drinking water would prolong the process. Then I said to Alan, “would you like me to give you a glass of water or would it be enough to satisfy your thirst with frequent moist swabs and spraying mists of water into your mouth? Both times he said the moist swabs and spraying of water was enough. I did this until he was relieved and comfortable.

As long as he could, he continued to thank the people around him for the good care he was receiving. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

As long as Alan was conscious, his daughter called daily from California, and we put the phone by his ear and she would talk to him. By the fifth day, I began to spend a lot of time with Alan in his little single hospital bed. On the sixth day, while I was in bed with him, he began to speak in metaphorical language. Very softly and slowly, “I’ve got to get the milk.” “The people are at the party.” “What time is it?” He kept looking at his wrist as if there was a watch there. And then he says, “I’m at the beach” And I ask, “Is it Cape Cod from when you were a little boy, but he doesn’t answer.” Then he very slowly raises his left arm and opens his hand, and he looks carefully at the three photos of him on the wall.

When Alan could no longer open his eyes or speak, I wanted to make sure he was physically comfortable and free of suffering. I got close to him at his bedside and said, “Alan, I am here with you. If you are comfortable, blink your eyes,” and with his eyelids still closed, he was able to move them. And while he was in that state, he was still able to move his lips and mouth his last words, “I love you.”

By the ninth day, Alan was in a deep coma with loud, rapid breathing. Our doctor examined Alan and said that he was very close to death; that only his brain stem was still alive and he would probably live another 1 – 3 days. His heart was still strong. He had loud, rapid breathing. But I felt Alan was really no longer with us. I wanted to help him release from his body. I wasn’t sure what to do. After the doctor left, I stood alone in the room with Alan at his bedside. The doors were closed. I waited until I knew what to do.

Then with a great deal of presence, I actively began to actively do Therapeutic Touch. I used my intuition and began to move my hands vigorously from Alan’s head, down his body and out of his body toward the window that was close by.

And while I was doing TT, I began to talk to Alan. I talked about all the different ways we had partnered in our marriage and how we had supported each other through everything. I told him that this was our last partnership. I was not crying at this point. It sounded more like a pep talk, and I was encouraging him to do what I knew and he knew he wanted to do.

I did this for maybe ten minutes at the most. Then I stopped, thinking I was done. And I just stood still and waited. He was still breathing. And then, I began spontaneously to do TT some more, and I spontaneously began to sing a Sanskrit mantra that I say daily when I meditate. Sing it: Om Svarupa svasvabhava namo namah. It means, “I bow again and again to the inherent essence of beingness in you, myself and all existence.”

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