I know…another blog…blah, blah, blah…  I guess that’s why I haven’t done this sooner.  I don’t know that anyone will feel the need to read my ponderings, but I feel the need to write them, and hope they will be meaningful to others in some way.

I’ll begin this blog by saying that last year was one of the most challenging years of my life.

“I think your mom is dead.”  Those are the words dad used to awaken me on the morning of July 26th.  I had traveled down to Alabama to be with mom for about a month and a half before she died.  She had been in and out of the hospital for several months due to chronic emphysema and a collapsed lung.

I was working as a Resident Chaplain at a hospital in Virginia and ironically, was focusing on end-of-life care.  I wondered if God had brought me through the chaplaincy program especially for this.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to go and spend some quality time with my mom and assist my elderly dad in caring for her.  I knew that my chaplaincy training would be beneficial.

I asked mom’s doctor if we could take her home with hospice and she agreed that it would be appropriate…very appropriate; “home to die,” dad said.

For about a month dad and I provided around-the-clock care for mom, attempting to meet her many needs, watching helplessly as she slowly slipped away.  We changed diapers, washed her sheets, tried to find something she might want to eat, tried to offer conversation, tried to make her warm or cool.  Three times a day I ground up her many pills and pushed them into the port leading to her stomach.  And when she couldn’t breath I would provide her with the morphine that gave her some relief and allowed her to rest until the next go-round.

Hospice personnel would come and do their thing and they did an excellent job.  One of the nurse aids kept bringing us fresh produce from her garden – tomatoes, green beans.  Neighbors brought so much food that for weeks we didn’t have to cook anything.  What a blessing!

At one point I realized that mom’s death was growing close, but of course, was unaware of exactly when it might occur.  They say that it isn’t unusual for a dying person to have a brief rally right before the end, and that’s just what mom did.  Several nights prior, she announced that she wanted “some corn bread and collard-greens.”  And being in Alabama, naturally we had those items on hand.  And although mom had barely eaten anything for several weeks, she sat up and ate it all.  Several family members believed that it meant that mom was taking a turn for the better, and that surely, she would rally.  But I knew better.  I had been there when she couldn’t breathe, or eat, or speak…  And when she spoke to those who had already departed this life.

She asked me, “Is the car packed and ready?  We’ve got to have everything ready.”  I told her, “Yes, mama.  Everything’s ready.  You can go.”  And dad and I both cried.

I thought it would be later in the week when she passed, maybe even on the weekend…but on Monday evening, instead of watching a little television before the bedtime routine, I read her some of her favorite Scripture and I played her favorite gospel songs and I sang to her.

Around midnight dad awakened me and said that mom was having trouble breathing.  I gave her the medicine and we got back to bed about an hour later, once she had settled down.  I believe she died almost immediately.

Dad was sleeping on a couch next to her, and he was so sad that he didn’t somehow hear and awaken when she died.  And my preference would have been to be holding her hand when she passed.  But I truly believe that she chose the right moment and I have to be okay with that choice.

That was July. In August dad made the journey back to Virginia with me and now makes his home with us.  I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to spend quality time with my dad again.

And then, in November, there was a joyous wedding.  My son married the love his life and dad was able to attend with us.

Recently dad and my husband, Scott, traveled back down to Alabama to prepare dad and mom’s house to be sold.  When they returned they brought treasures I didn’t expect – old family photos and the family Bible.  And on my bedroom wall I placed a large piece of artwork that I had bought for mom and had hung in her dining room.  It has several beautiful little birds sitting on long blades of grass, with the words from Civilla D. Martin and Charles Gabriel’s beautiful hymn, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

And I am grateful.

[ Share the Story ]

Kim Chafee

I am a lover of the God who sings! I am a Christ-follower and an ordained minister married to the other Rev. Chafee (Scott), with two grown children and a multitude of pets. And, I love chocolate. Read more about me and the reason for this blog on my ABOUT page.

You may also like...


  1. laura vasil michaels

    You are a special person…God Bless You

    1. Thanks, Laura. Good to hear from you! Hope all is well in TX! Bless Ewe!

  2. Dear Sister In Christ,
    Thank you and God Bless you. My conscience is weighing heavy for what you have prayed for me to do, or rather not do, the last time we were together. The Holy Spirit is really working on me to that end. I believe he meant for me to read your words TODAY! Jesus Christ and his/my Helper has, little by little, step by step, (and I say this only because of my self-centered fear that it is taking so long) delivered me and continually guides me from one larger path to an ever narrowing smaller path. As the Stones said “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. I hear him knocking louder and louder but I don’t fling the door wide open; just a crack at a time. His patience with me can not be counted it is so immense. All I have to do is get out of the way! Today is the day, at least I’m going to try to give it to him but only he knows if i’m ready. Love you

    1. So good to hear from you! I’m still praying for you – I know it’s been a rough road! Glad the Father is still working on you – and me! I can’t wait to see what God has planned for you! It surely must be incredible! Glad you are hearing the knocking on the door…don’t be afraid to open it. He’s brought you this far! And I love your description of the path growing narrower. I think you’re correct! If we’re on the right path, it grows narrower and sometimes more dangerous and difficult. But, it is also more beautiful and more peaceful than its wide counterpart! Keep us posted, okay? Love and hugs to the entire TX tribe and blessings to you too!

  3. Kim, I understand your deep loss. My Mom, who was a member of King’s Grant, enjoyed Wednesday night dinner with me on March, 15, 1995, then went to prayer meeting. Before she left church that night she told me she loved me and would see me on Sunday. I had no idea I would never see her alive again. An early morning call on March 16, brought the news that Mom had a heart attack and was taken to Beach General. After a brief wait at the hospital we were taken to a small room and informed that Mom was dead on arrival at the hospital. I cannot begin to tell you the deep sense of loss that overtook me, but the knowledge that Mom loved the Lord was a great source of strength. I am sure you are still dealing with this great loss and will for some time to come. I pray the loving care you gave your Mom, and now your Dad will bring healing to your broken heart and joy knowing you did your best for those you love so dearly.

    1. Janice, thanks for sharing your heart. I’m so glad that your mom walked with the Lord, and shared such a wonderful faith journey with you at King’s Grant! I think that the loss of a parent forces us to come to a “new normal” in our lives. Even though I have lived many miles from my folks for many years, including five years in Africa, there are moments when I’m a bit surprised at the depth of the sorrow that visits me on occasion – like when I see or hear something and I think, “I need to call mom and tell her about this!” Little things, like seeing her favorite flower or hearing a song she loved. And of course, living with dad and seeing his sorrow is the most difficult part. I am thankful we serve a God who is acquainted with our grief and most of all I am grateful that “we do not grieve as those who have no hope.” Thanks for your kind words…bless ewe!

  4. Kim, Over the last 3yrs my Mom has been so near death that we would call family to hospital or home. Each time she take a turn for the better. Now, she cannot remember what she ate or if she did. Recently I knew the Lord was saying go to lead her home. They were the most special times, even singing to her (you know I can’t sing). Each time there was a since of death so close but in the morning she would awaken bright eye. Several days ago, during what we call low times-crying, calling out to Jesus, telling everyone she loves them, she told my sister that she did not want to leave the ones who love her and she loves. Interesting and explains alot. I know the time has to be close. She has been bed bound for 2yrs and we have had Hospice for 3ys, and weights maybe 75lbs. She would make an intersting study on the will to live. Having the opportunity to walk with her in this journey is a gift. It sounds as if you feel that way. What a blessing! Thanks for your words. love, mickey

    1. Mickey, I think it is an extraordinary part of the journey and we are indeed blessed if allowed to participate! Often times a loved one holds on until we give the okay or the release for them to go. Prayers for you as you and the family walk through this sacred time. Love to you and Don. Grace and Peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.