Home > Family, Living with Cancer, Observations > Those Last Days by Kirstie Pue

Those Last Days by Kirstie Pue


Mom and I a month after her diagnosis.

Mom and I one month after her diagnosis.

I had the incredible honor of caring for Mom in the last week of her life. As a nurse, it was the only thing I had to offer to her as a gift, to fulfill her wish to die at home, and it was the greatest privilege of my life. Yet, even now, it seems so small in comparison to all of the gifts she gave me in the five years I’ve been a part of her family.

That last week was hard for everyone. Realizing how quickly everything had changed was a huge shock, but we were yet again blessed with extra time with Mom. Her strength still astounds us all. In those last days we all had individual time with her – time I think we will all hold onto dearly because of the real moments of connection with her. Moments we never thought we would have again when we first gathered as a family around her bed. But Mom continued to amaze us by opening her eyes, smiling and even speaking small sentences to us. The five days passed both too quickly and so slowly at the same time. Those days all blend together now.

The most amazing thing I witnessed during that last week however, was the love between Carson and Brenda. Their tenderness toward one another was beautiful. How Dad would do anything for her, assisting me in caring for her in a way that no one else could. Helping me change and wash her; lifting her gently to reposition her on the bed; putting her favourite lip chap on so her lips wouldn’t dry out (even though he went too far down her lips, making mom wave him off). The way he whispered in her ear in her final moments, selflessly encouraging her to go meet her Lord, was both amazing and heartbreaking. I can only begin to imagine how hard that must have been, to let go of your life’s great love. It was so beautiful, the way he served her until her final breath.

Even in those last days, Mom served Dad too, giving him gifts better than presents. Gifts like opening her eyes when we didn’t think she would again. Doing things for him that was better than an “Oh Wow”, which she gave to others when she woke up and recognized them, but not to him. The gifts she gave him were things that seemed so simple, like pulling Dad in by his shirt so he was closer to her. The way she would spend so much of her precious energy just to reach up and touch his cheek. How she would turn her head to lean in and kiss him, and then how Mom spent an entire days worth of her energy moving over to Dad’s side of the bed because, after 39 years, her side just wasn’t close enough to him anymore. She loved him so deeply.

Mom served Dad by giving him the moments of confidence that allowed him to let go. Being able to witness those intimate moments meant everything to me. It was just another gift that Mom gave me, sharing the glimpses of their love with me, showing how even in the final moments, love is more than enough. I learned so much about marriage in those days, that it is about carrying each other to the finish, even if just one of you crosses the line. Theirs was, theirs is, a great love.

Love is what mom emanated. It’s been more evident to me than ever since she passed. She shone in every room she entered, and she brought people into that light by loving each person. The fact that people who, to most of us, may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of our lives, cried when they heard of her passing, speaks to how Mom touched their lives. It demonstrates how important people were to her and how much love was a part of her life. I learned so much about Godly love from Mom, I learned that love cannot be confined to just a marriage or a friendship, but to it is meant to be given equally to every relationship that we enter. She has inspired and challenged me to love differently.

  1. Dennis Campbell
    September 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Carson, Jackie and I are so sorry for your loss. I only recently found out. We will continue to pray for you and your family God’s strength and peace during this time of adjustment.

    Thanks for the impact you had on my life so many years ago that continue to ripple out to others.

    • September 10, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks Dennis. Those were special days we had back then. So pleased to see you serving the Lord and thanks for your prayers.

  2. Susan Thiessen
    September 2, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Our prayers are with you Carson, and with your family.

    • September 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you Susan and please say hello to Keith for me.

  3. September 1, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful words, Kirstie. Such a blessing to read. Praying for Carson and all the family.

  4. Linda and Craig Trask
    August 29, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    It was lovely to be reminded of the impact Brenda also had in the lives of people with whom she was “casually” acquainted. We were reminded during the sermon at church tonight that people are what matter most to God. As one of God’s children, Brenda lived out this truth in the way she interacted with whomever God brought into her life each day.

    Today was bound to be another tough one for all of you, what with it being Brenda’s birthday. I was praying the words of “Never Once” by Matt Redman for Brenda and for all of her loved ones in her final days here and have been praying them since her service. I will continue to pray that God’s comforting and strengthening presence will be your experience in the coming days as you adjust to a new normal without Brenda’s loving presence in your lives.

    With love,

    Linda and Craig

    • September 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks so much Linda. I hope to make a Calgary trip someday and would love to get caught up.

  5. kathy and rob
    August 28, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    What eloquent and loving and insightful words…beautiful. Thank you. An honour to be able to peek into those last moments….one of the greatest privileges of family life is to together lift them up into the Lord’s hands. Poignant. Powerful. Praying still….Rob and Kathy

  6. Steve Brown
    August 26, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Wow. Thank you for writing and sharing. Very beautiful and incredibly precious.

  7. Anne Lang
    August 25, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    This writing of Kirstie’s is so beautiful and touching! Mom

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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