Letter #11 Accelerating Decline

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IMG_3351-0.JPG“We Say that the hour of death cannot be forecast,  but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future.  It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon,

this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.”  
 
-Marcel Proust
 
 
Letter #12
Dear Beloveds of Ruth
 
Ruth’s decline has accelerated.  
We are coming to the end of the tenth day without food or water. This is not unheard of but is approaching the expected duration. 
Her breathing is labored and her pulse is high. 
The only medication which she is taking at this time is one that decreases secretions so she does not have so much phlegm in her throat.  
 
She is experiencing Cheyne–Stokes respiration. She breathes hard and fast for a while, then experiences apnea, an apparent complete stopping of breathing for a while then repeats.  It is impossible to predict the time of her passing but it will likely not be long now. 
 
The community of care which is surrounding Ruth is most unusual. The hospice people are struck by how calm everyone is, and how thorough her care is.  We are finding a peaceful and cooperative way to create community that is loving and accepting. Ruth would be very proud of us.  
 
When she dies we will call the hospice. They will call the coroner for a death declaration. We will also call the mortuary and request pickup at a time 24 hours or so in the future. We will then bathe her and prepare her for transport to the Zendo.  Seimi has created a palanquin our of metal rods and a door on which she will be carried.  She will lie in state in the Zendo for a day while we meditate, chant and co-create a ritual fitting of this most creative and amazing pioneer woman Dharma teacher.  The greater community will be welcome to attend at that time. 
 
As soon as we get it figured out we will send out an invitation to the memorial service that will happen within a couple of weeks.  
 
I will keep you informed of her progress on the journey
 
With love