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This month... My Aching Back

 
Once age and declining health prevented my mother from continuing to work as a salesperson in a local children's furniture store, something she had done for 41 years, she began to pray that she would die.

I remember her sitting at home in her chair, wearing only a torn pair of underwear and one of Dad's old white t-shirts. "Please let me die," she prayed.

Later, lying on her bed in the nursing home, lost in a fog of dementia. "Please let me die."

And in the hospital, tossing and turning in her bed, as MRSA invaded her body. "Please let me die."

Even in the hospice, the few times she awakened from a morphine-induced sleep, she prayed in a hoarse voice, "Please let me die."

Neither my dad nor I wanted her to die; we still believed that medicine could heal the sadness of her soul and the infection within her body. But Ma's prayers were stronger than our hopes. On March 21, 2007, she took her last breath and found the peace she so deeply desired. Her prayer had been answered.

Ronna Edelstein
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Encounters

mainencounterspicEncounters, our latest feature: Patients talk about their healthcare experiences and share stories about their lives outside the doctor's office.

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