The hospice nurse returned this afternoon, and as with her last visit, while she was working with Ruth, Ruth perked up ever so slightly, and became able, for a few minutes, to talk and interact with us. She was clearly able to tell us that she is not in pain, which we and the nurse were glad to know. Then she had another short hand-holding session with John. This time my daughter Sarah was also on hand. She asked Ruth if she wanted to hear about Alison and Josh Wierschke's wedding yesterday. She did want to. As Sarah was telling her about it - in a very sister-to-sister way - Ruth listened, and interacted a bit with Sarah's telling of the story, showing that Ruth was really trying to take it all in. In this respect she hasn't changed a bit. She is still just as interested in, and hopeful for, the happiness of other people, as she has ever been - even at a time like this in her own life. Ruth has now slipped back into a deeper sleep. My other daughter Catharine is sitting with Ruth right now, as we are listening to the music that is coming through the Internet via Lutheran Public Radio. These great hymns are reminding us of this great Christian truth: "If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:8).
Ruth's illness and these her last days have been, for me, a perfect example of a Christian's last days. God grant her peace till the end and I pray He comes quickly to take her home.