“Next week it’ll be eight months since I signed on for hospice. Does this kind of thing happen very often?” I asked while looping the cannula around my ears and flipping on the switch of the concentrator, its pumping and wheezing sounds filling the quiet of my dining room. Through the panes of the French doors, houseplants greened in the morning sun.

“Sounds like your experience doesn’t correspond to hospice patients you used to see when you were working?” Across from me sat Eunice for our weekly visit, her questioning mine, a technique that had opened out our dialogue at other times. She sensed my impatience with the process.

I nodded, waiting her response, from the heart. For months she had supported my spiritual growth as I moved through my end time flitting by like wind-gentled leaves. I was the lighter because of it, more accepting, most days.

“We occasionally see patients who remain a short time in our care and make their transition.” She thumbed her wooden wedding band: narrow, mocha in color, its circumference engraved with dark squiggles, then added, “However, others remain longer, especially heart patients—up to a year or more. So there’s nothing unusual about the course of your illness, given the drug that’s still working for you—Giving you more time to blog that’s honing your passion for eternal life.”

I sensed she was smiling behind her protective mask, rippled with what looked like clown smiles that jarred the beauty of her own. Still her words countered the tomfoolery of the mask.

More exchanges followed until within me a deeper level of acceptance surfaced: trust the process in its opaqueness, despite subtle worsening symptoms. Again, Eunice nodded, her soft eyes caressing my fresh resolve. How seamlessly she fitted into my world, then withdrew, barefoot, from our experience with the Sacred.