“Down one centimeter—19—from the last time I was here,” said Cayce the nurse practitioner as she slipped the tape measure from my upper arm and snapped it shut. “That’s one centimeter of muscle loss,” she added, her dove-soft eyes peering over her mask, engaging my trust. Since last November, she has been documenting my decline for Medicare’s continuing hospice coverage.

However, this evaluation differed from others during which I had coasted in my terminal illness and minimally functioned on my own, with help. The past month saw my need for 24/7 personal care in my home, increased shortness of breath and weakness, exacerbation of my rheumatoid arthritis hardening lung tissue, difficulty projecting my words, frequent pauses between activities, and a generalized malaise—The sickness phase of my terminal illness.

Such documentation of my declining health, with little nod for my spirit’s growth, gave me pause. True, Eunice the chaplain has sat with me on Thursday mornings and caught the ordinariness of the Sacred-in-our-midst, concluding with Namaste bows and “Until the next time…” She knows the insides of silence.

Despite spirited helpers surrounding me, though, I am alone. No longer do I seek answers to questions about my disease process, yet another form of controlling the uncontrollable. No one knows when or how my last breath will occur. Resting with my God has become a critical part of each day. It’s all about surrender.

“You’re doing amazingly well, Liz,” said Cayce as she gathered her bag and notebook and prepared to leave. “We all think so—And as always, the tulips on your dining room table—so lovely. See you further down the road.”