For my mother it was her single bed in suburban Melbourne. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and was told she had 6 months to live. It was almost to the day. Over the 6 months her small and frail body became smaller as did her breaths. We sat by the bed in a small home, my Father, my younger brother and myself. We sat as Palliative Care nurses came and went, they were gentle. I knew but for my younger brother and father it was too difficult to accept. She waited till her surviving sisters arrived from interstate. When the ambulance came to take her body, they put her on a stretcher and in order to move through the house they turned the stretcher sideways, I was horrified at this indignity. I sat alone with her minutes before she gave her last breath and spoke to her with loving honesty. It was probably the most intimate moment we had since she gave birth to me some forty four years before.
My father lay in a bed in The Alfred Hospital, semi conscious at 86 years of age. A life well lived. We asked that all life support be withdrawn. His body turned a translucent white as he gave his last breath. His sons, his younger sister, his two grand-daughters and their mother were there. I had flown home from Thailand three days before he died.
I write this to express my gratitude to the two people who gave me my first breath and for my being present at their last.