When 20 = 5.5

Right at noon the hospice nurse alerted me to the fact that Julie’s breathing had changed.  She’d started a short, shallow breathing that the nurse referred to as “end-of-life” breathing.  The nurse has been a hospice nurse for five years, and the longest she’s ever seen anyone in end-of-life breathing before they die is 20 minutes.

Until now.  Julie has been in end-of-life breathing for five and a half hours.  There’s no indication that she’s suffering, or even uncomfortable.  The nurse says Julie is the strongest person she’s ever met.

I assume Julie will pass sometime tonight, but I thought that last night too.  Julie will go when it’s right for her to go.  I’ll keep you posted


5 Responses to “When 20 = 5.5”

  1. 1 kevin
    October 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm


    She is strong, and so are you. I know that Julie will see the face of Love as she physically leaves us. That memory will be a part of forever, that memory will be of you.

  2. 2 Kelly Martin
    October 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    We have no doubt that Julie is one of the strongest people we will ever know. Our thoughts are with you and Julie. We love you both, and cannot imagine what you have both been through. Please tell Julie we love her, we will miss her, and we admire her.
    Justin, Kelly & Shawn

  3. 3 Mary Jane Greenlaw-Essary
    October 7, 2010 at 8:38 pm


  4. October 7, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Even in her final moments she is an example of how to be strong. Your kind voice and touch will be with her as she goes. Maybe she just wanted to show you she could hang on for a little more of you. When she goes you will know she was finally ready to let go. You married an amazing and strong woman, someone to be admired. But you already knew that. Big hug and love for you both.

  5. 5 Laura Illige Harvey
    October 8, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Julie has never done anything to anyone else’s time schedule. She is the strongest person I know -except perhaps for you, Brian – your strength, love and caring inspire me. You have such a hard job right now, and you have done it with class. Much love to you. Laura

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October 2010

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