I intended to write this yesterday but was kind of drained when I got home (and our internet was on the fritz!) but I want to share something that happened in the afternoon.
To make a long story shorter, an elderly gentleman was emergently admitted to our ICU from the ER after being successfully resuscitated (presented in full arrest-family drove him in by POV). After a return of pulses, it was discovered that he had an effective DNR status. We didn't get a report, just saw the doors fling open and the ER staff running in, bagging the patient. It was decided by our medical director and the patient's family that he was to be extubated and made comfortable. He lived about 90 minutes after I pulled his tube.
After he was pronounced, the family (3 granddaughters-all in their late 50s) in the room asked me if they could wash his body. When I returned with a basin, soap, etc. they told me that he had been in the church choir all his life and had a perfect tenor voice. At this point, the granddaughters began singing gospel hymns while they bathed him. I don't know if it was just being a little overwhelmed by the scene, but their singing was one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard, like ringing bells at a church service.
They also told me that 3 days ago, they had been sitting on the porch and he cryptically said to them
"I can tell Heaven is getting sweeter every day."
I replied back,
"what a wonderful memory you have of his last few days and how ready he seemed even though this was a surprise to you."
No poet could effectively describe this, but if you can just picture 3 older ladies singing hymns with barely muffled tears as they gently ran warm towels over their grandfather. I hadn't been affected like that in a long time, it was so powerfully moving; I didn't want to leave the room because I felt something much more important than what was visible was happening.
Maybe some of you have had an experience similar to this in the past, but I thought it was so beautiful that I wanted to share it and maybe someone else could get some peace out of it as well.