I am taking my turn at sitting up with Hester, the 2:00 - 6:00AM shift. She is still breathing. Such a labored struggle. While she lives what will probably be her last night, what remains of hurricane Earl has arrived, torrential rain and gusting wind having begun at about 3:00.
This is so hard. Part of me wants to flee. But, a stronger (and better) part wants to keep vigil with this ebbing life. I am struck by the rains outside this snug house, the elemental force of it all, coming in forceful waves, followed by lulls, each phase dramatic in its turn. I am also aware of how similar the elemental forces are which exist in this room, life and death caught up in, twisted in on themselves, in horrible battle. I know full well which will be the victor. The question is when. And, when the time does come and the labored breathing stops, we'll all agree that, while death took a life, it's Hester who ultimately won, dying at home in her beloved Saturday Cove, the soft lights bathing the room in something akin to a holy glow.
Dawn is breaking. The rain and the breathing continue. The scent of brewing coffee is a deep comfort.