The first time I met Judith was at a workshop run by Universal Medicine, some time ago. From the very start of our meeting I felt drawn to this beautiful Lady who had such a beautiful smile. Sometime later there was a presentation of Women in Livingness being held in Brisbane, Judith contacted me to see if she could travel with me, and so began our time together.
So my service as carer for one day a week for Judith, began. She was experiencing side effects from the radiation treatment and needed a little help, so I would lay out her clothes for the day for her, help with sorting out her paperwork, and also do a little cooking.
Judith and her housemate Ingrid, moved to Goonellabah. I had so loved my time with Judith that I asked if I could continue my one day a week caring for her, even though it meant traveling down from Tweed Heads which was over an hour away.
My chores for the day would be to cook lunch for them, and some other duties. Judith would often invite me to join them for lunch. Each morning I would be greeted at the door by Ingrid, we would have a little chat, and then I would go down the hallway to see Judith. Often on arrival she would greet me with the words, “Ah Jill, I love having you come.”
We would then have our catch-up time together. I just loved the openness and honesty with which she shared, and enjoyed every detail – every word was important. Her loving interest in what was going on for me in my life at the time made me feel so loved and that my life had some importance. On the other hand, I could share up to a point, but held back on the detail, feeling that it was not important.
At the time I did not understand my reluctance in sharing in more detail, but over time, it became clear that within me, I held long time beliefs that nobody would want to hear what I had to say, and with that, I found myself looking to see if they were being bored by my talking.
All of this was going on in my head, when outside of me joy, love and acceptance was being shown back to me by Judith. Her loving interest was shown to all who cared for her, and to everyone who came to visit. All were touched by the beauty of her love, and the grace in which it was revealed.
I have since come to see how I have shut myself off from people by not sharing more of me, and that everyone is important and that we all have something unique to share with others.
Judith’s situation was gradually changing and she was requiring more help with her personal care, and bathing. These were such joyous times as she deepened her love and self care with opening up to be assisted. We felt so loved and appreciated in our very intimate caring for her, as we tenderly creamed her body with lovely smelling fragrances. She would lie there smiling and say “I feel just like a baby,” and we would laugh.
She amazed us as we watched her embrace her ever-changing path with full commitment to her soul’s calling, and with a degree of surrender that was inspiring to behold.
I would on occasion feel myself shy away from Judith’s loving gaze because I felt she could see into me. The power of love coming from her was too much for me to cope with, because even though I had left the church thirty years ago, I still deep down, unbeknownst to me, carried the belief of my unworthiness as a sinner. Of all people, I felt Judith was the one who looked most deeply into me.
Many people came to visit this beautiful Lady with the beautiful smile, and everyone was received lovingly and with deep appreciation. It was impossible for people to come away from visiting her and not feel the depth of love held in the home by her loving presence. It was also hard for them to believe that she was dying because she looked so well and radiant. She often said, “I feel like a fake. How could this woman who looks so well be dying?”
Her commitment to living life in full to the very end was nothing short of amazing and inspirational, here was a woman living whilst dying.
So much has unfolded for me in my time spent with Judith and I am eternally grateful for her love and support. I have come to experience true love and the true meaning of Brotherhood.
The night before Judith’s passing I came on at eight o’clock to be part of the team watching over her. After learning about Judith’s condition I went in to see her. As I entered the room, I could see so much had changed from when I had seen her the week before, and that now she was very close to dying. There was to be somebody with Judith around the clock as her passing was very close. It was discussed with Jen, the nurse who would do the evening shift. I surprised myself this night as I spoke up and nominated the after midnight shift for myself.
I was awoken by Jen just after midnight, to sit by Judith’s bedside. There had been no changes from earlier in the night when she was made comfortable and had closed her eyes and gone into a deep sleep, one that she would not awaken from. During this time her breathing had become quite audible, as she peacefully lay there.
In the early hours of the morning Judith’s breath changed from being audible to becoming very soft. I knew her passing was near, and called Ingrid and Jen to come to her bedside. Within a short time Judith took her last breaths. We sat there in silence together being held by the warmth that surrounded us. There was sadness but that was overshadowed by the joy we felt at being a part of her gracious journey.
She has given me a beautiful reflection by the way in which she lived her life whilst she was dying. Truly surrendering to her soul’s call, in true acceptance and joy for a life of living love to the full.
She has shown me that dying need not be filled with fear, regret and sorrow, that there is no need to hold on to dying this way, when our hurts can be healed, grievances put to rest and when our last requests can be honoured and carried out for us – in the knowing that this life is just one chapter in our book of lives and that we have the opportunity to come back to live our next life with a much greater, deeper, depth of love, than before.
So this was the beautiful Lady with the beautiful smile, in whose presence my life has been changed forever.
Jill S., Australia