Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Those very last moments

I sit here living in an absolute state of grace, being carried along by the words of so many friends and strangers, and by the physical presence of so many people who have come to our home today to be with us. To remember, to cry, to plan, and to laugh.

I want to tell you about what happened in between the blog I had written last night and the last paragraph. I want to tell you how sweet and perfectly Cora completed her life.

As I had written, she was struggling and I sensed she was laboring toward the end. She really did fairly well all day, well enough to interact so lovingly with her siblings, and to still reach for my face when I held her.

But as the night went on, she was working. We patted her chest and suctioned her to try to help, but she seemed weak.

Earlier in the day I had asked Jason to bring in Cora's bathtub from home. It's one of those rather large baby baths, and Cora always loved sitting in it and splashing her little arms and legs. Watching her struggle I thought maybe she would feel better in her bath. So we filled it with warm water and we sat her sweet little body in the tub. It broke my heart to see her so frail. She didn't kick or splash, but it seemed in an indescribable way to be the right thing. Jason and I washed her from head to toe, and I don't have to tell you that I poured onto her every ounce of love that I had accumulated over the past eight months.

When we finished her bath we laid her in blankets fresh out of the warmer, and I put her in Jason's arms. The moment I did, she stopped working so hard to breathe. It was as though, so comfortable and safe, life finally became easy for her, and she rested comfortably in Jason's care.

After the longest time, he called me over. Her breathing had changed and we both knew the end was near. So he sat in a rocking chair and I kneeled over his lap, and we had the beautiful opportunity to just tell Cora every single thing we wanted to tell her, and to thank her for the pure blessing she gave us, and to kiss and encourage her as she journeyed away.

She spaced her breaths out and ever so peacefully, she just slipped away.

She was so, so very smart, and so very wise. She so generously chose the perfect time to leave this earth, a time when we could both enfold her in love, on a night when one of her very favorite nurses could watch over her.

She chose this moment, and then she just left this life as beautifully as the moment she entered it.

After her death, my eight or so girlfriends re-entered the room and together with Jason, we sat on the floor and took turns holding Cora, and we sobbed the tears of the brokenhearted as we touched her perfect body, finally free, and thanked her for her graceful life.

Several magical and mysterious things happened last night. One was that at 1am, about a half an hour after she died, her cardiologist walked into the room. He had come over to check on Cora and hadn't known that she had just passed. He just had the intuition to come by. Another magical thing was that one of Cora's other beloved nurses texted last night's nurse, just ten or so minutes after she passed, to say that she had just mysteriously woken up and was glad Cora was in good care tonight. I've heard so many accounts of people today who woke up last night for no known reason, only to find that Cora had gone.

I believe, as I have written before, that Cora is a child who lived in the spiritual world. I believe she understood the course of her life far better than I ever did. I believe she lived to inspire love in people, to ground them, and to move them into considering a better, more deliberately loving way of life.

And I also believe that at the moment she died, a wave of pure love was released from her, and that wave was so strong and so powerful that it spread over a great distance. And I believe, awake or not, we felt that love, and that we are all truly better for having shared the earth with such a magical being.

We will remember Cora's life at 10am next Tuesday, July 23rd at Saint Anselm Church in Ross, California. We are deeply grateful to all of you and welcome anyone who loved Cora to join us, wearing colorful clothing and with joyful hearts, as we celebrate the beautiful life of our little lionheart.


  1. I too woke in the night to read about Cora. I am so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful precious Angel. I will miss your blogs (and I'm secretly hoping they won't stop) I will also miss those daily reminders of the beautiful things life has to offer. Cora was an inspiration to all of us and a reminder of the special gifts of love and family we must always treasure. Love Melinda, Braydon, Anabel and Maya.

  2. There are no words. There is so much love.

  3. You are a beautiful person. Your outpouring of love is truly inspirational. Cora's life will forever remind me of how precious this life truly is and how one person truly can change the world. God Bless each of you!! Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with the rest of us.

  4. Words come with difficulty...I have never written to you...but,I am so sorry to read this morning about the peaceful passing of amazing sweet Cora. She has been such and inspiration....and her life reminds us that the only moment we have is the present...
    And..your gift of sharing tender moments and agonizing thoughts has changed THIS and Jason and all three of your beautiful children and your wisdom, strength and love will remain in my heart forever, though I have never met you in person. Bless YOU and Cora for helping all of us to be better people, more in tune to the things that REALLY matter.
    Peggy Watterson
    (Longtime friend of Fred and Ann Costello)

  5. Grace will see us home...and it did. You are loved...all is well...thank you

  6. That might just be the most beautiful and moving thing that I have ever read. God bless.

  7. Thank you Cora, thank you Michelle. I've been following your story. I read one of your early blogs and my heart kept leading me back, never going to bed without checking in on your sweet family. Cora's story and your words have been balm for my soul. I feel so blessed to be broken hearted by Cora's beautiful, precious life and death. All my love

  8. You are an incredible human and mama to share the above with such strength, beauty and insight.
    Sending bubbles of love and warm hugs to carry you through this transition.

  9. Praying that you are bathed in love and peace!

  10. A friend shared your blog with me, and I'm so deeply touched by what your wrote, and by the loving, gracious way that you loved your baby. I'm so thankful for the months you had with her. Every moment of her sweet life is so precious. Thank you for sharing her life with us. Blessings to you, and to your family.

  11. Thank you for sharing that beautiful baby girl with the world. I am praying for your family. Much love from a stranger in Illinois.

  12. Thank you Cora. I have never met you and just randomly stumbled across your story through friends of friends but I have followed your journey now for months and through your mothers words I have found a deep appreciation for the precious fleeting nature of life. I believe that in your 8 short months you touched more lives than many could in 80 years, your job in this world was complete. I will always carry you in my heart and will forever be changed because I knew of your brave journey. You have worked too hard for your young age so may you rest in peace and tranquility knowing that you have touched many lives for the better.

    Goodnight sweet girl.

  13. I have followed your story from afar and have been humbled by your love for your sweet baby girl. Your strength and your ability to put your feelings and experience in words to share with all of us has been and is amazingly beautiful.
    We are connected by shared family (my aunt is Alice Kauer - my dad, Ken, is Bob's brother) and I wanted to connect with you here to express my sorrow for your loss and my gratitude for sharing your's and Cora's story...may your memories bring you peace...Karen

  14. When my mom passed away in 1997, I had time to walk through the cemetery before her service. I found a headstone of a young boy who had died in the 1800's. I imagined the dusty road and the mourners coming up the hill in their carriages on that day, and the service that was held there. Now over a century past,the headstone discolored and old, but the inscription on the stone gave--and gives--great hope: "Safe in the arms of Jesus."

  15. Thank you for letting me join you along this special, transformative walk. I have read very word you have written and you have all changed me. I regret that I did not meet Cora yet you have made me feel as if I do know her, so well. I am comforted knowing that she finished life in a way that so perfectly suited who she was, a beam of light and love felt so strongly.