Tuesday, December 12, 2017-I woke up after a good night’s sleep. Lynette appeared to be sleeping as well. I let her continue and went about getting my breakfast and coffee. Luke came downstairs about an hour and a half later. He DOES not like to let people sleep if he wants to talk to them. He said, “Daddy, I can’t wake Mama up.” She didn’t look distressed at all, but she was not responsive. I called her Hospice nurse, who was on her way to attend to other patients. The home health aide was on her way to us for Lynette’s bath. The home health aide arrived first. She did what she could to examine Lynette. She said “She’s expired.” I don’t care for euphemisms about death in general. That one sounds like Lynette had passed her “sell by” date, which was certainly NOT the case.
The hospice nurse arrived and confirmed that Lynette had died. Evidently, some time during the night, she had just breathed her last. She was home, surrounded by love. I absolutely know there are worse ways to die, but it was still “Too Soon.” I knew the general death protocols from my own time as a hospice chaplain. The Simpson County coroner was notified. He allowed us to release her body to Chancellor Funeral Home. The nurse expressed her surprise that she had died so soon. She, like me, was expecting we’d have several weeks at least with Lynette at home.
I had to make the hardest set of phone calls I’ve ever made. The first was to Sarah, who was in her last day of exams at Millsaps. She was to be home that afternoon. As you can imagine, her distress was great. Eventually, Joey Shelton was able to find her in her friend Simon’s dorm room and offer her Pastoral Care. My next calls were to Lynette’s sisters, then to my father, brother, and sisters.
Connie Shelton and Lynette’s friend Elizabeth were already on their way to our house, but came faster once they knew Lynette had died.
By about 1:00, Lynette had gone to Chancellor and the driver for Hospice Ministries had collected their hospital bed and oxygen equipment.
That evening Luke and I met Sarah at Five Guys in Ridgeland for the saddest supper ever.