This week I experienced being present for the first time with a resident at his crossing over. What was surreal about it is that he simply stopped breathing. It was so peaceful, that I wasn’t even sure he had actually passed away, so I quickly recited the Vidui and Shema (the two prayers recited when a Jewish person passes away), and asked the nurse to confirm my suspicion.
My mentor told me that in the few times he has been present during a person’s passing, it has been very peaceful. On the other hand, some of the residents with whom I visit have shared horror stories about their loved one’s passing.
I don’t know why some people are able to make the transition from this world to the next so peacefully, while others seem to battle against it till their last breath. Perhaps those who pass easily believe in G-d and the World to Come, and that makes it easier for them to let go. Whatever the reason, it truly warms my heart to know that a peaceful passing is, in fact, possible.
Having witnessed this phenomenon, my wish for the world is that everyone who prays to “go peacefully into the night,” has their prayer answered.