Going Light

John Grey, a thoughtful and entertaining blogger/smallholder over at Going Gently, mentioned in a recent post that “going light” is a Welsh phrase for the accelerated wasting process that happens during the last days and hours of dying.  During this time it often looks like they’re starting to disappear right before your eyes.

The phrase really struck me, not just because it’s the loveliest way of describing this transition I’ve ever heard, but because it’s also the most accurate.  That’s exactly what the rapid changes look and feel like with both the body and spirit of someone who’s dying.

I’m going light now, Ma.  I’m going light.


(Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

copyright Dia Osborn 2011

5 responses

  1. Going Light is a very scary phenomenon for those who are unprepared for it. Thank heavens for fearless hospice workers who help demystify the reverse process of birth that occurs with a slow death.

    Dia, I have a question for you. An dear old home town friend was relating to me the process of her mother’s passing. Her mother always had bright green eyes. But my friend was startled to realize, as she reached out to close her mother’s eyes for the last time, that those green eyes were now BLUE. Is this a normal phenomenon? She likened it to how babies’ eyes change from blue to whatever color they’re going to be. Perhaps the reverse happens at the other end?

    • How fascinating! I’ve never seen or heard about eyes changing color before, but an old schoolmate (a research biologist) once told me his grandfather’s hair turned from dark to white when he died. He said he asked a couple of doctors about it over the years but they just looked at him like he was speaking a foreign language. He still has no idea why it happened. It makes sense that it could be something similar happening as the eye-color change in infants. I know my eyes changed from a deep brown to hazel when I was about ten years old and I have no idea why. Whenever I’ve asked anyone who might know they just tell me it’s impossible and dismiss it. Like I didn’t know my own eye color. Strange, eh?

      • Well, taking eye color one step further. Less than 10 years ago, a gentleman looked into my eyes and proclaimed, “You lied, you have green eyes, not brown eyes.” I argued with him because of course I had brown eyes, my mother called my eyes brown, my driver’s license called my eyes brown, but when I looked in the mirror…sure enough, they were greener than brown! While in my home town last week, my step sister stared at me and asked, “What have you done to your eyes?” She thought I was wearing contacts. She, too remembered them as brown. Later that day, meeting with a childhood friend, (whose mother’s eyes change when she passed) proclaimed about my green eyes. This is what started our conversation. Strangely enough, as a child she had GREEN eyes, which have now become bright BLUE eyes. Strange indeed!

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