O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?—1 CORINTHIANS 15:55 [KJV]
My mother, her body ravaged by pancreatic cancer, wanted to come home to die. Instead of a sterile hospital room, she longed for the comfort of the house where she and my late father had raised my brother and sister and me.
Hospice arrived ahead of Mother and set up a bed exactly where she’d requested it, next to the long wall in the den. From that spot, she had a perfect view of the TV. She was settled into that bed just in the nick of time. Jeopardy! would start in less than five minutes. Though Mother’s children and grandchildren were gathered around her, hoping to fill what little time remained with reminiscing and heart-to-heart farewells, that didn’t happen.
“You can talk during the commercials,” she warned us. “But not when the show is on.”
Even though it was difficult for us when we felt she had so little time left, we complied with her wishes that evening and for the handful of evenings that followed. Mother grew weaker by the hour and slept most of the time. But she always rallied just in time to see Alex Trebek welcome contestants to another show. Mother breathed her last on a Wednesday evening shortly after the Final Jeopardy question, which she answered correctly, was revealed.
Fifteen years later, Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer on Mother’s birthday.