Saying Goodbye to So Young

From James:

I wanted to write another post about how So Young is doing, since it’s evident to me that my previous post perhaps left some doubt about her condition.

So Young is dying. She has been in a coma-like sleep since Friday and cannot be woken up. She has not had anything to eat or drink since that night. Feeding her or giving her liquids would choke her and cause additional complications. Artificial feeding and hydration would merely slow a natural process that is already on its way, most probably causing additional suffering. There is no thought or hope for a medical cure. Her body is shutting down and preparing for death. The hospice people are telling us that she could go at any moment.

I am giving her a regimen of drugs orally in liquid form around the clock to keep her comfortable: morphine for pain and to help with breathing, Ativan for anxiety, and atropine drops to help dry her throat, which tends to become congested, something that happens frequently with the terminally ill. She is running a constant fever — another sign of impending death — which I regulate with ice packs and cool wash cloths throughout the day. I apply Chapstick and water to her lips to keep them moist.

Her daily regimen has completely changed, obviously. No more feedings. No more medication in apple sauce. Very few diaper changes since her fluid intake is essentially nonexistent.

So Young seems comfortable. Since sometime before Friday, she had signs of agitation or pain, occasionally pulling at her sheets with her left arm and moving her arm about. She was unable to tell us clearly what was wrong, and then by Friday she could no longer speak to tell us. We suspected it was discomfort related to being in the bed for many weeks — more joint and muscle pain than anything else. She has no skin problems like bedsores. Her discomfort continued through Saturday morning, but the medical people adjusted the morphine dose to what seems to be a perfect amount at the moment to keep her calm and comfortable. She shows no signs of agitation unless she is having breathing trouble. She has had apnea and a few other examples of struggling to breathe, some of which is an inevitable part of the dying process. Morphine and an oxygen machine are working in tandem to lessen the suffering in this regard.

The hospice staff from Capital Caring has been amazing. They have genuine care for So Young. The tragedy of her death at such an early age is not lost on them. They are top-notch professionals who clearly put their hearts into their work.

Thanks to everyone who is praying for So Young, commenting on the blog, writing encouraging emails, visiting, bringing meals, providing rides for the kids, etc., etc. People continue to do so much for us. We are so blessed by you. We owe you a debt we cannot repay.

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29 Responses

  1. Not a day has gone by over the past two years that I have not prayed for precious So Young and you, James, and Shannon, Lindsay, and Audrey. I will continue to send my most fervent prayers that you will all be comforted and carried as much as possible through this devastating time. I love you all so very much.

    All my love,

    Yvette

  2. James, you are an amazing husband and father. Your servant heart has been a testimony to, not only So Young and your three daughters, but to all of us who have been standing vigil with you. While you may feel total aloneness and a sense of abandonment in these final moments of So Young’s life, please know that you are being lifted up to God’s throne by people near and far.

    May the Lord bless So Young in these final moments. And may He bring solace to you and your family.

    Pax Christi,
    Amy

  3. So very very sorry. May you all be blessed by God now, and always, as He has blessed you with the love of and for So Young.

  4. A faithful diligent husband to the very end. God rest So Young.

  5. I know that God’s love is with you through such a difficult time. Love and prayers continue for all of you. Debby

  6. The evidence of the faithful, and true love you tend to is powerful testimony my friend. I feel a loss for words and cannot express the depth of what I feel for you and your family. You and your love for So Young have touched many. So Young’s testimony has touched more. I feel for you James. Praying even now, and in the times to come. Peace. The Father of all creation watches, holds, and understands.

  7. I usually don’t do a lot of Youtube links James, but thought this may bring some comfort, strange how a song can do that… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZAdoSV5sno

    • Thank you for sharing this beautiful song.

  8. Take care James! You are an amazing husband, father and man. I admire your stamina and caring. Prayers for all of you.

  9. James, I truly appreciate your sharing and giving updates on so young. As everyone commented, you are an amazing individual and I thank God for your strength. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  10. Dear Gage Family — our hearts and prayers are with you! Wish we could do so much more.. Please let everyone love on you all and may God’s peace be with you. Matt & Soogi Hong

  11. We do not cease to pray for you all, James. May God’s peace be with each one of you, your daughters, and your extended family – by blood and by love. May you not cease to feel the love of so many for the James and So Young Gage family.

  12. My phone’s on 24/7 if any of you needs anything I can offer. That goes for the girls too.

  13. My heart aches for you and your family as you go through this with your beloved wife. My prayers are lifted up that you and yours might find comfort and peace from our Lord and know that So Young will be released from this struggle. I send hugs to you and the girls. Thank you for sharing all of this with us and for being such an amazing witness to true love and to faith in our Lord.

  14. Heartbreaking. I am praying for you all. I am so sorry.

  15. James, I am very sorry this has come to pass. We all are about to suffer a great loss, you and the girls most of all: our loss, heaven’s gain. I pray that So Young’s remaining time will be peaceful and I pray to give you strength to carry on.

  16. God loves you! You will never know how much God has used your family to touch so many hearts. Your journey has been a remarkable testimony of God grace and love. So Young is going to be completing her marathon soon, and be praising the Heavenly Father which we all long to do! My heart aches for you and your family. I know God will be your comfort and strength. Thank u for sharing your story.

  17. James our love and prayers are with you and your family doing this difficult time.

    The Carr Family

  18. James…my heart is so heavy as I just heard about So Young’s condition. I feel like a fool for not knowing anything even though we haven’t talked in ages. Thank you both for graciously sharing your journey. I will be praying for So Young, you and your children.

  19. James, you are a true blessing from God to So Young and your girls. Your care, and devotion during this heartbreaking time provides us with a clearer picture of the sacrificial love of Christ. I pray that The Lord will cover you with peace during this time and bless you with sweet memories of So Young.

  20. James, you are all constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Praying the presence of Christ wrapped around you and So Young as you walk her to meet Him . Praying for strength for both of you. Debbie Barfoot

  21. Hi James,

    I am in shock & I am prayerful, I literally just got this news this morning from Anne. I lost touch with So Young years ago with all my moving & changing jobs. God knows I would have been there for her, for you & the babies. I love her, I love you guys. God sends us angels in human form that touch our life & our heart & you guys were that for me & the boys. I look at out pictures from our joined baby shower, I am just at a lost but I am praying to God for a miracle, for favor, for healing & that she will recover. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

  22. I have quietly read your blog to follow So Young’s journey. I read your last entry with a very heavy heart. For all of you I wish comfort, peace, and strength in the days and months to come. May God wrap His arms around you and keep you forever in His care. You are in my thoughts and prayers each day.

  23. Hello James,
    We had heard of So Young’s health struggles and I am ashamed to admit that we did not extend warm wishes to you sooner. You are in our thoughts and we will pray for strength and peace to your family during this time. I have lit a candle in honor of So Young and invite others to do so as well.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=SGage

    Joon and Kristy Lee

  24. James and family, we knew some day that these days might come when we might have to finally say goodbye. We type this with tears because despite the joy of knowing SoYoung will be with the Father, we still wish she could have stayed longer. We send you and the girls all our love and prayers. Thank you both for your blog. I finally got to read her testimony and it brings tremendous comfort and inspiration.

    Sandy, burton, Kyle and Aly

  25. James, our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to you, Shannon, Lindsay and Audrey. You have truly been a wonderful husband to your loving wife. We are so sorry that her marathon is coming to such an early end. Your faith in the Lord will carry you through this.

  26. James, What an inspiration of true love. Can only imagine the range of emotions that you are going through….praying that the Lord holds So Young in his peace and gives you the strength to continue. You are in our thoughts and prayers daily. Love from Houston. Greg and Loa Glenn

  27. James, Shannon, Lindsay and Audrey, I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of So Young, the pain of her loss and how much you will miss her is great. I pray the Lord’s peace and presence to be upon you during this time. I know you have hope in the day you will reunite with her in heaven and that she is dancing and happy with the Lord now. Many Blessings, Anne Railton-Andrews and family.

  28. James,

    I am so sorry to hear about your wife. May God give comfort and strength to you and your beautiful daughters.

    Grace and blessings,

    DeAnna

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