Sunday, December 8, 2013

On Death and Dying....

Death does not care who you are. It does not care if you are rich, poor, happy, sad, black, white, straight, gay, young, old, fat or skinny. It does not care about your religious views or social status. One day, this old world will still be spinning and I won't be here. There is no more humbling thought. I am mortal.

I wonder if my death will be peaceful and a relief after a long illness or sudden and shocking. Will I ever sit in a doctor's office and hear, "Get your affairs in order," or will a drunk driver take me out on the way to Kroger? Sudden deaths are harder to cope with. The shock value changes everything. 

I hope I never have to live one day on this planet without my kids here. Parents who have buried children are a special kind of brave and strong. I just don't want to ever have to be that brave and strong. 

I can't go to a funeral without looking around and thinking, "Who's next?" I also can't go to a funeral without bawling, no matter how close I am to the one who died or their family. It's just heart wrenching to see a wife stand over her husband or a dad touch is son's cheek as his tears fall on the boy's shirt. I never know what to say to the family. No need to even say, "I'm sorry." They've already heard it a hundred times. Usually, I just hug and say nothing. I hope that's okay. Sometimes words can hurt more than heal, even with the best intentions. 

I hope I never live to be a burden to my kids. I never want to live in a nursing home. I don't want to have a poor quality of life. I don't want to lose my memory and mind to alzheimers. If I can't move, am blind or deaf, if I can't enjoy my friends and family because I don't know them anymore, then I'd like to bid this world a fond farewell and go sing with Jesus. 

I've never been with anyone right when they died, but I have been with people shortly before. I find it fascinating that they see things! If they can talk, they might say they see angels, or people who have gone on before. My grandma saw golden stairs with angels. She said they were there to help her walk up the stairs. At the top was a door. She would reach her hand out like she was trying to grab something. I asked what she was doing and she said, "Trying to open the door." My dad had a premonition of his impending death. Something in his soul told him he would not live much longer. He did a few things, out of the ordinary, that now make sense as something he wanted to do before he died. 

God didn't make our bodies to last long. Just as a fog or mist. We are here, then we are gone. I hope when I'm gone I will leave a legacy of love and compassion.