A first for me – to be in the room when somebody died.
Most of my family gone now, but never present when it happened.
Multiple funerals, but the first time to see a person die.
I was fearful.
Would she be scared? In pain? Gasping for air?
Would I say the right things at the right time or offer clichés or useless platitudes?
Would I cry?
Her death was peaceful.
Maybe because of the drugs administered quietly by medical personnel slipping into the room.
Maybe because she wasn’t aware of what was happening.
Maybe because she was aware and wasn’t afraid.
Death came slowly, each breath taking a little longer than the last until there was no new breath.
God was there in the room. We could all feel His presence. It was a sacred time. It was a sweet death. I did cry, but it was OK. I tell my congregation it’s OK to grieve. God grieves with us. God cries with us.
The room was filled with love, so much so that it took my breath away.
Gathered around her bed, her family was there to say “Good-bye. God go with you. God stay with us.”
Her son and daughter each held a hand, and sometimes they gave her little “love pats” as they stroked her face or rubbed her shoulders.
Each one in the room spoke to her, believing that somewhere deep inside, she could hear them.Over and over, they told her how much they loved her.
The children spoke of how she had kept the family together after their father had died.
Grandchildren talked about how she had taken each one on a graduation cruise, and before that, took them to the park, pulling them in the little red wagon.
A granddaughter, nine months pregnant with the fifth great-grandchild, wept for the passing of the great-grandmother her child would never know.
In the end, they urged her to go to her husband, and to go to Jesus.
In the moment of her death, her daughter said, “God now has another angel in heaven.”
We all believed it.
I pray for such a death when my time comes.
I want all of my children there, maybe the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I want them to touch my body, perhaps give me little love pats.
I want a sweet death. Not now. Not anytime soon. But when it is time, I want a sweet death.