“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” God
It is a reality no matter what you are going to die. Coming to accept your death will enrich your life.
I was at the neurologist for my wife today. Her condition has slipped to the point where she is no longer verbal. She can still speak and she will from time to time. She can respond to questions and sometimes she will have something to say. But as far as the doctor goes there is nothing he really can do for her. I acknowledged this, there is, after all, a time to die. It is not imminent but it is on the horizon.
I contrast this meeting with my dad in the hospital. He was lying in his bed. The doctor’s diagnosis had only given him about a week to lift. A form of cancer had returned and it prevented him from defecating. As a result, he could no longer eat. I suggested to him that he consider preparing to die. He told me that he didn’t have time to waste on that he was too busy trying to figure out how he was going to live.
They took my dad home to the house and he was on hospice. Usually, hospice will only give you water intravenously but my dad had it arranged to get nutrients as well. As a result, he lived a few days longer. I recall my dad at times boasting about death, “When I die I will discover the answer to life’s greatest mystery.” That was the scientist in him talking. Unfortunately for my dad, the scientist was present in for his final days. My wife says she had never seen a person more scared.
My dad died around the Christmas season. Very near the end, he called for the Catholic priest. He did this despite the fact that he never stepped into a church except for funerals or weddings. The priest came, to give the ‘last rites’. I was very grateful because I know that Christmas is very busy and that he had to preach not only the day he visited but the next day as well. My dad took the rites and my sister prayed along.
I am not saying that I will do any better than my dad. I know when my life goes it will be extremely hard. Sylvia suffers from dementia which is the long goodbye. Every month she slips further and further out of this world and more and more into the next. I have gone to the point of thinking about what I will say at her funeral. Rehearsing the words and the topics to discuss. Still, I am confident when she passes I will be utterly devastated.
The book on my wife is already closed. I don’t believe God holds people into account for the actions they do when they aren’t in a right mind. Not that Sylvia can do much of anything these days, except lie on her bed. She gets out now only for church services and doctors.
I am presently fifty and the Bible puts the lifespan of a man at seventy years. As such I have more behind me than ahead of me. I understand that I won’t live forever. There are things about life that I regret but there is more that I am pleased with. In particular, I am most proud of the evangelistic work that I did in the inner city of Newark. My biggest regret is that my writing has never made it to a certain level. I haven’t given up hope for the writing just yet though.
But what does it matter if you leave everything behind? Much in every way because, the mature look, is that we are preparing the future for those yet to be born. I want my legacy to be that I helped make this world a better place. That the life I spent was a blessing to others. That I lived a life full of love for others and that I strived to improve things. That is what life is all about.
Death shouldn’t catch anybody by surprise. People try to prolong this existence at the sacrifice of what is next. Accepting death is a mature approach.
Here is a book of sonnets called “Sunset Sonnets”. It is a wholesome and spiritual look at death. https://amzn.to/2FnoHiS
Photos by infomatique,