Someone said she was dying. Decades before her grandson-in-law had quipped, “We are all dying a little bit each day, from the day we were born.” Well, that was understandable… yes, we grow, and as each day brings us closer to our earthly end, one could say we are all on the dying continuum. Seems like it is the only way out of this worldly life, but for the Rapture.
“I’m not quite sure what is happening to me,” she confessed, her body betraying her in sudden unexpected ways. It had served her well nearly ninety years… so she wasn’t surprised, just amazed that perhaps her launch date was so near. She was still young inside, her mind and spirit alive and well. Just now her so familiar earthly body was wearing out, like a favorite old cloak she had always worn.
As she lay supine in her bed, head elevated, she’d realized her head was cold. She had neglected this morning to don her wig, too tired to exert any extra effort other than to relieve herself. Her hair hat, that had covered her thinning straggly hair faithfully for many years, lay cast aside, folded flat like a deflated balloon. “Just what I feel like,” she muttered glimpsing at the worn out thing as she hung onto the walls, dragging herself back to bed. Pulling on a wig was the least of her concerns; her only goal was to get herself back into bed and under the covers. “And the doctor said I was fine just three days ago!” It seemed surreal.
As the day unwound and the assisted living staff confirmed her decline, family gathered to sit with her so she would not be alone. Over the next week phone calls and flowers came, patters of little feet sing-songing, “Wake up, Gigi!” would rouse her when great grandchildren visited. As hospice nurses cared for her needs she was acutely aware of her internal experiences, and the separation that she could discern, from her body, her loved ones, this world. She was not afraid, but caught up in the greatest adventure she would ever face… being transformed from her earthly shell into a new existence. One of the poems she had written envisioned her and her long-departed husband, “riding comets with stardust in our hair.” Could she be visiting such experiences as she slipped into a coma, transitioning to a new part of life? Only she would know, for as the hospice chaplain encouraged a family member, “dying is a deeply personal and private thing.” Certainly many could be in attendance, yet only the dying one walking through that eternal door would know what their dying really was like, and what lay beyond.
It was years later, that the woman’s aging daughter, contemplating the brevity of life and the youth of her own spirit, wondered, “Are we all but wee ones on the brink of eternity or, as someone suggested, is this life just a parentheses within eternity?” Her mother was convinced this life is a great school of learning. Indeed, no matter how lofty our imaginings, even greater lessons and realities are certainly awaiting.
Psalm 90:10 (NKJV) 10 The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Isaiah 51:6 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished.
John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.