When someone you love is dying

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

This is an odd kind of Christmas message, I know. In this high and holy season, the sights, the sounds, the aromas, they weave a bright, golden tapestry. At the center, a star appears. Above a stable low and rough, it shines its light. And over it all, angelic song…

Today, in another town, another state, another place, a woman lays, dying. For months, her daughter, my dear, close friend, has walked it through, this valley of the shadow of death.

I watched, and I listened to this friend of mine. Saw her struggle through from soul-agony, heart screaming the “noooo,” to reluctant acceptance to, now, the release. Her small, beloved, gray-haired mother is suffering. Cancer cells ravage her frame, marching through; devouring, relentless, ravenous invaders, leaving death and destruction in their wake.

Watching her pain is a waking nightmare for the family. They are all, every one, suff’ring, too. For death is stalking.

Yesterday, this message: “What do you think we are to learn in this season of waiting and waiting and waiting? I’ve come to conclude the lesson to be learned is for us/me more than for her?”

I picked up my phone. “I think so.” Thinking, thinking. “Her relief and healing are imminent.” Soon, her pain will be gone. Forever! Ah, that blessed “forever.”

Then this from my friend. “I pray it is! We are feeling like horrible kids that we are wishing the transition happens soon.”

Oh, goodness. Blast it all to hell! Blast the enemy. Blast the cancer. Blast the horrid, wicked voice that comes, messing with the peace of Papa’s kids, placing light-snuffing guilt on the innocent. On the loving.

I turn right away to the One Who knows. “What is Your mind on this thing? What’re You thinkin’?” And then, I know what to say, what to give.

“You’re watching your mother go through metamorphosis.” And I’m seein’ a butterfly, see it’s struggle. “You know all the way to your core that when she emerges from this shell or cocoon she’s trying to shed that what comes next will be unspeakably beautiful and wonderful for her. That process involves a struggle, though. That’s the really hard part.”

Fingers cease for a moment as heart is listenin’. The enemy, he never stops tryin’, all the way up to death’s door. And then this: “In no way is the Shepherd of you all, thinking that you’re horrible, unloving kids. That’s not His voice. His loved ones felt His agony, too, when He underwent His own death struggle.”

As it always does, hearin’ Papa’s words, hearin’ truth, it helped her. It eased, for a bit, the hurtin’ for my friend. But they lingered all day in my mind…

And I thought of two more. Yes, two more friends (that makes three) who are watchin’ parents die, of all things, right now, here at Christmas.

For you who are walkin’ this valley of death, I feel small, feel weak for the helpin’. “If you’ve received anything from the Lord,” a teacher once said, “anything at all, a nugget or two, then you have something to give.” So I’m givin’.

The Babe Whose birth and then death saved us all? That man had a family. Who, too, watched Him die. They watched his death pains, saw Him struggle.

Like the caterpillar wrapped tightly in its cocoon, there’s a transition to make before the transformed and beautiful creature unfurls its wings, a brand-new butterfly! For the glorious, winged creation, the release comes only on the heels…of a struggle. Of a death come stalking.

For those who attend, a somber, holy ministry. Walking through that valley with a loved one takes grace, and that all sufficient, all amazing. His grace.

Grace, dear soul, was born that night. Salvation and Life, they came dawning! Birthed into a manger of hay, it was Life that Mary suckled. Life that Joseph held. It was a King Who would win once for all. Where death stalked, Life came, full-conquering. Forever.

For you, my friends who have been entrusted with this awe-full mission, who are walking a loved one through the vale, my prayers ascend for you today. “Now may the God of peace, Who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Heb. 13: 20-21).”

For the Babe, for you, and for all who shall soon be freed up to fly,


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *