Live Until You Die
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Death is a really hard subject to write about and even harder for some people to think about, especially during the holiday season. Christmas symbolizes the birth of Jesus, who was born to die, to give us eternal life. We don’t have to be afraid of death and dying but it is still so hard for those left behind and those who don’t feel they have the assurance of eternal life beyond this earthly one. I hate the pain and the sense of loss that death brings and the resulting sadness. The pain of losing a loved one is messed up. But death can cut through the pretense of how those left really feel about each other. Good or bad. It can bring us together or finally tear us apart. I would describe myself as a private person so sharing these next details are not easy. But it is so strongly on my heart that I know someone needs to read this, so sharing will be so worth it. I miss my Mom and Dad or as I called them when they were living Mama and Daddy. I remember when they died. My Mama had esophageal cancer. I can’t for the life of me remember our last conversation before she slipped into what the hospice nurse described as a sort of coma. I do remember telling her I was pregnant and her brow wrinkling so I know she heard me! You would have to know my mom, she was something else!. A strong-willed woman, who was never afraid to speak her mind and fiercely loved her family. The nurse deduced I believed in God and said that she believed that at this time the patient is making a connection with Jesus and preparing to leave. Seven years later I remember riding in the ambulance with my Dad to the hospital. He had lung cancer. I had called the hospital because he was sweating but was cold to the touch and they told me to call an ambulance immediately. My Dad was retired military, an old soldier and he would not get on the stretcher for the ambulance until he was fully dressed including his belt and shoes. I was beyond scared and irritated but the paramedics told me it was alright and to let him finish getting ready. So I did. They were so respectful of my father, and in my distress they made me respect his wishes. Funny the things you remember. When we got to the hospital he was breathing fine one minute and fighting for every breath the next. They finally stabilized him but by then he was no longer conscious or responsive. I remember them convincing my sister and I to go home and get some rest. We didn’t want to but they assured us it could be days before anything would happen. I remember them calling us later that night to hurry and get back up there. He was already gone before we arrived. I’m not angry with the nurses though, Daddy would never have died in front of his girls. That’s the kind of Daddy he was. He was an old soldier, a proud man and our Daddy. Death is a cruel teacher. I remember feeling drained but resolved. Things needed to be done. I also felt sad and abandoned. Feeling like a little girl (even though I was married with kids of my own) that lost her mommy and daddy one minute and having to be grown up the next, after all, things had to be done. I knew God loved us but I couldn’t understand why anyone should have to go through this pain. Laughing about old times one minute going into the bathroom to cry the next. And why did I feel like I had to hide my tears? Why did I have to look so strong when I felt so weak. Watching people reminisce and get reacquainted at the funeral and thinking this isn’t a party, my mama….my daddy is dead. I know that’s not fair, no one meant any harm, it’s just the way I felt in my moment of grief. One day my kids will have to say goodbye to me and their father and we have raised them just as we were raised that death is not the end. Jesus will come for us and we do not have to be afraid. Still I wish I could spare them the pain but I can’t. But Jesus will be their refuge. This is what the bible says about death and believers:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Death comes we can’t stop it. I know not a very uplifting message. It gets better. Live until you die. Love until you die. Cut the small stuff loose. Don’t worry so much about things that really don’t matter. Don’t take on someone else’s baggage, hang ups or drama. Just handle your own.
You may have seen this movie, as I have, called “The Bucket List” starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. These two men made a list of things they would like to do before they kicked the bucket. But none were more important than mending their broken relationships. I was going to tell you what happens in the end but I won’t in case you haven’t seen it. But I will say this, life is way too short to bemoan what’s not right in your life. Resolve to do something about it or let it go. When you are young you think you always have tomorrow then you look up and you are middle-aged. Then once you pass middle-age you realize you have lived more life than you have left. It’s funny because everyone has heard the saying life is short but we live like we have all the time in the world when it comes to our messy relationships. We won’t forgive, we hold grudges, we judge and alienate loved ones. We are all human and no one is immune. Sometimes it’s such a habit we are not even conscious of it. It is definitely hard to keep the big picture in mind when you are in the middle of a situation where you have been hurt or disappointed. That is why if you are the injured party be open to counsel from someone not involved directly. If you are not involved be mindful of how you counsel, are you fanning the flame or helping to put it out. Truth is no matter when the end comes it will seem much too soon. Let’s not get so stuck in the details of life that we miss the big picture. Let’s resolve to help one another live and love until we die. And then live on forever after that.
Thank You Lord, you truly are the Reason for the Season.
Ms Wanda, GAC