We would go to the hospital to watch her die. Her time was short, cancer was eating her alive. I have described it that way before because there is no better way to explain it. She was diminishing quickly before our eyes. And yet, mom would smile at us. What is braver than that? I was only 5-years-old when the end came, but some days it seems like yesterday.
Her death was my life’s greatest, most expensive, gift. It taught me at a tender age how precious it is to live–bitter and sweet all rolled into one; the bad just as significant as the good.
There is little we humans struggle to make sense of as much as death–the fact that we will die. Oh sure, we all know it intellectually. But deep down, in our core, in our heart, we don’t get it. We forget easily that our minutes are ticking by, our time is winding down. Our heart beats are not unlimited. “Here and now” seems to stretch out in front of us forever. This has been a mystery to me. I have a fascination with the time we are given. I found a clue as to why our hearts break when we watch someone we love die, or when we find out that we ourselves are dying.
I find comfort in these Words, which I recognize as true in my spirit, “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
This is why we weep when death comes. This is why it is hard for us to face. We were made to live forever. It is planted in our hearts. A Beautiful Forever.
I’ve always had knack for a huge, borderline morbid imagination. I know that I probably worried my elders as a young child. Each birthday was not about the coming new age, for me it was mourning the age I just had. I can remember my 11th birthday. I was so sad because I would never be 10-years-old again. As I grow older, I don’t let myself linger long in mourning each minute of the day. I have learned to lighten up (a little). Still, I’m grateful for the profound awareness of the days I am given. May I never take them for granted.
Imagine you are dying. In what ways would your life change if you learned you only had a year left to live?