We celebrate life from the very beginning-baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions. These events bring happiness, reminding us of the beauty of life. But how do we respond to death? How do we prepare to say goodbye?
Although I’d experienced the death of family and friends in the past, I’d never witnessed the process of dying until the passing of my father-n-law. Our family was given precious time to reminisce, create final memories, and say goodbye. Sadness mingled with gratefulness as we each had the chance to say, “Remember when…? I love you. We will be ok. God is with you.” While coping with the grief that followed, my mom reminded me of the following verse:
”God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” Psalm 46: 1-4.
Today it is my mom’s turn to witness this process of dying. She will soon be saying goodbye to her oldest sister. In preparation there have been family gatherings filled with memories, laughter, and tears. Today my prayer is that mom, her siblings, and my cousins will fall further into that refuge and strength spoken of in Psalm 46. Even though sadness and grief will surely come, my hope is for peace found in having had the precious privilege of saying goodbye.