Love & Death

My blogfriend and fellow Kansas Citian Bill Tammeus writes about this book today offering the following quote from it:

"Take those who love you, one at a time, and sit down and ask them how they're feeling about your death. Then shut your mouth and listen. . . . Letting people grieve is simply another way to let them love you. It's not your fault that you are dying. Don't make it their fault that they are grieving. . . . Bless their tears. Tell them they mean the world to you. And before you know it, you will be crying, too, for them, for you, for the whole aching world."
The book's author, Forrest Church, is dying of cancer and seems to have captured a bit of grace that has manifested in heartfelt wisdom about the art of dying.

The subtitle of the book is My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow. It reminds me of a time when I walked through the valley of my first wife's death - wish I had this book back then. Nine months before she died I had a vision of that valley.. thought that I would share it with you:

At thirty-nine years old my first wife, Ellen, had heart and kidney failure.. at the brink of her death I found myself begging God to not let her die.. I could not accept her situation or the possibility of her death. Three and a half years later after praying almost daily for her healing.. never giving up.. I found myself again faced with the possibility of her dying. Driving to work one day.. racked with the agony of thoughts of a world without Ellen.. I began to pray in the Spirit. I saw a picture in my mind. In this vision I saw myself standing on a mountain looking down at a valley.. some how I knew it was the valley of the shadow of Ellen's death. As I looked into the vision I saw Jesus come to my side, take my hand, and walk with me into the valley. It was a comforting picture. God was trying to tell me that he would be with me when Ellen died and that I would be ok.
Death is something that we have so little training on. Death is a mystery but loving those who are dying and those affected by death should not be a mystery. Please help us to make death a bit less mysterious by sharing a comment about how love helped you, or someone you know, get through a death.

5 comments:

  1. We're all dying, every day.
    You've posted a couple of things in this vein. I hope everything is okay.
    God helped me through my mom's death by answering my prayer. I asked Him, if He wasn't planning on healing her, to please take her quickly. He did..no one knew when she would pass, except me--the exact day. That audible answer of compassion from Him has made all the difference in my life, and how I viewed her passing.

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  2. Interesting observation and question Karen. The two recent posts just came across my electronic desk and I thought that the topics were good ones to discuss. Not sure that anyone else thinks they are :)

    I think that many people are uncomfortable about having a conversation around death. I wonder why that is?

    A good friend of mine lost his dad when he was in his early 20s.. he stuffed his feelings for 20 years and fell apart one day when a doctor asked him about it. Grieving is a very active process and many find it so hard to help people in these kinds of situations.

    Thanks for sharing your story Karen.. God is so faithful and compassionate when hard times come.

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  3. This was just beautiful, KB. Thank you.

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  4. Thanks, KB. I had the same thoughts as Karen.

    This reminded me of Nanny's passing (grandmother-in-law). She was fighting one type of cancer for a year, then as that one went into remission, another type attacked. She decided to go home and stop fighting death. She planned her funeral like she was planning a family reunion and got all of us involved. She forced us to talk about her death - and we often found ourselves laughing about it with her. She died with everyone gathered around her for the "rehearsal" as the very last word of the eulogy was read. It was amazing.

    Forcing us to face it and deal with it was her last and greatest gift to us. I hope I have the courage to do that for my family some day.

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  5. That story made my heart soar Missy. What a woman she was! Echo your sentiments and hope that my passing is as glorious as hers.

    Also, nice new pic!

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