Friday, April 23, 2010


I have had a few ask about what to say when with one near death.  This is an interesting moment that I have too often let slip by without attention.  I have wondered, though, if our combined efforts to keep everything "light" among those of us visiting simultaneously in the room of the patient has left them rather "stranded" from the real matters at hand. 

By that I mean I have wondered if the dying wish we would address this topic in order to help them make the transition; but instead we avoid the subject fearing they will pick up we will think they are dying.  They might know they are approaching the end and may need us to drop the small-talk.  What do you think?

With my friend last week, here's what I gaged.  I thought he was near death.  I wanted to approach the subject.  I simply ask him if he was dying.  His response would either cause me to laugh off such a silly question (should he laugh at me) if he didn't think he was or I would know to follow the theme. 

His response was an immediate "yes".  I asked if he was afraid.  "No."  Then I shared with him how this process would probably go down.

I reminded him of the 23rd Psalm where the victim was sitting at a picnic table highly and comfortably enjoying a feast spread before him.  Threats from enemies were all around and yet the one feasting was oblivious to all.  He simply was having a picnic.

That's the way it is for a believer's death.  The Shepherd is so aware of us that perfect security shields us at death.  We can be at extreme peace as if at a banquet; oblivious to all threats and fears.  His provision is so exacting in comfort that death does not have the fangs to wage war.  It will not distract us from continual living!  We simply slip through without concern how to work it, how to manage it, or how to approach it.  The Shepherd deals with all of it and ours is wonderfully a role of enjoyment.

When you don't know what to say to a dear one dying, maybe this will give you a concept to develop.

Blessings as you encounter these very precious moments.


Stoogelover said...

Being a preacher (at one time, maybe again) and a funeral director, I got over the hesitation to talk about death with those who are dying. I find most of them are somewhat relieved that someone actually "gets it" that they are dying! Many of them want to talk about it and no one else seems willing. Those who don't want to talk about it will quickly let you know.

Your comments from Ps.23 are so comforting!

Gorgana said...

Having lost my precious, precious father in December - two years, two months and twenty-one days after losing my precious mother - your words are such a balm and a comfort Terry! What a beautiful concept! THANKS!