At around midnight on June 1st, 2013 my Aunt took her last breath and flew away to Heaven.
“Just think of stepping on shore – And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand – And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air- And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory- And finding it Home!”
It’s hard to find the words to express what it feels like to sit with someone who is dying. During the days of May 25th-June 2nd my Aunt’s family tried to have someone with Aunt Marge around the clock. We all took turns spending time with her, sitting with her, just being with her.
It was an odd feeling. We were not sitting with her helping her fight for her life. We were not holding her hand and hoping that she would recover and go on living. We didn’t have the hope that she would get better. Instead, we were sitting by her bedside knowing that the end was drawing near. How do we sit by the side of a loved one that has no hope to get better. No hope to pull through. No hope to improve. No Hope for this life. But Hope. HOPE. Miraculous Hope. Hope in Salvation. Hope in Eternity. Hope in a new Home. Hope in a new life. Hope in Jesus Christ. Hope that “one day in His courts is better than thousand’s elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10). Hope that “precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of one of his saints”(Psalm 116:15). Hope that “He prepares a place for us and when it is ready He will call us home,” (John 14) And although we mourned this last week and will mourn in the weeks to come, we mourn with hope!
When I think back to the last several days with Aunt Marge and wonder how her husband, her daughter, her sister, and brother-in-law, her nieces and nephews were able to endure her approaching death, I will remember that it was because of our hope and faith in Jesus Christ and eternity. When we took our turns to be with Marge, she was unable to communicate, so we simply held her hand, told her we loved her, prayed for her, cried for her, read scripture to her, played hymns for her. We sat in the presence of our Savior, her Savior. Sometimes, we wondered why He wasn’t calling her home when, to us, it looked obvious that she needed to go. Doctors and nurses would tell us what they thought, maybe days, maybe hours, 72 hours, 48 hours, maybe weeks. And we would wonder. And we would tell her “to go home.” But then, we would realize no one knows! Only God. And her life is in His hands, and only when each and every detail is in place and her job on earth is done He would take her home. And while her job on earth ended last night and God called her home, her testimony, her hope, her faith, her love for Jesus Christ will go on. Her legacy of faith will continue to reach generation after generation.
This week, I had the privilege of seeing a living example of 1 Corinthians 13:13, “now faith, hope, and love remain – these three things.” Our faith in Jesus, our hope in eternity, and our love in Jesus Christ and for our family. These things remain.