Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Speaking of Death

Today's post centers on a topic that I dread dwelling on. Hovering anear this shadow leads me to places that take a right toll on my psyche. It can turn a bright air into a gloomy cloud and steal away a smile in an instant. It is about death. A process and an instant that we will, each of us, inevitably face one day. I have always hastened away from any whisper or prodding that makes me think about or face my own mortality, but recently I overheard a conversation that I just couldn't dismiss or wave away.

A lady at work had been struggling for more than a year helping to care for her ailing mother. She gave all that she could to support her and tend to her. Yet the long hours each day spent at her mother's bedside and tending to her mother's affairs, created an anxiety and a continual disturbance within her own family. She was absent both in body and in her thoughts. As days became weeks, weeks became months, and months became a year, her reserves of strength and cheer had been fully depleted.

It was at this point that her mother made the decision to let go. It was a decision not made in defeat or in weakness, but in victory and strength. Significant time and energy were spent in thought and prayer and coming to terms with all that this would bring to bear before giving it voice. This decision was the kernel of the conversation that I perchance had happened upon that planted this unnerving seed within me. Then within just a few short days after her doctors had ceased the treatments, she passed on. The end was announced with a small obituary posted on the bulletin board. Although I was not there and do not know anything about the circumstances, somehow I sense that this death was met with peace, acceptance, relief, love, and understanding on all fronts. Yet I can't help lingering on the brave decision that set this end in motion.