So the fact is … time seems to be freely moving along at a rapid rate … a busy time … several deaths in 2016 and 2017 that seem to show me how life just seems to slip away … so quickly …
It’s not the fact that I failed to visit the dying, before their life slipped away, but how so many are leaving us in this passage of 2 years. I lament and miss the old days, when their health was good and they attended church or you saw them in the grocery store. So there have been some good old-timers, who lead the way, braved the changes of life, changes in the city, the church, the environment.
So now it’s a time of awareness: regrets that I didn’t get to say goodbye. But that I had wished them well on their journey toward God. That I hoped for their freedom from pain, illness, regrets, and for God’s grace on their souls. It was a time to see them in their transition, as they are turning away from us and toward a new way of being.
I have heard many a spouse say “he wouldn’t talk to me, but when he had visitors he rallied and made a few jokes. They all laughed like old times. Things fell silent after they were gone … He was picking at his sheet binding and had out-stretched hands at times. He even seemed to be carrying on a conversation with others, who I could not see.”
I then heard her lament, “Was he mad at me? Was he ignoring me?, Why didn’t he want to talk … to me? I felt so useless, I wanted to be of help, but he didn’t seem to need me anymore.” And he was not gone yet.
The conversation about who would die first had not happened, they had wills, but they never assumed one would die before the other, or who would be filling out forms that required them to select their new status of “widow”. How would all that be for either one of them? Ouch! a sudden awakening to this new role. Yes, it could be very painful.
There is a sadness that comes over me about that limited time to say goodbye, and how it might be received. When are we, ever, really ready to say goodbye to someone we have known well, for years and for others not so long or so well. We will be best to offer how they had given us a piece of “the puzzle of life” or some guidance on this soul journey, or just a simple thanks for all the guidance you have given me. Small gestures, simple words, heartfelt thanks. They each deserve to hear that simple thank you for helping me feel God’s love, or for making life more full, more blessed and for just being kind.
Heartfelt goodbyes are in order for Janet, Karen, Pete, Warren, Morris, Cathy, Joe, Bill, and Ken. You each have had a special part to play in my life. You were kind, gentle, loving, wise, inspiring, talented, spiritually mature, and full of life’s wisdom. May your souls and those of all the departed be at rest and peace through God’s love.