That Thing We Call Death

Dear Friends, I am out-of-town and away from my computer–attending my mother’s funeral. So tor today’s post, I looked deep into the archives, found this post from four and half years ago (and scheduled it to post today).

Casket Spray by Flower Factor CC BY-NC 2.0 Flickr
Casket Spray by Flower Factor CC BY-NC 2.0 Flickr

Death is a subject that keeps coming before me lately, like a red stop light demanding my attention. No, not my death, though heaven knows that is a topic I have come face to face with. No, my red light moments have been more about how I could use my experiences to help someone else who is struggling at the same stop.

Dying is really about living. It is about how you lived your life, about successes and unfortunately regrets, things you wish you would have done differently, things you wish you could have done.

Dying is about being remembered when you are gone. When your shadow  no longer falls, what will remain to mark that you were here? Who will remember you? What will they remember?

Dying is about fear: fear of the unknown, fear of the pain of those who are left behind, fear of things left undone. It is fear of how the end will come.

When we are given a chance to ponder death, before it comes to us, it can be a blessing, an awakening.

Dying is like a magnifying glass, in that it brings things into a sharp focus. It gives us clarity about what we really value and who we are and who we would like to be.

As I write this I realize that I don’t have any advice for those who are facing death. They know these things that I would share with them probably better than I do. My advice then is for the living.

In the past, I have found it awkward to speak to someone I know has a terminal illness. What could I say?  Now, I understand.

I would tell my loved one how much they mean to me. I would share memories of good times and bad. We would laugh and cry together. I would let them talk to me about their fears and regrets. I would reassure them that their success’ far out weigh any short comings. I would tell them how they have positively affected my life and that I will always remember them. I would reassure them that the family “left behind” will be alright.

I would share with them my testimony of Jesus Christ. For me the times that I felt closest to death were also the times that I felt closest to the Lord. And I miss that. I truly do. That gives me hope. Yes, death can also be about hope.

Mostly, I would hold their hand, laugh and cry and rejoice that because of Christ we know this life is not the end.


  1. Thank for saying how one might approach a friend who is approaching death. So very wise, a gift to me. I wish for you, peace and comfort as you face the death of your mother, hoping that for you, her parenting of you brings an ability to either feel gratitude, or to allow her human failings to find a place within that allows some comfort or peace
    for you.

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