I remember when my mother passed away. She had gone through seventeen years of heart troubles starting when she was 62 years of age. After two quadruple bypasses and a triple bypass, I didn’t expect that kind of longevity. Yet somehow the Lord kept her around. After my father passed, when Mom was 72, she remarried a tough, old bird named George who was 82. Six years later, her cancer came. For a year she struggled against it with three more surgeries. Papa George was a good husband for Mom but there was a problem. He had lost his first wife to cancer.
George was sure he and Mom could beat it this time. I admired his devotion and strength in the face of that evil, once more in his life. However, he didn’t want any of the hints of defeat which had visited his family the first time around. He was unkind to efforts by visiting nurses and doctors as they represented the final stages of loss. When we suggested hospice, he rejected the idea. There finally came the day, well after he and Mom had fallen more than once in a heap on the floor. They were trying to help each other along. With all of us were together in one room, Mom was in pain and started crying. The visiting nurse asked Mom if she wanted to leave, and Mom said yes. Within an hour, she was in a critical-care facility.
I was grateful, but George was angry. Somehow, he felt that if they had just stayed in the house, all would have been well. Mom lasted six weeks and passed away at the critical-care facility with George, me, and their pastor at Mom’s side in the facility. It was not a pleasant experience for any of us, Mom included, as she chuffed out her last breaths. Then something happened. Within moments, a peace came over the three of us who were left in the room. Clearly, we knew Mom’s spirit was gone, though her lifeless body, still warm and beautiful, lay before us. In one second, she was off on the next leg of her spirit’s life to be with the Lord.
We cling to those we love. We don’t want them to leave us here on this hard planet when their presence made life easier. Missing them will be a part of our lives for whatever years we have left. It is said that it takes as many years to get over this separation as the relationship had originally lasted. I believe that is true. Oh, we think of them from time to time, but it is not an every hour remembrance as we plow through our daily lives in the decades ahead. There is nothing wrong with not dwelling on their memory as we grieve and heal years after their passing. It is what they would want for us.
Because, in that one second as they departed, they saw a world of grace, love, and truth which we could not comprehend as mere mortals. Only the spirit, both of our beloved departed ones, and ourselves when we experience it, could handle that kind of change. Oh what a day that will be , when we shed the cold reality of this world and are embraced by all that is heavenly! So, we should not cling to those who are ready for that transition. We owe them the joy of that one second.
Revelations 21: 3b-5 Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”