Prayers for Death
Several years before all of this happened, I was on a trip with a good friend, Lori. Her mother was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. During our vacation her brother called several times, Lori’s mom was in the hospital, going downhill. Lori debated on flying home, but we ultimately finished our trip.
“I pray my mom will die,” she revealed.
Secretly I was horrified – who would pray their parent would die? Is not life and death in the hands of God?
A portion of Job 1:21 is often quoted in this context:
“He said … the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I was naïve.
Fast forward a number of years. I learned death for a Christian is merciful. For much of fourteen months I prayed God would take my Dad home to heaven.
Cold and Dark
Minnesota mid-winter is dark and cold. There was no joy over the holidays in late-2011.
The family spent Christmas at the nursing home. Was there much left behind those clouded gray eyes?
About half-way through the afternoon Dad choked on his food, and the nurse came and put him to bed.
Did he know us?
We believe he knew us until the end. There was a smidgen of recognition when we kissed him on the cheek. We skyped with Linda, and tears seeped out of his eyes.
In early 2012 he was put on hospice care right there in the nursing home.
Hospice care is awesome. This hospice program was through the local healthcare system treating him. He could get showers several times a week, instead of just weekly. (Of course showers were probably not all that wonderful at this point in his life.) Volunteer musicians and chaplains would visit. The only trouble with hospice care is it ends.
The phone calls from the nursing home staff came more frequently. During that cold January family member trekked in and out of the nursing home.
At a care conference in mid-January they said he could have another month or two to live.
But only God knows when the end will come.