I have had the honor of sitting vigil with dying people. And I have prayed through the coming of the death rattle. It can be painful to witness, especially for those witnessing death for the first time. Sometimes the person can hang on, seemingly fighting the inevitable final step of their transition into death.
In those times, I have encouraged families to share affirming words with their loved one, to tell them that it’s ok for them to go, that they are going to miss them, but that they will be ok.
I have listened as wives tell husbands thank you for all the years, for all the love, for the life they have lived together. I have been there with parents forcing themselves to say the excruciating goodbye to a child passing too soon, so the child won’t have to suffer anymore—telling them it is ok to rest, it’s ok to stop fighting. And I have listened as adult children find the courage to release the parent who has so deeply formed them. “I love you, dad. You have taken good care of me. Thank you for loving me. It’s ok for you to go now.”
It is a sacred passage. These are Holy moments.
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