Thursday, March 24, 2005

Holding the hand of a dying man

I had an interesting experience this past week. My grandfather had been ill since Christmas, was hospitalized the beginning of March, and was laid to rest today. Last Friday I got a call from my mother, saying I should go home so I could see him.

I spent the weekend in the hospital. More for my grandmother's comfort than that of my grandfather. He was barely awake, let alone conscious, but still I sat with him, held his hand, spoke softly too him.

It's an interesting experience, being with someone who is dying. I don't know how to describe it really. Sad, but not tragic, not horrible. As a pastor it will be something I'm sure I'll encounter again.

However, I was not there as a pastor, I was there as a granddaughter.

Life is an interesting thing. We live it, we enjoy it, we waste it, but in the end only one thing matters. My grandfather was a wonderful man. He was a unique person. . But of all his deeds, all his accomplishments, one stands out. A few days before his death, he asked my grandmother if God would forgive an old sinner like him.

It amazes me, astounds me and blesses me that God would take a person at the end of his life and still accept him. I know my grandfather, he had no intention of "cheating" God, of making a commitment at the last moment. No, as he looked back over the life that he lived, the life that all who know him enjoy talking about, he knew there was something wrong, something that needed to be fixed.

and he fixed it.

So as I held the hand of this dying man, I felt peace and comfort, I sang praises to God. His life continues now in paradise, he is at rest.

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