Words of Hope: A beautiful death

Today is the anniversary of my Dad’s death. Our family is traveling together. Mom and Dad’s house, where he passed away, has been sold. I wanted to get out of town. As I draw near to his day of passing, I linger on the images of the time. The experience was transcendent. The space of those days singing to him, praying over him, and holding his hand plays out in my mind. My Mom refers to this as her husband’s beautiful death. I have experienced tremendous sorrow since his passing, but as he was dying, there was peace, courage, and hope. We cried with the sadness of saying goodbye, not with tears of desolation or fear. Watching Dad labor and then transition into peace was comforting; it was hopeful. 

Of all the experiences of my life, this experience had an eternal quality, an experience outside time, outside everyday worry and difficulties, a solely present time, everyone together and alive as we ushered Dad from this world into the next. One of our friends is a skeptic. He is devoted to numbers and science, and his life is devoid of love. He lives with his wife as a roommate, not a true friend. He analyses everything around him. He believes he understands enough of the world to say there is no life after death; there is no God. I wonder what he would have experienced encountering my Dad’s celebration of life? John Keats is a poet from the early 1800s who died young from tuberculosis. He wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases. It will never pass into nothingness.” I think of this line as I remember my Dad’s beautiful death. God’s presence, comfort, and joy were in the room with all of us. Something that can’t be measured like a work of art, something that changes, heals and inspires us—a thing of beauty.

“Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. – John 16:22.