Tuesday, 3 January 2012

End of life

I heard yesterday that a lovely member of our congregation (one of the few who remembers the church being built) has died. She was very ill and lost her husband last year. She was at peace and had been ready to go for a while. And yet I feel an inescapable sadness over her passing.
I have been taking her Communion over the past few months, and the whole experience has made me think about palliative care and the end of life. The local hospice has been amazing- the care package when she went home less so. And yet, while she told me she prayed  for God to take her in her sleep; and it was difficult for everyone to see her when she was unwell, I can't help feeling that the last few months were precious. It won't be like that for everyone, but should death be easy? Birth can be difficult. Birth and death both remind us how amazing life is.  While I ponder the bigger ethical questions of life and death and dying, to which I don't think there are any easy answers, this family taught me a good deal about love, hope, grace and service and we had a few laughs along the way.

I hope to be involved in her funeral and to do justice to this lady and her lively faith. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

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