The call was unexpected: Linda (name changed), a sweet lady from our home church an hour away. We hadn’t talked to her in years. She had gotten some grave news about her health and needed to talk. It wasn’t an emergency, but she didn’t know how much time she had.
My beloved made plans to make the trip the next day.
He and I reminisced on the way over. In the 1980s we sat in the pew behind Linda and her husband at church. A classy lady and always in style, she was faithful and kind. We’d loved her for years.
She called for us to come in when we reached the front door. There she sat on the couch as beautiful as ever. Her eyes were bright; her hair was a radiant white. She strained to get up for hugs. My beloved let her know that we had been fully vaccinated. She didn’t care.
We caught up for a bit, laughing about the past, then got down to business.
Our sweet friend, who is 92, had received several serious diagnoses. On their own, each one would have been severe, but together, they would be deadly. And there was nothing they could do. She announced the news to us without hesitation or sadness.
It was time to plan her final arrangements.
Let’s be honest. Death is a part of life, and we all must face it at some point — unless we go in the rapture. Talking about death does not bring it about. It’s already coming! Yet often people and families do not want to speak of it.
Such was the case with our elderly friend. Her family did not want to discuss any arrangements of any kind, so she wanted to get it taken care of herself. I suggested that her family didn’t want to think of a world without her in it. Living in denial seems like a safe place.
I took notes on my phone to keep for the future and to share with the family when the time comes. Linda named each detail without wavering: who would do the service, the singing and songs, pallbearers, burial and graveside services. All this may sound somber or morose, but it was a wonderful visit! She has total peace that she will soon be with Jesus. This was just some business she needed to get done before that day.
We all need a plan for when we die. First, of course, let’s make sure we have made peace with God. The last breath here ushers us into eternity! After that, it’s good to make at least a few notes or write a letter about last wishes. Have a Living Will. Have the conversation with your family about being on life support or not. Do you wish to be cremated or have a burial? Let someone dependable know about life insurance, etc.
When there is no advance plan, family is left to try to figure out what you wanted. They will gather around, guessing at the best answers to all of the questions. If you have everything written down, it will help them know for sure.
We spent precious moments with our very sick friend. My beloved prayed for her, and we said goodbye, knowing the next time we see her will be in heaven.