One of the aspects of life I encounter on a regular basis at the hospital is death. I’ve witnessed people passing from this life to the next beautifully surrounded by generations of their loved ones. And I’ve seen tragic deaths where individuals were surround only by a medical team and a prayer from the chaplain. The one thing that always disturbed me about my mother’s passing was that none of the family was there with her. She had a headache, went to the hospital and before I could be contacted, she died. I felt she died alone.
So this week I unpacked some of this with my Clinical Pastoral Education supervisor. He asked me if I believed in the witnesses that have gone ahead of us. And I said, “Yes.” He replied, “I believe in hospitality and I think the cloud of witnesses that precede us in death are welcoming us into the new life. Ushering us in as it were.” I said I believed the same.
I had a similar conversation with a dear friend and stated that I wondered if I would die alone. She said, “ Toni, the room will be filled with generations of people who have gone before you. Not to mention the friends you have known who have passed on. And only you will be able to see them.” I thought she is absolutely RIGHT! There is no way I will be alone when I die. My room will be jam packed with people welcoming me and loving me into the kingdom of God. And there is no way my mother died alone. She was welcomed into the next life by her mother, Velma; father, Fred; my father, Danny and a cloud of witnesses.
Wow! There’s a part of me that can’t wait for the reunion.