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Thursday, 5 May 2011

the dying


So some of you will know I visit my 90+ year old grandmother regularly in her care home. I have posted before about how her ageing has affected me and yet how blessed I feel by seeing her each week. Over the last few weeks she has hugely gone down hill. Last week she didn't even recognise me, she thought I was a nurse (which in other circumstances would be quite funny...) Today she barely spoke. She is now confined to bed, unable to do anything for herself. I fed her lunch (which considering how ill she is, bizarrely she ate the biggest meal I have ever seen her eat!).

I am not surprised how ill she is or how quickly she has gone down hill. I am not upset that she is probably approaching death, I mean she is well over 90. Death would be a blessed release for her I am sure. And yet I could hardly contain my tears. I so long for her to be filled with the spirit, to really know Jesus. Over the last year we have had some amazing conversations about faith. She is so excited to know that I am  being called into ministry but I know that her faith is limited. Limited to the rules, to specific words, to prayers she was taught as a child. I long for her to experience God for herself. 

I have spent much time seeking God over her, I put together her own personal alpha course, tailored to her needs and her age! I have given her books, we have prayed, I have wept for her lack of conviction. (When I say 'we prayed' what usually happens is I start praying then when she thinks she'd had enough she just opens her eyes and says, 'thank you dear' and I am dismissed...! Quite disconcerting, I have learnt to speak quickly... At least today I could pray for ages without her saying anything...) And yet, still she is so far from Him. I am crying out for God to reveal Himself to her, even in her last days or weeks. I long for her to truly know Him and for all her suffering to have been worth it, to just see Jesus.

I want to be sure that she will be going to God's kingdom. I don't want to accept that this is it for her. I don't want to think about the alternative.I sat at her side today desperate to find the right words to pray, unsure of what I needed to say. what does one say to the dying or for the dying? I know this is not my responsiblity, it is Gods but I can't help but feel that I should be doing something more...

6 comments:

margaretkiaora said...

This is where your blog comes in-because we who pray and have read this will be adding our prayers to yours .

Perpetua said...

Red, I'm sorry that your grandmother is now so ill, and I just want to to say that I too will pray for you both. Try not to fret. I don't think it's for us to judge anyone's faith, just because it's not lived and expressed like our own. Only God can see into your grandmother's heart and he is her loving Father, just as he is yours.

God bless.

Phaedrus said...

When it comes to death, I like Epicurus's (341-270 B.C.E.) thoughts on the subject. I'm not sure how comforting I find this, but it's a neat argument. He said something along the lines of..

It is rightly irrational to fear an event happening to ourselves that we will not be present to experience. Death is an event. When our own death occurs, by definition, we are no longer present, and when we are present, the event of our death is not taking place. Therefore it is rightly irrational to fear death.

Phaedrus said...

*therefore it is rightly irrational to fear our "own" death.

My apologies. I think that's all you can derive from the argument. It seems perfectly rational to fear the death of others you care for I think.

Red said...

@perpertua &@margaret thanks for your prayers. she is brighter today although they have made it clear she is on the way out. But I think I'm ok with it all. God gave me a great picture at the weekend of her being minsitered to by angels which was amazing :)

Red said...

Hey Phaedrus
not come across Epicurus before but that makes sense. The old 'fear of the unknown', which is often what fear is - fear of what could or might happen. Even when we have no idea what that might be or might feel like. If one doesn't believe in any life after death then what is there to fear? Becuase you won't be able to feel it or experience it anyway! And if you do believe then again, why fear? becuase you're going to a better place. ooohh I feel a post coming on....