Sunday, November 15, 2015
by Stephie Goldfish, aka Stephie Bigheart
I often have these visions of my last days.
My last therapist or someone angelic and strong like her would be there through it all with me until my last breath. I often think about what it would take for someone to do this, be there through to the end, and a lot of my preconceived ideas seem a little selfish and delusional.
On my way to help my mother who is very ill and needs someone now to help her and be with her around the clock, I heard the words that Jesus spoke to his followers and apostles who had left their families and work to follow him:
Let the dead bury the dead.
It was odd, and it would seem an odd thing to say if your loved one was dying or near death.
I knew it couldn't mean that Jesus was uncaring or unkind.
Jesus also said, Come with me, I have living waters. And in truth, both statements he spoke are in a spiritual sense, to the spiritual dead and spiritual living.
But I think only someone familiar with suffering and sickness would understand about death and someone dying.
Like the women who were there at Jesus' death, they knew suffering and dying. Yet, they had also been the givers of life to their children. They would be very aware that life is sacred and precious, having born children into the world.
And they would know that being there at someone's death is not much different.
While at the hospital, with our mom, a social worker was there to help figure out how best to help our mom, if and when she is able to go home. My sister and I mentioned to her that our mom has missed being around her grandchildren and seeing them grow up. And we said we wished they would visit her more often. The social worker mentioned that while she was caring for her mother she did not have her two nephews help in any way, and she wouldn't recommend having mom's grandchildren care for her. I think she misunderstood, we didn't say that they should be her sole caretakers. But maybe come visit their grandmother once or twice a year.
But I see her point.
I know that I am dying, yet, still living. I have been near death's door many times. I have witnessed so much tragedy.
It seems my sister and I have seen so much death while we were younger. We weren't as protected. Our first funeral was at the formative years of two or three years of age. I think by the time we were five years old we had been to at least three or four funerals: Our uncle Benny (our aunt Dorothy's husband), our step-father's father, and our uncle Harold. Our two-year-old nephew died in the year we were in 6th grade. And our uncle's wife, Lina, died while we were in 7th grade, and so on.
So it seems we have only known death. We weren't around very many births, except when our first niece was born.
As it takes a strong person to assist in birthing one to life, it will take a strong person to assist the dying.
It takes one who knows life to assist the living.
It takes one who knows death to assist the dying.
It takes love, either way, but in a different capacity.
It takes strong hearts to assist the weak. It takes knowing their strengths, and your own.
It takes someone who wants to be there, and knows the way to where you're going.
Those who know the way will guide the dying, because they know they are not too far from behind death themselves.