I'm Only Dying !

I watched the lines on Roberta’s face relax for the last time tonight. Finally, her body could no longer fight the onslaught of cancer. I am grateful that she is no longer in pain.

I met Roberta about 12 years ago. She was already ‘old,’ but she had such a beautiful radiant face and her personality automatically drew people to her. Roberta was a nurturer. And she embraced everyone with her warmth.

She taught me a wonderful lesson that I needed to experience. And I needed it then, at that very moment.

For the past ten days I had been visiting Roberta in Hospice. She had some days that were good and sometimes there were very few words. Together we sat, sometimes sharing stories, other times reflecting. She liked for me to read Garrison Keillor to her. I don’t think she knew it, but so many times I put the book down, but kept on telling the story, as if it were my own, and I used the time to look at her; Those well-travelled lines on her face that bore so many stories.

But last week, Roberta caught me staring at her. I know that if I say to you priests, counsellors, and sometimes doctors, often develop what I call the ‘pastoral face;’ I’m sure you know the one – a mixture of smile and nurturing concern at the same time. My daughter calls it ‘preacher face.’ Well, when Roberta caught me staring at her so intently, she immediately scrunched up her face and demanded ‘why are you staring at me that way?!’ Instantaneously, on went my ‘preacher face.’

‘Stop that!’ Roberta almost snapped, ‘for Heaven’s sake Bill, I’m only dying!’
There it was: a more powerful message I doubt I could have received at such a moment. Roberta looked at me and smiled. And I smiled back. She was right. I held her hand and she tried to squeeze it, but was too weak.

I left her that day knowing in my heart that God had created that moment for me. For I had thought during my drive over to see her how sad I was going to be when she died.

And of course tonight I cried at losing her. But I smiled at the same time, because I know that God has received her. And her new journey now begins.

Loving Lord, Your Son redeemed us through death and resurrection. Let us live our lives with grace and kindness in the knowledge that we shall share the joys and blessings of our new life to come. Amen

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At 01:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was trying to find some comforting words for someone dieing or some prayers to say. I'm glad I found your blog. I wish I had the confidence of your friend. Its frightening not knowing what happens when we die. Nice story though.

At 19:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your blog through your prayer! This is a lovely story and so true. Its sad that so many people refuse to believe there is life after death.

At 02:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was so beautiful! If only I had that kind of faith!

At 07:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to find some comforting words to say to someone who is dying. I think this story is lovely. I've read some of your other storys in your other blogs. I hope others find the peace I have. Peace to you. Arlena

At 20:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bible tells us that we must first die to receive our new life in Jesus Christ. Thats what Roberta wanted you to know. And Im sure you did. This is a lovely story many should read. When we are in His light we will receive new life in eternity. Praise Jesus!


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