I’ve only seen three dead bodies in my life. The first was when I was 12 years old and my grandfather died at age 69. It was the first time I ever saw my father cry. At the funeral home, my sister was brave enough to reach out and touch my grandfather’s hand as it rested on his torso. Back in our seats, I asked her what his skin felt like. “Plastic,” she said.
Perhaps it's only when we let go of who and what our loved one was that we can receive who they are now.
Before her recent death with the assistance of a prescription of barbiturates, Brittany Maynard, who was terminally ill, made public her hopes that this would be a watershed moment for the movement to make choices such as hers legal in all of the U.S. I can understand some of the reasoning of that campaign, even if I don’t agree with it.
Psychologists describe a "middle knowledge" of the reality of death. How much of this knowledge is good for us?
It appears that my friend Steve Hayner doesn't have long to live. It is breathtaking to watch him prepare to die as he lived.
In the days after my grandmother died, my aunts introduced me to Iris DeMent's song “Let the Mystery Be." As is true for many people, from the early years of Christian faith, the loss of one dear to me sparked wonderings about what happens after death. I have fuzzy, 15-year-old memories of one of my aunts thinking aloud about the possibility of reincarnation, and older family members assuring us all that my grandmother was sitting at the feet of Jesus.
Erika Hayasaki, having reported on a succession of traumatic events, read about a popular university class on death. She decided to enroll.
Years of experience don’t ease the journey toward a family waiting in an ICU. We pastors feel terribly inadequate, and at the same time incredibly grateful that the vocation allows us into the most intimate situations.