The best way to die for me would be….
1) Surrounded by love: Whether that’s physical presence or just the knowledge that I am loved by God and others and have loved in return. I would hate to no longer have enough of my faculties to realize that.
2) With Knowledge of When It Was Going to Happen: Tuesdays with Morrie has led me to believe that knowing that death is imminent is in fact, somewhat comforting. Morrie was able to have a funeral while he was alive and hear the thoughts and the things that others would have liked to say to him. He was able to say good bye to good friends, students and others who meant much to him and he was able to spend his last days at home with his wife. Sounds pretty good to me.
3) With Hospice Workers: These people are saints! I’ve come to that conclusion. They help people die and they do it with grace and care for the other. They bring a joy to death that was previously unimaginable. If I had a long drawn out illness, I’d be sure that these folks helped me along the path.
4) Without regrets: What I probably fear most is leaving this life with someone angry with me or me with someone and that left unresolved, or at the very least unspoken. A friend asked me once if he should visit a woman who was dying who asked to see him that he had a major dispute with when they were dating. He wasn’t sure if he even wanted to “give her the satisfaction” of being forgiven by him. I said it’s not whether or not you choose to forgive her, it’s giving her the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. In the end he was glad he went to see her and he realized that he didn’t have to offer her forgiveness if he wasn’t able to yet, that could come on his time. She just wanted to be sure that she offered amends for her faults. I get that.
The best way to die? With abandon to God. A full surrender of this life to the Lord seems to be the mark I’d like to hit. The truth is that we all are dying a bit more each day. Some of us will complete that journey a bit faster than others, but regardless, death’s call will come for us all eventually. Can we, as Francis says, welcome Sister or Brother Death when they call for us? In dying well, we also live more passionately, more lovingly, with great forgiveness and compassion for others and most importantly, we exhaust all the marrow out of our bones, living life to the fullest by dying to this life with all that we are.
Today, may we die just a bit more, because we have lived with all that we are. Amen.