Death – A dreaded topic

I lost a dear friend in early January this year. As a result, I decided to write about this topic, even though I am still grieving.

Death is a part of life. It can appear frightening, but we don’t need to be scared of it. We have to make peace with the concept of death, as it is something that we all will face. That doesn’t mean that we will necessarily become comfortable with it, but it means that we let ourselves feel our discomfort, fear or whatever we are feeling and ponder the mystery. Our culture avoids talking about death, however, the thought of death can be more frightening when we don’t talk about it.

People who work with the dying, such as doctors and nurses, are often peaceful people because they don’t flee from facing the reality of the end of life. It is very moving to be with a dear one at the end of their life; sometimes consciousness is lost and all we see is the cessation of breathing, stillness and peace.

The first time I was faced with seeing someone take his last breath I was a student nurse. I ran off the ward. I was petrified. However, I was brought back and counselled by the ward sister, and here I am now retired after many years as a devoted nurse.

When I was working in a London hospital, a terminally ill patient asked me what I thought about death. It was a sudden unexpected question, the first like it in my professional career. I calmly replied, “It is the price we all have to pay for life”. He then asked, “Are you scared of death?” I answered, “Not at all, since it could come at anytime we have to be prepared, not fear, for when God calls we have to answer. There’s no other solution.”

In the Bible we’re told to expect 70 years of life (Psalm 90:10). We must thank God for this kindness. Celebrating a 70th birthday is always great. Anything more is often called ‘borrowed time’. In every case, people are one day alive and the next gone, leaving his or her legacy for remembrance.

May God help us to live fully, without fear. We shall experience everlasting life in Jesus. Great will the day be when, with singing, we are received back to God, our Heavenly Father, where we belong. There will be no tears or suffering and we will be at peace. Death is the only way out to Heaven.

Our God is a God of abundant love. In Romans 8:38-39 we read that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come will ever separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Faith is believing that God is present when all we hear is silence. The joy of going into eternity is our reward, where happiness will never end.

May God give us courage to bear what happens on our last day and to depart with smiles and dignity. God will never desert us.

Gladys Ikeme (Child of God)