The Final Surrender 

When death whispers to us, “It’s almost time,” what should we say to our grandchildren and great grandchildren? We could ignore it or deny it, however talking about death might be a life changing experience for them. Death is a topic that is very difficult to explain to the young. As always, it helps if we think ahead about what we will say, long before we hear that whisper.

When my mother was dying, her autonomic nervous system was hanging onto life by a thread. She slipped into a coma and for eleven days endured without food or water. It was a long and strong thread indeed!

It was only when she died, that she fell utterly and totally into the hands of God. When she could no longer do anything for herself, when she could no longer breathe and no longer keep her heart beating, she lost all power over what would become of her.  This was the final surrender of her life and it brought a marvelous beauty to her death.

For Christians, dying is a great act of faith. It is only then that we entrust our lives to God fully and absolutely. The act of dying is our witness that we can do nothing to save ourselves. Dying is when we fail at doing and fall into the arms of our Savior.

When faced with my own death, I would say to those close to me (including grandchildren): 

“Although this is a difficult time, I would like you to know that I trust God completely. Soon I may no longer be able to think or act at all, but that will mean my life is fully in the Lord’s hands in a way it never has been before. That will be a good and holy moment.”

For Reflection: Think about how you will express your faith to those close to you, including your grandchildren (and great grandchildren), when you are dying.

This article by Mike Shaughnessy is excerpted from Grandly and is adapted from his book, Eternity Bound: Reflections on the Grace of Aging, published in January 2024. Eternity Bound is available from Amazon here.

Top image credit: Hands raised in prayer, from, © doidam10, stock photo ID: 440550482. Used with permission.

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