Tuesday, November 8, 2016

                                                                   Love and Death

Each November our Gospels treat the issue of death as faithful Christians face it.  So ends our Liturgical Year with Advent on the horizon.

Here is a story about a death that touched me deeply. Barb had irreversible heart problems. She was on life support. The doctors could do nothing. She didn’t want to prolong ‘extraordinary means’ to live, so she opted to stop the treatments.*   

Barb wanted her husband, children, their spouses and me to be with her at the end. She told each of us what she loved about us and gave each of us a little advice. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

When it was my turn, she thanked me for my friendship and for being a good priest. Then she made me promise to have dinner with her husband later that month…a date we’d set much earlier, when we thought she’d be OK.  And then she insisted that I not change my plans for a vacation with my sister during the week of her funeral.     

How could she think about those things when she was only minutes away from dying? 

I/We were dumbstruck. Her focus was not on her death but on loving us. Jesus did that too. I hope I can die like that. What about you?  

*Barb was aware of the Church teaching on the discontinuation of ‘extraordinary means’ as described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph #2278.

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