The Time of Death

It’s about time. That phrase has come to our lips more frequently in the last few days than we could ever have imagined. Mom is dying, and as of this writing, my sister and I have accounted for more than 175 combined hours during the past week keeping vigil by her bedside. Mom lost consciousness completely three days ago, and we (along with the entire family) have said “goodbye” in as many ways as we know how. All that is left to do is wait … remind her of our love and how well she did as a mom … and then wait some more. All the while silently whispering, “It’s about time.”

To the outsider, it looks like we are wasting time. We are sitting and reading and talking and writing and moving to the bedside from time to time to see if mom hurts and then remind her once again that she is loved. Sometimes we sit in silence; at other times, we nap. It is time wasted to those who don’t understand, but it is what it means to live in God’s time … especially when the waiting happens in the context of love and faith. It’s about time.

Last week, my personal coach, Don Eisenhauer, was here to lead a training on Coaching at End of Life at Wellspring, and it was then that mom first became unresponsive (no, the irony doesn’t escape me). It was during that training that he reminded me what a privilege it is to walk with the dying to the doorway of eternity. It’s an even greater privilege when it is my own mom. And all that is needed is presence … the gift of time spent keeping vigil … spending our time … wasting our time on the sacred. It’s about time.

Of all the gifts with which I have been blessed, there is perhaps none greater than the gift of time. Yet we are not always good stewards of our time. Stop and think about the time we have spent with our families in contrast with the time we have spent with our faces stuck in a screen (and I number among the guilty on that charge) … the time spent holding the hands of those who suffer in contrast with the time we spend gratifying our own desires … the time spent mentoring a child in need in contrast with time spent being “busy” doing “more important things” … or perhaps most significantly, time spent alone with God in contrast to the time we spend chasing after things that might bring momentary joy, yet which have little to do with the eternal. Time is the greatest gift God has given us. When we don’t know what else to give each other, let us not overlook the greatest gift … the gift of our time. It’s about time.

I am blessed by a church family, a tremendous staff and a host of friends who understand the value of my time and that, right now, my time is best used to keep watch … to sit and wait for the inevitability of death. In due time, we will have glimpsed beyond the door of eternity where everything is measured only in God’s time. And then I will have learned once more … it’s about time.

4 thoughts on “The Time of Death

  1. Jeff, I am so sorry! As you know, I’ve been through this. You never get over the loss of your Mom. You owe your Mom the time just as she unselfishly gave to you during your childhood. My prayers are with you & your family.

  2. So sorry Jeff, one of the hardest thing to do is lose your Mom, we know as parents ourselves how much time our Mom gave to us, so glad you got to spend her finial time with her! Love you

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