Surrounded by Death

The presence of death is everywhere. King David said it this way in the 23rd Psalm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” Meaning there is no place on earth where we can go to escape it. For the time being we live in the shadow of death. The best we can hope for when death comes to us is that it comes suddenly and without pain. But we have no assurance of that happening, so it is best if we die having made peace with our maker and die with as much dignity as we can muster at that time.

I have a pet named Sara Jane who has been with me for the past fifteen years and she is dying. I watch her and I understand that she is not afraid. Her strength is slowing leaving her body, she can hardly walk, but she is ever aware of when I am present. When I am in the room and she is not sleeping her eyes follow my every move. I see the love she has for me and the comfort it brings to her knowing I am present and she is not alone during this time.

People have asked me, “Why don’t you put her to sleep?” I do not believe she would take my breath away if I were in her stead. I believe she would be right there beside me letting me know how much she loves me and bringing what comfort she could to a dying man. Knowing we are not facing death alone is the single most important thing to the dying. But, so many people die alone. Why? Do we not love them? Do we not think they need the comfort we can give them during this time? I believe people have been so hardened to death by television, movies, and video games, that we think death is no big deal. But each of us will learn one day how big a deal it is when we ourselves are lying at deaths door and no one is there to comfort us as we leave this earth for eternity. The scriptures tell us, “There will be someone on the other side of deaths door to receive us and escort us to our eternal home.” If someone is there to receive us into eternity, don’t you think there should be someone with us when we leave this life? I do.

I have worked in the death industry for many years, but I can not get used to it. I don’t know how anyone can unless they only see a profit in the death of another and not an opportunity to help those who are or have experienced such an event. I have lost many family members and have buried many friends, but still I can’t get used to it. I know I will see many of them in eternity, but I still find it hard to give them up in this life. You know what I mean? We are social creatures who need relationships to function normally in this life and a little bit of us leaves us with the death of a family member or friend. That I cannot get used to. I have buried good people, mean people, young people, and old people, but I have yet to see a death, and it doesn’t matter what kind of person they were, where there was not someone present who was grieving their loss.

I have removed deceased people from nursing homes, hospitals and their home. Sometimes there were people present who sat with them when they took their last breath, and sometimes there wasn’t, and it never fails to make me sad when no one is or was present with them when they drew their last breath. To me, it just seems wrong, but to many people it doesn’t seem to make any difference. DThrash

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