Yesterday a friend wrote that someone she knows is very close to death. Trying to encourage her, I shared something that happened in the 1980's when my brother had had a serious car accident. He lay in a hospital bed in Florida, with a spider fracture in his skull. The doctors didn't know which way it would go, but it didn't sound good. My parents were grieving...and as I drove to their home, I found myself saying aloud, "Lord, my brother is dying." Immediately I heard a still, small voice which said, "Grieve not what needs not to be grieved at this time." And, I suddenly felt the peace of knowing that as long as there was breath, there was life. By the time my parents arrived from NY, Tom was sitting up in bed and recognized them, and though he couldn't yet speak, he was on his way to a full recovery!
Yesterday afternoon I understood the grief that my friend was feeling, as I received news that an email friend of mine is on his last journey toward Heaven. He's an old gentleman that I 'met' as we shared information of our ancestors who lived and worked in the same place at the same time. Jimmy has been fighting for years...two bouts of cancer in which he was victor, and then kidney problems which put him on dialysis. Now, he's in a deep sleep and he's going Home. But Jimmy's faith has carried him through his life and it will lead him on. He's a strong man, with a wonderful sense of humor and he's been a terrific encouragement to me. I will miss him much. Right now I feel that grief that my friend spoke of yesterday, and I feel somewhat as if I might not have recognized her emotions enough when I tried to encourage her with my words about my brother. Today I will contact her and apologize for that.
As I write about these friends, I realize how blessed I am to have them and all the other people I know and love. Each of them has brought something special into my life, just by their being there. Some have brought laughter, some lessons and examples, some wisdom and encouragement, but whatever they have offered, it's all been a gift of their love. I've been truly blessed to have them.