Death’s Many Faces

When it comes to take us, death is never pretty and always unsettling. At least it should be.

Jessica Lunsford was just 9 when she died a horrific death in the hands a convicted pedophile just yards from where she lived with a loving father and loving grandparents. Terry Schaivo is ,even as I write this, being starved to death because her husband decided that was what she wanted and the courts agreed. 10 people in Minnesota are dead because Jeff Weise decided to kill them. In other places people are dying because someone else determined that somehow, death was profitable. It’s not just money, but influence, convenience, revenge, theology and worldview all come to play in death and how it is dealt from the hands of humans. We are cruel and inhuman to each other, and most horrible of all, we are cruelest to the weakest. There is an irresistable ecomony to eliminating the inconvenient and expensive amoung us, it is even better and easier it seems if they are unable to speak for themselves.

While death is always horrible, sometimes it’s just time. I’ve personally seen two women die, one the 92 year old grandmother of a friend and the other my 70 year old mother. My friend’s grandmother had been failing for a year, her lungs were continually filling with fluid, and she was ready to go home, she said so. She stopped breathing one day, her daughter called 911, the ambulance crew inserted a breathing tube and carried her to the ER. When we got there, it was clear she wasn’t coming back, and in fact had asked not to be resuscitated. So, after a little while, her daughter asked to have the respirator removed and we watched her die. It took 15 minutes, maybe 20, but not more. It wasn’t pretty, she struggled, her breathing became ragged, it slowed, and then she stopped breathing all together. We cried, her daughter and granddaughter most of all, but at the same time, it was peaceful after. She had lived a long and full life, and then she was done. My mother’s death was different, she had pancreas cancer and was in terrible pain until the end. Right at the end of her life awful things happened in her body, excruciating painful things. But the moment she drew her last breath, an amazing peace entered the room.

Death isn’t the way we were supposed to end. In fact, we weren’t supposed to end at all. We were supposed to live forever, enjoying God and enjoying the world he created for us for all eternity. Sin entered the picture and with it the consequences of sin, which is death. We will all die eventually, but how we die depends largely on the people around us. That isn’t just our families, but the people nearest to us, the ones with access. .

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