The Last Goodbye
The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle
warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, and yet it echoes
on in sweet refrains…..
For every joy that passes,
something beautiful remains.
My Aunt Willene is 100 years old. She has lived a full and meaningful life. She has been a Christian of strong faith for as long as I can remember, and she has always been one of the sweetest people I know. What I remember most about her through the years is her amazing sense of humor and the joy that always bellowed out in laughter. She was a happy person in spite of hardships and loss.
My dad said it best: ” She always made each person feel special.”
A few days ago, I went to say my last goodbye to Aunt Willene. She was in a hospital room with her children nearby, and she was suffering. She had been diagnosed with a calcification in part of her GI system that was causing a blockage. If she ate food, it had nowhere to go and she had been experiencing pain she said was worse than childbirth. As I spoke to her, she told me she tried to eat a regular diet that day after the doctor had limited her to liquids the past few days. She was regretting it because she was becoming very nauseated. There was no laughter to share with Aunt Willene on that day, but in spite of her suffering, she made eye contact with me, reminisced about old times and smiled. Even in her suffering, she made me feel valued and she made me feel loved.
Today, my Aunt Willene is in a Nursing Home so that she can get hospice services and family remarks that she is getting very weak. They urge all who wish to see her to go soon. I told my Dad that I will hold on to the memories of my recent visit. I am content with my last goodbye. Truth is, I don’t want to see her in any more pain or weakness than I already have.
I don’t understand why someone as sweet and kind-hearted as Aunt Willene should have to suffer in her final days. What I do understand, however, is that God’s character is a character of love and goodness. He loves her even more than I. It is not my place to question what God purposes in her life….that is between Aunt Willene and God. I am sure that no matter what this hard, cruel life may cause her to experience, it doesn’t change her love for Him or her faith. This world is not heaven…..but heaven surely awaits.
And God Promises: A day will come when there will be no more suffering, no more pain, no more heartache, and no more tears.
Goodbye Sweet Aunt Willene. My prayer for you is that you will feel the comfort only God can provide as you face your final days and cross over to that place of no more suffering or pain. Your faith in the face of death inspires me and I have the life you lived so fully as an example of how to go on with this business of living on Earth.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Revelation 21:4