I believe there are two sides to the phenomenon known as death,this side where we live, and the other side where we shall continue to live.
- Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
Several years ago, a wonderful French Canadian woman who had been my volunteer assistant for many years was dying. She and I had worked closely together in a hospice setting and she had heard the conversations I often had with the terminally ill and dying patients in my care.
One day she simply said to me, “Trudy, what will happen to me when I get closer to my time of dying?” We spoke about the naturalness of her coming to live with us at the hospice and of staying there until she went to heaven. We did not speak of it again, understanding that when the time was right, we would all know it.
When the time came she spent her days relaxing in the warmth and comfort of her friends, feeling safe and loved. She loved calling me on the intercom to see just how fast I could get to her bedside, in case she needed me. We enjoyed those days together filled with laughter, visits from old friends, her daily scotch and soda, and prayer.
She had never married and longed to see her parents and siblings again, and she was ready. The day before her death, she lapsed into French, the language of her youth. Taking my face into her hands, she smiled a beautiful smile and said, “Oh, ma mère, ma mère,” my mother, my mother. In one of those inexplicable ways that only God knows about, my friend was experiencing her mother through me and she was so excited and happy to see her.
How gracious God was to allow her this experience, which brought her great peace. How humbling for me that he used me to bless her in just this way.