Praying privately in churches, I began to discover that heaven was my true home and that it was here and now, woven into this life.
- Lionel Blue, rabbi, journalist and broadcaster
It is wonderful to speak with patients who are on their journey home to heaven, back to the God who created them. Some are very sure of who God is because they have spent a lifetime with him and they are unafraid. Others are searching for this mysterious God they have heard about but not known personally.
Some are not sure the lives they have lead are forgivable, and so this understanding of unconditional love, which God is all about, is hard for them to grasp. You hear these stories when you take the time to sit and listen, really listen.
A really wonderful and insightful hospice nurse I worked with told me about a certain patient of hers I had noticed as I walked around visiting patients and families. He would sit on the porch of the hospice center every day, just within view of my friend. He remained on that particular porch for as many hours of the day and night as he could. He did not want to be in bed at all if he could help it. He felt that if he stayed in bed, he would die, and if he was elsewhere, that might not happen. Many times he fell asleep on the porch, tilting off to one side of the chair with my friend never taking her eyes off of him. She would encourage him to go back to his room and sleep but that was not to happen and she knew he had his reasons.
Then one day, while she was watching him, he raised his hands to heaven and started speaking rapidly with an unseen person. He seemed lost in conversation, and she left him to this new and apparently happy experience, watching him all the while. When it appeared to be over and his hands came down, she knew it was time.
She asked if he was now ready to go to his room and rest in his own bed. He agreed. This was a very seasoned and spiritual nurse who understood well that dying is a physical, emotional and spiritual experience and timing is everything.
As soon as she saw him reaching up, she knew God had allowed her patient to experience someone or something so special that he was no longer afraid to let go. She helped him to his bed, and he never got up again. He died very peacefully that night.