If we believe that we came from God and will return to him one day, why are we afraid to be alone as we near death?
"Please Don't Leave Me Alone."
A person who is terminally ill and preparing to die often speaks these words. One of the greatest fears people have as they are dying is being abandoned and alone when their journey is ending.
Hospice nurses have long known that this fear far exceeds the fear of loss, pain or even death itself. I have often asked myself why this is true. If we believe that we came from God and will return to him one day, why are we afraid to be alone as we are dying?
Who have we understood God to be during our lifetimes? Where did we see him? Who did we recognize him in? It has been my experience that those who have encountered him in very tender, compassionate and personal ways are less afraid to be alone as they journey back to him. Those who have seen him in the goodness and kindness of others know him well. Those who have spent a great deal of intimate time with him, confessing their shortcomings and failures to him, know his compassionate and forgiving heart, so they are not alone as they die; he is with them.
In Magnificat magazine, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is quoted prayerfully asking Jesus, “Say for me in the hour of my death, Father forgive, and to your Mother, behold your child, and say to me yourself, this day you will be with me in paradise. O my Savior, leave me not, forsake me not, I thirst for you ... my days pass quickly and soon all will be over for me—into your hands I commend my spirit.” We cannot speak so intimately and dependently with Jesus at the hour of our death unless we have spent time with him and become friends with him while we are living. It is wonderful to die in the company of a friend, especially this friend.