In many instances, people avoid the hospital or home once they learn that someone is on his or her deathbed, and they may go to great lengths to avoid a conversation or encounter with the dying person. Others develop assumptions that the terminally ill change and no longer need or want the relationships they have enjoyed all their lives. While it is true that death takes us to a different place, in our final lap around the track, everyone still needs warmth and caring. My intention is to offer you assurance that you extended hand will still be deeply appreciated by those preparing to leave this world.
Many, many people are unsure of how to talk with a person standing on the threshold of death. The thought of having a conversation with someone who has one foot over the line can feel foreboding or threatening. Consequently, people pretend that the person will not die or try to ignore the situation altogether. They look the other way and the dying pay the price of loneliness. I believe that we can change that picture. By the time you’ve finished this book, I hope you’ll no longer have such feelings. You’ll discover that we can easily talk to the dying and discover their feelings and perceptions.
Our job is to learn how to ask the right questions that will allow the dying to share their inner experiences. You might be surprised to discover what a person will tell you about how it feels to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I will explore how to appropriately ask those questions.
In order to find the courage to explore these issues, we must be able to think about our own deaths constructively and become comfortable with the idea of our own death. I hope that by the time you finish this book, you will have made peace with the fact of your own demise.
Most of all, I want to offer you a promise that has motivated Christians for centuries. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the Church has always proclaimed victory over death. This promise shows us that we do not have to be afraid. Each of us should not only be comfortable with our own demise, but we should also eagerly await this coming transition. Does this sound strange? It shouldn’t. The apostles wrote large chunks of the New Testament to explain how this promise can be ours. Their clues can help you find peace in this subject.
My hope is that this book will help you accomplish that purpose once and for all.