Dying Slowly

by Shirlee Vandegrift

The other day I was walking past the turned on television and heard an elderly man being interviewed about his impending death.  He had been sick for a long time and knew he didn’t have a much longer stay on earth.  What stopped me in my tracks was his statement that he was glad that he was dying slowly.  A surprise of a remark, I thought.

So did the interviewer.

This man was well known in his rural community for his friendly nature, his desire to help others and to be a role model for young and old.  Every one knew and loved him.

When it was known that the man’s days were numbered people began to help him.  Not just people from his “neighborhood” but others from the surrounding territory, an amazing return on the man’s “investment.”  Nothing he ever looked for or planned on, just a wonderful well deserved outpouring of affection.

Why was he glad to die slowly?  He said it gave all those people time to show their feelings for him.

The man died before the TV piece was aired.  For a small town the funeral, overflowing with about 700 people in attendance (if you can imagine) was a tribute to a life led to serve.

Don’t you just see the hand of God everywhere in this story?

He gave the man love.

He gave the man a heart to serve.

He gave him people to serve.

He gave him friends and family.

He gave him appreciation.

He gave him trust.

He gave him time to be sick, a true blessing.

He didn’t give him a fear of dying.

He didn’t give him a questioning mind about the end date.

He walked closely with this man who acted like Him.

Thank you for the lessons learned, God.  Thank you for stopping me in my tracks when I heard the man say he was glad to die slowly.   Teach me.

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