The transition from birth into life is filled with tears and pain and cries. It is a sacred and joyous time. The transition from life into death and whatever may be beyond it is an equally sacred time.
The mother of one of my dearest friends has had cancer for several years. My friend moved cross country three years ago to be with her mother, “until she no longer needs me.” Her children were blessed with holidays and special memories during a period of remission that made it possible for all of them to share as a family.
Her mother fell recently in her home, and her physical deterioration since then suggests that her time is now fast approaching. She distributed her jewelry to my friend and her sisters a few days ago. She is preparing for her death.
My friend is a woman of deep faith as well as theological understanding. She knows that her Savior will be there for her mother when the most profound of transitions occurs. She knows that to witness the passing of her spirit at the end of a long life will be a sacred time. She knows that letting her mother go will be difficult, but that it must and will happen. She knows that telling her children when it happens and grieving again with them, for this is not their first encounter with death, will be a sorrowful thing.
Her mother will die at home, surrounded by her loving family, which is the dream many of us have. Mother has had plenty of time to prepare, and soon the pain inflicted upon her by the ravages of cancer will be over. The pain and emptiness of grief will by borne by my friend and her sisters and their families.
We her friends will support her and hold her through this time, share wine and tears and memories with her. It is a sacred time.