Malankara World

Today with Jesus

Death

by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Toronto, Canada

Today's Bible Verse

"The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die." (Psalm 116:15)

Discussion

Why do we deny death as if we are immortal?

Understanding about real life situations and who we are, may help us to cope with terminal illnesses and death. The reality is that death is real and we are mortal. For everything there is a time, "A time to be born and a time to die" (Ecclesiastes 3:2). According to the Bible, death will pass away only at the resurrection and the final judgement of Jesus Christ - the new world to come. Sickness, suffering and death are all part of this sinful world and we all should shed this mortal body to dust and give the immortal soul to the hand of Jesus - our Lord and God as Stephen did when he was stoned as the first martyr in Christianity. God stays close to us even in death. When someone we love is nearing death, we may pass through 5 stages:

1- crisis: guilt and anger,

2- unity: people around the dying person pull themselves together,

3 - upheaval: care- givers experience burnout,

4 - resolution: confront family members, confront long standing issues, heal wounds, and

5: renewal - starts at the funeral and can involve a combination of sadness and in some cases relief.

Jesus says, "Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on" (Revelation 14:13)

Process of coping with death should commence even before the terminal diagnosis. Expansion of life span is a victory of modern man but with devastating consequences to the victor. By the time we reach 65, 90% of Canadians are experiencing at least one chronic condition. So they have a a lot of time to come to terms with the fact that they are falling apart. Dying slowly gives us the opportunity to live with death - "in a gentle, calm, even enjoyable way. Okun, the writer, whose husband suffered from lymphoma and ultimately died of stroke says his illness lasted for a long time. She talks of her experience, "My husband and I had a lot of emotional conversations. But I also needed to know what his passwords were so I could access things. There is something called chemo-brain that involves slower processing of information and a loss of memory. The doctors don't tell you this stuff. The oncologist is only concerned with the tumor." When a loved one is undergoing chemotherapy, it does not seem the right time to bring up wills and ask questions about how they want to die. Deal with it when it's theoretical - not imminent.

Prayer

Jesus, let us pass from this world with hope in you - the resurrection. Give us all a peaceful death and opportunity to cope up with the situation of long standing illnesses. We pray for the family members and caregivers of terminally ill patients. All we ask in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

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