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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Glimpses of Heaven

I've been reading this small but wonderful magazine just this year and most of the stories touched me in any way. So today I want to share with you a good story that might touch your soul as it did to me.

Final Messages By Trudy Harris, May 16, 2011

Many times during my years of caring for dying patients, they have said simple yet profound things shortly before they leave us.

I have often thought it important to listen carefully to those messages. I have listed a few here for you to ponder, hoping they will speak to you as they have to me over the years.

Luke, a 10-year-old, knew his time was coming soon but did not want to leave his mother alone. “I can’t go now,” he was often heard to say when he sensed God calling him. One evening, after being given permission by his mother to “go” when it was time, he said to her, “I see Jesus now and I want to go with Him.” He died that evening. The comfort that this brought to his mother has lasted a lifetime; Luke was with Jesus.

Anna, a woman who lived alone and had spent her life surrounded by a great deal of wealth and all the positive and negative things that brings, began to die. She spent the last three days of her life in an unresponsive state. She was aware of her surroundings but busy with too many “important” things to respond in any way. I was with her on her last day of life. When she opened her eyes and smiled, she said, “It’s only about love, Trudy, nothing more and nothing less.” Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to know this.

Irving was an atheist all his life and now he was dying. My grandson was born during the last week of his life, and Irving was very close to the family. The little boy was not expected to live, and this was heartbreaking to all of us, including our atheist friend. “You know, Trudy,” he said, “I have never believed in God, but I am going to pray to Him for John until I die,” which he did. Little John got well and Irving said to me, “I prayed for John and he got well, therefore I now believe in God.” He died a few hours later.

Helen was diagnosed with a deadly cancer that should have taken her life in about two to three months. She lived two and a half years. She lived with anger and resentment because of her husband’s unfaithfulness in their early years. By God’s grace alone, she began to understand how to find the peace she needed to let go. When her doctor asked her what had kept her here so long, she said to him, “I had to learn to forgive.” He was stunned. Helen died peacefully shortly thereafter.

His name I do not remember, but every word he said to me in the last few minutes of his life will stay with me forever. This lovely man was dying and he did not want to die alone or lying flat; I promised I would be with him and hold him until the end. In the last few hours of his life, I raised the head of his bed and stayed with him. I slipped my arms around his shoulders and just held him. He was aware and dying slowly. Foolishly I looked at my watch, not for any real reason, just without thought. He looked up at me and shook his head, saying, “Trudy, there is no such thing as time. Dying is like walking from the living room into the dining room. There are no beginnings and no endings.” He took his last breath and died peacefully. How good he was, in the last moment of his life, to remind me that life is eternal.

Mark was 47 years old and dying of pancreatic cancer. I felt sure he would die that night and told his sitter, who had never been with a dying patient before, not to be surprised by anything she might see. Everything would be as God planned for Mark. In the middle of the night, she and his wife called excitedly. Yes, Mark had died just a few minutes before and just as he did, he sat straight up in the bed, unattended, and said, “There it is, I can see it, it is so beautiful.” He then lay down and died. Is there any clearer message than that?

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