DEATH: SOMETHING TO GET INVOLVED IN!
I’m Fr Chris Reay, Parish Priest of Nathalia in northern Victoria. My friend, Fr Rob Galea suggested that I blog a series of short reflections on what it’s like to be told “you’re terminally ill”. This is the first blog.
As long as I can remember I’ve never thought it’d be a good idea to suddenly die in my sleep. I’ve even prayed that it wouldn’t happen. That’s because death is an important human event. So I want get involved in it, and in the period leading up to it. It’s not something bad that I would want to ignore or try not to think about.
What would you reckon if a man left his wife as soon as she became pregnant, and returned after the birth? Even though the period of pregnancy has its trials and challenges, he would have missed out on the richly human experience of becoming a father! So it is with death. Although it’s dramatic and difficult, it is richly human. And the period leading up to it can be celebrated with tenderness, love and courage, both by me, and by my family, friends and the Church.
It is a time of closure, but also of a new beginning. The period leading up to death provides a terrific opportunity for me to get my life into order, and to be strengthened by the prayers, sacraments and care of the Church. And to tell people that I love them, and that I’m sorry for some things that have happened, and to say “goodbye” or even “I’ll catch you later”.
Wow! I wouldn’t want to sleep through that, would I?
Look, I’m pretty sure I won’t be so chirpy when pain and sickness start to kick in. But pain and sickness are part of the package. And – please God – I’ll still believe what I believe now.
- Fr Chris
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