Losing a loved one is one of those things that everyone reacts to differently. Each one of us experiences it and grieves differently.
My sister and I came home last Friday evening. We knew that this would most likely be my Grandpa's last weekend alive. When we came, he was unresponsive. On Sunday, at around 11:20 a.m., my Grandpa, Dalton Mansel, lost his battle to cancer and went to be with God.
We spent most of the weekend at his bedside. We talked and reminisced with family. We cried and laughed. We held his hand. We gave him morphine and other medications to keep him comfortable. Saturday night, my sister and I sang hymns to him, such as “Farther Along” and “Amazing Grace”. I don’t know if he could hear them, but I know that if he did happen to hear them, he would have loved it. I know he enjoyed listening to us sing in church whenever we came for a visit.
The moment he passed Sunday morning was a surreal one. I had woken up at around 9:00 a.m., and had had eaten breakfast and talked some with my Aunt Gail. That morning was a blur up until the moment he passed. We kept constant vigil, as his breathing became more shallow. Then, I saw it. He breathed his last. It has been difficult for me to process this moment. It has left me with all kinds of emotions I didn’t, and still don't entirely know what to do with.
It was humbling. Oh, how feeble we are. Oh, how quickly something like a tumor can take the breath from our lips. We try not to think that one day we are going to die. Especially as young people, we don’t want to think about it. You get a different perspective when you are there with a loved one until the moment they pass.
My Grandpa and my Grandma (who died five years earlier) got it. They knew that life is temporary, and what it’s really about. It’s about God. My Grandpa was a minister for some years, and helped to spread God’s word. Later, he was an elder, and taught bible classes. My Grandma Carolyn served and gave her all in everything that she did. My other Grandfather, Russell Butcher, loved God with all his heart. He was so loving and kind, and spread that love to everyone he came in contact with. I can never repay them for the love they showed me, and the example they set.
What are we doing with the precious time that God has given to us? Our lives are so short. It’s been said before, I will say it again: we can die anytime. Anywhere. Jesus could come back at any moment. Are we ready for the moment our heart stops or when we hear that trumpet blast? We don’t know when either of these things will occur. We must be ready.
How much time do we spend complaining, when we could be on our knees in prayer or doing something to change it? How often do we walk past someone who needs help and could use a little love? How often do we say, “I’ll pray later.” Or, “I’ll read my bible later.” And it never gets done? Why are we so negligent when it comes to things that actually matter? These things matter so much more.
The bible says, “…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14.)
It also says, “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away. But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the son, but the Father only.” (Matt. 24:35-36.)
If there is anything that I have been reminded of the past few weeks, it’s this: Life is short, and uncertain. What are we doing with our time? I want to be a hard worker for the Lord until the end. What about you? Will you give Him your all?