Tuesday, January 31, 2012

About Death and Dying

So, I am sure from the title of this post you are just dying (no pun intended) read this blog post today!! It is a deep and not-so-fun subject which is part of what I am going to talk about. This may be a different perspective on death than what most have but I hope it will make you think.

I work with and around death a lot. I work at a hospital where people are supposed to get well but, unfortunately, that is not always the case and people do sometimes die there. Since I am a social worker, I work very closely with the families of the deceased during their initial grief period. I can tell you that people ALL react differently to death. Most of the time the reactions can be pinpointed to cultural differences but you never really know how the death of a loved one will affect someone, whether expected or not. I have worked deaths of children, elderly cancer patients, those on hospice, and with young men and women who have just lost their babies to stillbirth and neonatal death.

I have heard the phrase before "good death." I never knew what that meant until I started working in the healthcare industry. Some deaths are "good" and is basically referring to those deaths that after suffering or long awaited times of anticipated death. Although death is never easy, when it is expected, the families seem more accepting. But let me say that I have seen some not-so-good deaths.

Recently I lost a friend in a tragic car accident. She was 37 years old and left behind a 6 year old and a loving husband. She was so full of life and loved the Lord and was not ashamed to tell everyone she knew. In my short lifetime I have lost treasured grandparents, friends in high school, and just last year a girl that was like a sister to me. What I will say is that for believers death should never be a tragedy. It should be a time of rejoicing. I honestly believe the feelings that we have after someone dies is selfish. I am not saying that I have not mourned and grieved the death of loved ones. I have and it is healthy to do so. Yes, the circumstances surrounding some deaths are tragic but the death itself is not. I think of my friend who died recently. It is terribly sad that she left behind a little girl who only now has memories of her mommy. It breaks my heart to know what it has and will do emotionally to those that love and care for her. Then I think of the fact that there is absolutely NOTHING better than entering the presence of Christ. She is walking on streets of gold and looking at the face of Jesus. AHH!!! How perfect for her! She is singing with God's angels and just knowing what we long to know and see.

I get very emotional and weepy when I start thinking about my girls being left behind if something were to happen to me while they are little. It hurts my heart to know that they would eventually move on without me. Then I think, how incredibly selfish of me! Would I want them to be depressed and not able to move on? Absolutely not. I would want the best for them...whatever that meant.

I don't want the wrong message to come across in this post. Death is sad. It is...there is no way around that and I ABSOLUTELY think that a healthy mourning period is necessary but I believe that healthy is the operative word. Remembering the ones that have passed is important and thinking about them, talking about them is totally appropriate but there are several things that I have seen others do that I personally think are unhealthy. It is true that people grieve differently but when it is interfering with living life, it becomes a problem.

I certainly do not claim to know everything there is to know about how someone should grieve but I have had a great deal of training in the area and as believers I just think that we should grieve healthily and continue loving and missing the people that have gone before us but also rejoice that one day we will see them again. They are whole, healthy and in the presence of Jesus! There is no greater blessing!


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3 comments:

Sara said...

That's such a great way to look at it. I have an aunt who, when told getting older "beats the alternative" says, "No, not really." I've always loved that response.

Lainey-Paney said...

Oh, Rikki---I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.
And I'm sorry to hear about Hannah being so sick! Poor baby girl!!!!

Kaloy said...

You're quite brave choosing death as topic for your blog. I agree so much with most of your perspective about this matter.
Funeral Adelaide



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