Monday, September 28, 2015

Preparing for Death

Q.  The unrest in our world today with terrorism, riots, massive immigrants flooding into Europe, as well as droughts, forest fires and earth quakes, make me worry about the future. I’m in my forties with a family and a career. My life is busy and full. The instant uprooting of people from their home and country, the many deaths by terrorism and the divisiveness of our own country are disconcerting. I know death is inevitable for everyone but now I realize not everyone makes it to old age.

I worry what would happen to my children if I died tomorrow. I wonder how I would handle the sudden death of my wife or a child. How can I get over these worries? What can I do to regain peace of mind?

A. Most of us avoid thinking about death. We know we’re going to die but we don’t really believe it. In fact, our culture encourages a denial of death, at least until we’re sick or elderly. We’re focused on the daily necessities such as such as earning a living, paying our mortgage, caring for our children. We’re overwhelmed with a multitude of details of life - car and home repair, cooking, laundry, chauffeuring kids, business trips and PTA meetings. The list is endless. We seldom take the time to think about life and death issues.

The many issues in the world news serve to wake us up. These events remind us that the length of our life on earth is not guaranteed. Our life is a gift that we need to cherish and use wisely. The reality of death helps us recognize the value of life. Faith in eternal life helps dispel worries about dying. I’ll say more on that later.  

First there are some tasks that will help you prepare for death. It’s essential for everyone to have a will - even if you have little or no money. If you have young children specify in your will who you would like to be their care takers if both parents should die. For example, you may have two sisters but one is closer to the children and willing to do this. It’s best to have your will done by a lawyer. 
You may want to write letters to your children to be given to them at significant times in their life - graduation from high school or their wedding for example. Though you will probably be present at the time, write these letters now for added peace of mind. 
Make peace with your loved ones. If you have failed to forgive someone - do so now. If you have hurt someone and not asked for their forgiveness - do so now. If you have failed to tell loved ones that you love them - do so now. These may not be easy steps but they will make your life more meaningful and you will be at peace about your death whenever it comes. Forgive yourself, also. No one leads a perfect life.
We need to plan for our own death. If you knew you only had a week, a month or a year to live what would you need or want to do in the time you have left? Talk these issues over with your wife. 
Cherish each day. Make relationships and giving to others a priority. Help others in need. Slow down so you can appreciate the beauty of our world and the joy in loving moments. 
Turn to God. Faith in God is the best antidote to fear of death. Pray, read scripture, find a church that lifts your spirits and loves you and that also answers your questions about life and death. Seek God and He will give you peace. 

The greatest peace will come to you when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Then you will be certain of eternal life. You will live forever with Him.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

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