After a lingering and distressing battle with motor neurone disease, my eldest sister died on 7th October 2014. Lesley-Anne’s major fear was not that of dying. She had faced and accepted this bravely. Her only fear was that she might choke to death. I was privileged to be present with her in her final moments and her serene death gave us all much peace.
Reluctant to leave her alone in death, my sister in law Helen and I decided to remain with her in the Marie Curie Hospice. I bedded down on the hospice camp bed and woke up at 3am. As I looked upon Lesley-Anne’s face, a new expression had appeared. A quiet joy permeated her face and her expression was simply beautiful.
Reflecting on this experience reminded me that death, no matter how distressing, is simply the entrance into a new way of being, it is the final homecoming. It is humbling to admit that each of us is only some breaths or heartbeats away from that moment. Whether it comes gently, suddenly or steals quietly into our lives, it will arrive, uninvited or not.
The Father’s invitation to come home is one that we all share. On this day, when as God’s beloved children, we remember and pray for those who have reached home first, let us spend a few moments in anticipation of the wonderful welcome that awaits us!
- Sr Kathryn Williams PDDM