When my grandmother, GG*, discovered her first cousin had passed, her response was “I’m the oldest now.” She has few first cousins left on either side of the family and is the oldest and next to oldest living on each side.
What GG did not voice, but the rest of us understood her saying was, “I’m next.” We know that she is ready, whenever the time comes. She grows tired much easier now and has often told us in the last few years that she is ready. Although we know she loves us, there are times when it is obvious that she is ready.
“I’ll be with God and the rest of my family,” she tells us. Her faith in God is strong and she’s made it clear that she can’t wait to be with Him. She also talks about her parents, siblings, and other loved ones with such longing that we know she’s ready.
When the time comes she will be missed by those she’s left behind, but we’ll know that she was ready and that we will see her again one day.
However, what happens when your loved one isn’t ready? I sat with Mrs. W* and she wasn’t ready. She was always afraid of death. She was raised to believe that you got to heaven by good works and she felt that she was never good enough.
Thankfully she had family and caregivers that all believed in God. We read to her from the Bible, sung hymns to her, watched church on TV and told her stories from the Bible. At first she was not very receptive, but we never pushed her. If she wasn’t interested we stopped, but we all continued to pray for her.
We noticed that she slowly grew more receptive and even asked for us to tell her more. Finally someone asked if she’d like to accept Christ into her heart. She said she would and was led in the sinners prayer.
Even though she suffered from dementia, there were moments when she had great clarity and we could see the change in her attitude towards Christ. When she passed away, we all had great peace because we knew that we would see her again one day.
Do you know where your loved one stands in view of eternity? Do you take the opportunity to share Christ love with your loved one?
When Heaven Nears
Preparing for your loved one for heaven