For what is mortal must be changed into what is immortal; what will die must be changed into what cannot die. So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!”
“Where, Death, is your victory?
Where, Death, is your power to hurt?”
Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
So then, my dear friends, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.
1 Corinthians 15:53-58 (GNT)
In the past five years, I have lost various friends and family members, ranging in age from 36 to 96. It has made me realise that our culture acts as if death is something that can be overcome by sheer willpower, or else something to be ignored, until it happens. Which is ridiculous. Old age and infirmity are treated in the same way. Also ridiculous.
To prevent some of the painful, distressing events that occurred when my in-laws became infirm and subsequently died, I have come up with a plan: a questionnaire about funeral, burial, infirmity, illness and the dying process. If I can get everyone to fill it in this Christmas (which is the next time we’re getting together as a family), from the youngest to the oldest, maybe we can be a little better prepared for when the inevitable takes place.
What happened with my in-laws, as much as it was distressing it was equally infuriating because with a little bit of planning and forethought, so much could have gone so much more smoothly. Their suffering, let alone that of their nearest and dearest, could have been reduced. I’m not in any way blaming my in-laws – they were just behaving in the culturally-accepted norm. Everyone was trying their best as they saw it at the time. But it is a norm that is unnecessary and can often be actively harmful to both the ill or infirm person and to their loved ones. I don’t want my kids having to make those kinds of decisions when the time comes, or for them to be placed in those circumstances. I want them to already know, to have it right there in black and white what my wishes are about end-of-life care and what happens after.
I came across this video on youtube that may be helpful (in fact there is a great deal of helpful content across the channel as a whole):
I can also recommend the following books that changed the way I approach old age, infirmity, illness, dying and death:
Contented Dementia by Oliver James
In the Midst of Life by Jennifer Worth
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Are there any books, videos or websites that you can recommend on any of these subjects? Let me know in the comments. Thank you. God bless you.