My wish for a happy and painless death

What would you like your death to be? Would you liken it to a gradual, slow and lingering illness… or the sudden out-of-the-blue unexpected shock of an accident?

This question hit me hard when my grandmother died long time ago. It was a great loss to our family. Her last days were spent in bed, being fed thru a nasogastric tube (NGT). I was at work in the office when my Dad called up and told me “Wala na si lola mo.” Her death was the first time I ever cried for somebody who died. It opened my mind to the reality that life is fragile. It made me more aware of my own mortality, and how my life can be likened to a journey which must end. As they say, we are pilgrims here on earth, we are just passing by… our home is not here, but beyond. Before my grandma was bedridden, she was an active and funny woman, bugoy kaayo. Seeing her so helpless was difficult to accept. I had a lot of searching within me since then.

So, what would I like my death to be? I used to wish it would be just happy and painless… I imagined myself growing old gracefully and finally on the day of my death it would be the happy scene of me lying on my deathbed, surrounded by my loved ones, exchanging parting words until I finally say “Goodbye… I have to go now; I will be missing you all.” That was my wish then for how my life’s last moments would be.

Through the years, I have seen how God has worked in my life, from the apparently simple and trivial things to the most crucial and important events of my existence. I have been witness to His loving and mysterious ways. I learned to trust Him more and to place the frailty and uncertainty of my life (and mortality) in His hands.

Nowadays, whenever I hear disturbing news about bombings, landslides or car accidents, I am once again reminded of my own question about dying… but this time, it’s a different concern for me:

“WHATEVER way I am to DIE my own death is not a bit as significant as HOW I am to LIVE my life.”

Have blessed and meaningful Holy Week.

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