As a nurse, I am around death.
It is not an easy part of life. It is hard. It is never something God wanted us to have to experience.
I’ve had my patients die, and I have cared for patients that have died.
I will never be “used to” it.
Our patients become friends and familiar faces on the unit. If one passes, the room number, the shift, and the experience is something I’ll never forget. I will never be “used to” it.
Recently, these experiences have been on my mind, and I have wondered how to stay “okay” in the midst of those moments. It is not therapeutic to the family for me to start balling my eyes out during their grieving. Though I am never truly “okay” with it, it is a part of my job. I’ve learned my own approach as uncomfortable as it is. I have to care for families enduring the loss of their special loved one. It will never be easy.
Though, there is a hope that comes with death.
Death is imminent, but death is not the end. It was never intended to be the end.
Revelation 21:4 talks about Heaven and what it will be like. It says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). There is a promise for no more pain, no more hurt, no more suffering, and no more sting. In this promise, I find hope.
Staying on Earth experiencing the loss is HARD, but I find peace in knowing the deceased is experiencing the best joy that is ever possible. Heaven is going to be better than anything that has ever been experienced here.
There is a hope that rests in knowing this beloved patient— a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, friend, son, daughter, etc.—is going to somewhere far better than this hospital bed.
Tim Keller describes the death phenomenon very well with one of his quotes: “Death for Christians is the entrance into a greater endless love relationship, meaning reflection only makes it easier to face what’s coming. That means the worse thing life can bring can only usher you into something infinitely better (Keller). As the patient is ushered into a far better relationship with God than I can ever imagine, I hold out for the hope that the Lord has a plan in the midst of the challenge.
Death is not scary because it is not the end. It is a new beginning to something far greater than we can imagine.
May we surrender to this hope.