At this time of the year I like to post our Christmas mail early. As I look at my list, I wonder, how many of them are still alive since last year? We’re often only in touch at Christmas and I don’t know all their families, so I’ve started to check the obituaries online and I’ve found several who’ve died. Part of growing older is losing more family and friends.
Last week I found a death notice for a lady who’d reached ninety years, but died a few months later. Wilma was part of the writing group that I attended many years ago. She was a dress-designer and did an enormous amount of sewing for her local hospital. In her card to us last year, she said, ‘it keeps me busy!’ She was involved in her church and walked everywhere. In the writing class, she’d begun an historical story that I hope her family will appreciate. It was a fascinating tale. When her children were young, she was also a writer for a State-wide school magazine and always on the go! She’s earned her rest.
Another friend of mine found that she was attending a lot of funerals and so she decided to visit as many cousins and friends as possible before they passed on! She’s also kept busy! In a couple of years she’ll be eighty, but in the meantime, she has a large garden to tend and gathers flowers from it to arrange for her church and a local nursing home. Some people are given health and strength; some are not so able, but they continue to press on with their activities in spite of pain. Connie’s one of them.
A couple of my friends have developed dementia. I still send a card at Christmas to Louise, and another for her birthday which falls earlier in December. Her daughter says she enjoys them, but may not remember who I am. She had some shocking experiences in her early teens during the Second World War when she was interned in a camp in China with her mother and sister. Maybe this present situation has released her from those melancholic memories. And then there’s Gillian, a friend who struggled with many issues throughout her life and had dementia before she died this year. Such a compassionate lady.
It seems strange now, to write on the Christmas cards, and address the envelopes, without including the name of the one who’s gone on ahead. There are husbands, cousins, mothers, grandmothers, who’ve all left their imprint on our lives and it’s hard to think of them not being around anymore.
During our life, whether we’re young or old, some friends and family die, but it’s more common in our later years. It’s a precious thing to know that we don’t have to worry when our name will be called. And it’s essential to know that we can prepare for it. I’m glad my parents taught me not to leave it too late to get ready to go. I don’t need to grab a new coat to cover my old body before I rush out on that journey to my new life. God has another garment; one that will fit perfectly. That’s because he has a new body ready for me. Amazing!
Jesus said, ‘Don’t be afraid…I have authority over death’. ~ Revelation 1:18
Our bodies die, but our spirits live on because we believe that our times are in God’s hands. Our life, our death, and especially our eternal future, are all arranged in the timing of God. What a wonderful thing to know!