If my aunt could get up, she would rise out of bed and clobber me for posting these pictures; but, she can’t. She’s dying. And there is so much irony in that.
After sitting with her an hour or so, I had to leave to return to the parish for afternoon confessions. I told the nursing staff as I was leaving that my aunt really would be upset right about now. When they asked why, I said, “Well, she’s been a queen throughout her life, planning and executing her day exactly as she wished. She would be incredibly frustrated to know that she is dying exactly the same as everyone else does.”
We all had a laugh at that. Auntie Connie was always in charge. She would be upset that she could not control the way she died. But, there it is. Death is the great equalizer. Rich or poor, light or dark, whatever ethnicity, whatever lifestyle, no matter who we are or how we lived, we all die and death, if it is a natural one, has a certain pattern.
When I left, I informed the staff that my aunt was just beginning to form the “death rattle”. Every few breaths or so you can hear an almost imperceptible gurgling as fluid begins to collect. She is most likely within twenty-four hours of her death now. She is dying as anyone else who passes away naturally.
There is a certain comfort in that. We can all look forward to the same thing. Knowing that, we can all look forward to what lies beyond because death is not about making noises or bodies shutting down, death is about an eternal promise.
We do not believe in death, my friends. We believe in resurrection. Thank God for giving us that hope and that joy.