Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (A personal Experience) 17th August 2017 – Posted in: Death, Salvation/Eternal Lfe
It has been a while since I last posted a blog.
On 20th June (2017), our lives were catapulted into a non-stop vigil at the bedside of my 90 year old father-in-law, who was rushed to hospital. After a few days, he seemed to recover and they were looking at sending him back home at the end of that week once they had arranged extra care in place for him at home.
Then he suddenly took a turn for the worse, being unable to make any kind of coherent conversation, except for miraculously saying the Lord’s Prayer perfectly when the hospital chaplain came in to minister to him! After that, he returned to mumbling all sorts of things that none of us could understand. He also began to refuse all food and drink. After a few days of no intake, and with no prognosis of recovering from what was causing this, as a family we had to make the agonising decision of accepting that he should be placed onto ‘end of life’care.
From that moment on, his appointment with death was approaching, and so we took it in turns to stay by his side as much as we possibly could, apart from needing to go home to sleep. We told him how much we all loved him, and thanked him for his love for us all. We prayed over him daily, anointed him with oil, and sang hymns and worship songs to him at every opportunity. The nursing staff and some of the patients in the ward were moved to tears, hearing what they described as a ‘choir of angels’ singing around his bed.
Our ‘end of life’ vigil lasted for 8 days. During that period, our daily life came to a complete standstill. Nothing else mattered to us except being with him to minister to him as he approached death. We watched him as he fought daily to cling on to life, whilst we gentle whispered in his ears words of peace and assurance, encouraging him to not be afraid to let go of his earthly life and be with the Lord.
Each night that we went home to get some sleep, we thought that the phone would ring in the middle of the night with the news that he had passed away. But each morning when we rang the hospital, he was still hanging on to life.
On 8th July we were due to attend the wedding of my cousin’s daughter. My father-in-law knew that this wedding was coming up. On the evening of 7th July, my own daughter and I stayed by his bedside, telling him that we were all looking forward to the wedding (but not really knowing if we would actually be going, or whether we would be at his bedside again).
When we left him the night before the wedding, we once again sung some powerful hymns to him and spoke words of love and blessing into his soul, reassuring him not to be afraid of passing from his earthly life and into the next life. Over the course of the 8 days, I had told him endlessly that when his time of departure was near, Jesus would come for him, and that when he saw Jesus, he must take hold of His hand and go with Him. We left his bedside about 9.30pm.
When we got home, I got my outfit ready for the wedding the next day. I felt peaceful about it, with some sort of supernatural peace that we would be going to this wedding, even though in the natural it seemed that this would not be the case.
The next morning, my husband woke me up at 7am and said, “Dad passed away about 6am.” We both had a cry, but felt so much peace that it was as if his dad was blessing us to enable us to go to the wedding. It is really difficult to try to put into words the impact of the feelings of grief, peace and joy the came upon us all in one go. It seems incomprehensible to us now, that we somehow managed to get up and put on all our finery and attend the joyous occasion of a wedding only 7 hours after he passed away. During the whole of the wedding, we felt an immense peace and love surrounding us and strengthening us, enabling us to join in the celebrations, despite our loss that very morning.
All we know is that the Lord came to take his soul to be with Him at the appointed time… a day of grief and joy all in one go.
Rest in peace, beloved Cyril.