Because of God’s tender mercy,

    the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

    and to guide us to the path of peace.

Luke 1:78-79 (NLT)

I love holidays and dressed my house with the Easter decorations in early March. We started practicing music for the different services of Holy Week and then I got a phone call on Thursday before Palm Sunday. My dad was in the hospital and needed me to come.

Suddenly, all those plans flew out the window and we piled in the car not knowing what to expect. My kids drove down from the Bay Area and met us at the hospital. As we walked into Dad’s room, I knew he was on the last leg of his journey here on earth. My world expanded as I learned about hospice, skilled nursing facilities, and shepherding Dad and the rest of the family through the process.

I’m learning that death is a process, much like giving birth. The beginning of life arrives unexpectedly as a result of birth pangs and delivery with much celebration. While the end of life edges slowly but surely to a different kind of celebration or “graduation” accompanied by sorrow and grief for those left behind. 

However, it is not without grand moments.

Dad goes back in time and then becomes confused with the present. I know he is seeing beyond our time and space dimensions. He mentioned the other morning that “painters” had fill his room during the night, in fact one stood right next to his bed. He said he went up 300 feet into the cold air and then he asked me if he was imagining it. I told him he was but I wonder if a heavenly host was filling his room that night, in their white robes like “painters.” He reaches out for the unseen and then pulls his hand back. It’s a mystery to us but I know he is in the in-between time.

On Good Friday, I thought about Jesus’ process of dying. I’m so grateful that the grave was not His final resting place nor will it be ours. We may grieve for a while but Sunday is coming!