Like A Brother

For those dying,
let your friends shelter you.
For those watching a friend die,
be close like a brother (Proverbs 17:17).

When you know death is near,
some run in fear.
I did this at 12;
experiencing enough sadness alone,
I couldn't bare the thought of feeling a vast amount of family member's sufferings too.
I chose a solo journey through grief
rather than being a part of the family circle present
during my uncle's final day on earth.

Thankfully, with age,
and being blessed with the opportunity to be present for others,
(within their seasons of loss),
I have learned to run to the side of those who know their time is short.

People who are dying need to know they're not alone;
it's good to know you've made a positive impact on others
while you're still here to hear the stories.

Memorialize people while they're alive; don't leave words unspoken.

My uncle died young from cancer;
a father of four,

his youngest 12 and 8 when he passed away.
Part of what I remember,
in the aftermath,
is people pledging to care for his wife and children.

One of the biggest gifts you can give a friend who's dying is peace.
Peace in trusting and believing you will be there to help his wife and children live on.
Live on with laughter, love, joy and security simply because you're there, 
filling some of the void death brings.

It's a gift for your friend to know he has a friend who will offer to take his daughters
to a father/daughter dance,
help his sons build a car for a pinewood derby race,
someone who will be a safe voice speaking over them of their beauty, worth, intelligence,

and teaching them what it is to be a child of God;
doing the things their father would do if he was still able to.

It's a gift for your friend to know he has a friend who will comfort his wife, 
lifting burdens off her shoulders and taking them upon himself:
Lawn maintenance, home repairs, shoveling snow;
checking and caring for family vehicles, (oil, windshield wiper fluid, air pressure in tires);
things she may not be well-versed in, 
or used to taking care of,
are things she need not worry about,
they'll continue to get done.

Pledging this care, being a guardian, will help usher in peace and rest;
be a burden lifter and out-pour love!

Beyond a meal train,
offer "coupons" of things you will do for the family,
redeemable whenever they call:
Baby-sitting, house-cleaning,
grocery shopping;
show provision,
before death comes;
the lives of his wife, and children, will still be good.

Finally, simply be with your friend while he's still here.
Don't treat him differently.
Be friends as you have always been,

talk as you have always talked; 
be who he knows you to be,
don't let circumstances change the ways in which you bond. 

Normalcy helps life continue on 
uninterrupted by any unknowns that loom ahead.

Cast your cares upon the Lord (I Peter 5:7)

He will give you "grit and grace"
as you stand strong for your friend who can no longer stand on his own;
peace will be yours too.

There will be tears of sadness wept
but there will be joy again.
And, for your friend, who dies, 
heaven awaits;
no more tears, no more sadness,
no more pain,
only gladness. (Revelation 21:4)

We need not fear death.
death is simply the doorway to life without end;
be with your friend,
remain by his side,
give thanks,
take heart,
have faith,

Death has no sting (I Corinthians 15:55-57).

Jesus went before us and is waiting to welcome us home.

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