Womb to Tomb // Dignity of the Elderly and Dying

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.

Psalms 71:9

It’s always sudden. Even when you know that death will come at any day, it always arrives without warning. When my grandmother died last year, it seemed like she was just waiting to die. And yet, it still fit within God’s strangely perfect timing.

My grandmother was 17 when she married my grandfather, who was 10 years older than her. They were both born in the month of October, a month dedicated to the Holy Rosary. My grandmother was almost 100 years old when she passed away. My grandfather, died over a decade before her. What makes this so “strangely perfect” is the day that they died. They both passed away on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Even in death, God has a way of making us aware that we are all on His time and not our own. Although my grandmother waited so long, she had a moment of clarity right before she died. I still remember seeing her on a video chat call the night before she passed. I greeted her and promised that I would pray for her. I remembered feeling calm, assuming that all would be well. My mother says that my grandmother saw my grandfather the moment she died.

If there’s anything we can learn from my grandmother’s passing, it’s that we need to rely on God’s perfect timing, but always be aware that we could pass from this Earth at any moment. Ideally, our last moments should be a happy one, where we are reunited with our God in Heaven and those we lost. Even in the midst of suffering such as cancer or some other terminal illness, we need to welcome death as a friend and not bring it upon ourselves.

May our last moments be a sigh of longing for Heaven and our last words be spoken of love for the Lord.

To Jesus through Mary-Monique Ocampo