Death – Life Lessons
When I prepare one of these messages, I’m from the old school, so I first write it out in longhand. Then, I get on the computer in Word and transcribe it there. After that, I try to check for obvious errors, and then email the message to the Rapture Forums site Coordinator for posting.
This particular message is about a week later than expected because of something happening that I’ve heard of as a joke all my life. When I arrived home with the completed handwritten message, I laid it on our living room sofa table. Shortly after that, I went to pick it up and it wasn’t there. Our Rottweiler/Great Dane mix had found it, and “ate” the message. All that I found that was left were some small scraps of paper, so I’ve had to redo this one from scratch. Never again will I laugh when I hear, “My Dog Ate My Homework!”
From 1974 to 1978, my profession was in Respiratory Therapy, also known as Cardio-Pulmonary (RT/CP). I worked in three different hospitals during that time. They were varied in size, with the smallest of about 100 beds. The other two had 400+ beds. My job was to provide doctor-prescribed breathing treatments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients (COPD); run doctor-prescribed EKG’s; and I was also part of the Emergency Cardiac Response Team. Any life-threatening event that took place involving cardiac arrest or severe, life-threatening trauma required a RT/CP person to be in attendance.
Over the course of that time, I witnessed no less than 300 deaths, and the age range was from neonate (preemie babies) to adults over the age of 100. The younger patients affected me the most, as I felt they did not have enough time to experience what this earth had to offer. I should note here, all during that time, I was not saved. Had I taken my last breath here, I would’ve found myself at the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus in the long line at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15). Now, I thank Him every day for not requiring my soul at that time, and giving me the chance to honor and serve Him.
There was one other period of time that I worked in a major hospital for about 5 years, but as a Commissioned Security Officer. This was between 2007 and 2012, and my primary function was to work in the emergency room to assist with patient flow. There were times that severe trauma cases were brought in, and my presence would be required to make sure the medical staff was not interfered with. During that time, Jesus was definitely in my life, and I was able to offer prayers for patients and families. Some gladly accepted; others declined. I left that up to each individual.
Going back to the first hospital, it was a small rural medical facility in New Jersey. When I was in- between treatment rounds, and there were no other major events happening, I enjoyed going and visiting with patients. I especially enjoyed the Senior Citizens, as they had some very interesting stories to talk about.
One man in particular stands out in my mind, who was in his late 80’s. Because of his disease, his lungs would not allow him to lie down flat, and he just sat up most of the time. When I first met him, he was reluctant to open up about his past. When he realized I was sincere in wanting to know more about him, he finally opened up and told me about his “early career.” He had been a young helper in the lab of Thomas Edison. He told about some of the inventions he saw being made, and remarked how much he really admired Mr. Edison. One day I went to visit him, and was told he had passed away during the night. I realized how much insight he had given me, which would have been totally lost if I hadn’t put forth a bit of effort.
Another patient in the same hospital asked me to shave him. This may sound like a strange request, but he said he didn’t like the way the nurse aides did it. I went back after completing my regular rounds, and granted his request. I did very little “damage,” and he said he appreciated what I had done. This was in 1976, which I remember because he gave me a leather key fob he had made, which was dyed red/white/blue and had “76” stamped on it. He too passed a few days later.
Witnessing so many people that went from life to death left me with many “pictures” in my mind of their last moments. Some stand out a lot more than others.
There were the ones who appeared to be in a state of sheer terror. It was as if they saw things no one else around them could. It was obvious the “visions” weren’t pleasant. One young lady in her late teens started going into full cardiac arrest. Her last words were, “Don’t Let Me Die Yet!” All efforts to bring her back failed.
There were patients that were at their life’s end, and they showed an amazingly calm attitude. Some appeared to be looking beyond all of us that were present, and seemed to be carrying on mental conversations with others. Their last act was to take a final breath, and then total peace.
One thing to note: it’s said the hearing is the last sense to go. There were patients that were “medically dead,” yet were able to be revived. One of them told me a couple days later all the conversations that had taken place around them, as if they had been standing back “recording” the whole scene. So, my recommendation is, if you are visiting anyone in a critical state in a hospital or otherwise, be aware they may be able to hear you even if they appear to be unconscious.
Of course, there is no way I can say what the status of each soul was, but I really wish I had known Jesus better during the earlier days. At least I believe I would have possibly been better prepared to know what to offer in the way of spiritual comfort. For someone who is about to leave an existence they have known, to enter something totally unknown, has to be frightening in itself. Imagine the comfort that can be ours, knowing that when we take our last breath here, we’ll be immediately in the presence of our Loving Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Paul talked about this in Philippians 1:21-23.
In the last hospital where I worked, a Hispanic family had brought a child to the ER that was less than two years of age. The child was in full arrest and could not be revived. The family was fearful that the “baby” would go into “purgatory” because they never had her baptized. I was able to share with them how much Jesus loves all children, and assured them I believed she was safely in the arms of Jesus. I gave them Matthew 19:14 where Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.” (emphasis mine)
Over the years, and with a greater understanding through a “relationship” with My Jesus, I have no fear of leaving this life through death. I will admit I am a bit apprehensive about the method of the dying process, but ultimately realize I will be with My Savior. Then again, there’s the strong possibility I will be among those true believers who will be “caught up in the air” to meet Jesus without experiencing death. Either way, it’s a win-win situation. Not only for me, but for all who have called on the name of the Lord to be saved (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13).
Everyone can be assured of their eternal life by accepting the gift being offered by Our Savior. We can have the assurance of an eternal home with no pain; no suffering of any kind; never having to say goodbye to loved ones; and all this in a body designed to last for all eternity. Never again will we be subjected to any evil temptations. Sounds almost too good to be true, but we’re assured it is so.
Our Jesus came to this earth to be our perfect sacrifice for our sins, and for us to be able to spend eternity with Him. We must “receive” and “accept” this wonderful gift. Sadly, there are more people that will reject Him than those who will call out to Him. Once our last breath is taken here, our eternity is set (Matthew 7:13-14).
We all have the same choice, and it’s offered to every living being on this earth equally (Romans 2:11). There is no price we can pay; no good deeds to earn our pardon; and we don’t deserve Our Savior’s love. He gave it freely at Calvary through His precious shed blood so that we could have a path to the Father. Without Jesus, the only pathway is the Lake of Fire which will be assigned to those who leave this earth without the Savior.
The experiences in the various hospitals gave me a perspective that our life here is very fragile, and could be required of us at any moment. A true believer, that has a relationship with Jesus, doesn’t live moment by moment dreading leaving this sin-filled earth. Put your mind at ease, and call on Jesus today to be your Savior. Tomorrow may just be too late.