Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Last Heartbeat

My grandmother, who I loved more than anyone can imagine, passed away of pancreatic cancer when I was 17; one week before Christmas. My mom and my aunt were with her when she passed. Mom told me later that she laid her hand on Grandma's chest and felt Grandma's last heartbeat. She described it as incredibly peaceful as Grandma's pain and suffering were over.

The image has never left me and 23 years later I still feel the impact. Most people I know find it comforting to lay their head on someone's chest and hear the strong heartbeat of their loved one. Not me. When I lay my head on my husband's chest, it isn't long before I begin to think of the last heartbeat. I don't want to hear it. I don't want to feel it. So I move my head to the crook of his arm and rest my ear on his shoulder. His shoulder can't pull any surprises on me, right?

I have no fear of death in terms of what will happen to me after I die; Jesus is my Lord and I am confident of His promise of Heaven. I have to admit, though, that the process of getting there does scare me a bit. The thought of my husband or daughter dying scares the bejeebers out of me. So much so that my best friend, Geekwif, convinced me that I needed to stop watching "ER". All those emergency room scenes had me completely worked up over my family!

I wonder what my life would be like without the assurance of Heaven? Without the bone-deep awareness of God's grace? My niece is right; life is short - the promise of each heartbeat fleeting. How wonderful that we can look beyond our last heartbeat on earth... to our first in Heaven.

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