Skip to Content

Embracing Mortality: A Season of Embracing Life Through Simple Acceptance

Most of the previous year was devoted to accompanying my father-in-law through his gradual decline towards the inevitable. At 94 years old, he was fatigued and prepared, frequently expressing his readiness for what lay ahead.

Upon moving in with him, I observed his mobility and memory deteriorating, with memory outpacing mobility in its decline. Despite hearing certain stories on repeat, a common occurrence when interacting with the elderly, I endeavored to unearth new narratives through gentle prompting. Successfully steering our conversations off the beaten path, I uncovered tales from Buck’s youth and early adulthood using well-timed inquiries and strategic silences.

A pivotal approach was his initial reluctance to recall the past, often dismissing inquiries with “That’s long forgotten.” By patiently waiting without imposing expectations, I could ignite a vivid recollection after a prolonged pause, cherishing those moments and the stories they unveiled.

However, there came a juncture when his responses dwindled, fading into silence. Our interactions dwindled to basic household routines communicated through gestures, devoid of the rich narratives that once filled our days.

During those final months, communication waned, and Buck matter-of-factly stated his anticipation of death, a fate he calmly awaited. While it wasn’t a prospect I shared, its proximity resonated with me. Death loomed as an inevitable punctuation mark in the narrative of life, drawing closer to both of us. I gradually realized its inexorable nature, akin to the cyclical rhythm of the sun’s ascent and descent, beyond our control.

As someone well-acquainted with funerals and bedside vigils, I believed I was prepared for this experience. Yet, merely sitting in the presence of death for months was a novel challenge, transcending the ability to intervene or assist, evolving into a season of profound acceptance.

Amidst the intricate nuances of our shared journey, the prevailing theme was embracing our companionship with death. Just as the apostle Paul conveyed to the Romans, the profound truth that whether in life or death, we belong to the Lord.

In the realm of the eternal, where God’s enduring love reigns supreme, life and death converge closely. This proximity underscores the interconnectedness between the living and the deceased, illustrating that love bridges the perceived gap effortlessly.

Jeff Gill, a resident of central Ohio, is a writer, storyteller, and preacher navigating the complexities of life. Share your reflections on life and death with him at [contact email], or connect on Twitter @Knapsack77 on Threads.