Last words carry weight and are remembered. My mother’s last words to me before she died of cancer were “I’ll be with your dad soon.” Dad died at home in his own bed, Mom tending him. On his last night, she sat behind him so he could lean back against her. She held him in her arms. “He relaxed and was gone. I was surprised at how easy his death was.” From her arms into the arms of his Savior, Jesus. The last time I saw Dad, he put his Bible on the dining room table and said his faith was what mattered.
Their words still run through my mind. They both trusted in the Lord right to the final moment. Neither were afraid, though there were moments of anxiety. Like a woman facing the birth of her first child. Pain and then a new life.
My mother served as a nurse on a terminal ward. She told me of one death that greatly impacted her. She had seen death many times, the quiet, gradual decline. But this patient was different. He fought and screamed. “It was as though the devil stood at the foot of the bed waiting to take him. He was terrified.”
Other words have been recorded by people facing death. King Solomon wrote, “Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content … all is vanity… like chasing after the wind.” After much searching, he concluded: “Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy. “My life has already been poured out as an offering to God…I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me.”
Talented comedian John Belushi said, “Just don’t leave me alone”, as he was injected with the “speedball” drug that killed him.
As Wilson Mizner, a successful playwright lay dying, a priest came to him and said, “I’m sure you want to talk to me.” Mizner said, “Why should I talk to you? I’ve been talking to your boss.”
We all need to talk with The Boss, the Lord Almighty, the One who holds life and death in His hands, the One who sent His Son so that any man or woman who believed in Him need never fear death, for real life everlasting is on the other side of this fleeting one.
Last words count. How my parents faced death impacted my faith, my worship of Jesus Christ, my attitude toward dying, and my attitude toward living. Their last words were a gift and a testimony.