99% of death I have experienced in Haiti has been of a child, usually after long suffering and unimaginable conditions. Last night I once again found myself in the midst of those sacred hours but the evening of standing watch was so very different than any other.
Last night I was invited into the home of a family who was gathered around
their dying grandmother. As I cautiously entered the darkened space I felt very
intrusive. I tried to move silently through the crowded room to the chair they
offered me. I sat next to the bed of this dying woman and held her hand, 2
fingers resting on her wrist feeling her faint pulse flutter. One by one her
family began to share about her life, the children she had lost the ways she had
worked to provide for her remaining daughter and grandchildren and most
importantly, her unfaltering faith. As they began to talk about her love
for Jesus and her hope of Heaven her pulse began to quicken and became strong
and steady. Her soul knew that the end was near and her faith would soon become
As the room fell silent again a soft singing began at the back of the room
and rose throughout all the woman who were gathered around their family mother.
They sang about gold and feasts and no more tears or pain, about the face of the
Lord, shining like the sun. At the end of the song I struggled to hold my
composure as her daughter whispered, “He will say to her ‘well done my good and
faithful servant’ I know He will”.
This morning a sweet, 84 year old servant left this world behind and heard
the words she had longed for “well done”. No more pain, no more hunger, today
she is feasting with The King. When I face the hardest of situations in Haiti,
the ones where I just can’t cope or accept, I will often close my eyes
and imagine the beauty of Heaven’s first glimpse for those who have known the
most pain in this life. Last night was not a difficult death to watch, as far as
death goes. She was ready, her life had been long and her time was through but
still I imagine the heartbreak she had known, the loved ones she had buried, the
nights she had slept on a dirt flood through the pain of an empty belly. I think
of those things being suddenly replaced by the most joy we could ever imagine
and I can’t even comprehend the drastic contrast
The sweet assurance of salvation is so precious and near today.