Many of us have sat by the side of a dying loved one, trying to bring comfort, trying to help prepare them for their final journey home. But it’s especially powerful and telling, isn’t it, when the person who is suffering is the one who brings the greatest measure of comfort and perspective?
Joan Batura, the mother of Paul Batura, a colleague here at Focus, received her promotion to glory on January 12th. By her own acknowledgment, she had lived a long and wonderful life. She loved Jesus, enjoyed a 57-year marriage, was blessed with five children and 12 grandchildren, had countless friends and continued to serve her Lord and church to the very end.
Paul was her youngest,and over the years they forged a very special bond. They loved many of the same things and spent hours talking and visiting, especially via phone since Paul’s family lives in Colorado and his parents are in Texas.
So at the end, there was Paul with his mother at hospice. The sad goodbye was upon them, and her son of 39 years was a puddle of tears.
“I was so afraid to leave,” he told me. “I knew it was the last time I would see her alive this side of heaven.”
Sensing this burden, Joan, frail and weak, on oxygen and barely able to move, pulled him towards her. “You are a gem, my last son. I am so thankful that I got to share you with Julie!” (Paul’s wife). And then she pulled him in even closer, and her eyes opened wide and sparkled for the first time all day. She smiled and whispered in his ear, “You are a light of my life. We will talk and see each other again, where there is no pain or suffering, where there is no sadness, only joy.”
Paul said he left with a lift, knowing that she was right, believing that the Lord was in full control.
“We were witnessing a saint at sunset,” Paul wrote.
What a powerful and poignant deathbed blessing to bestow upon a son, one that brings comfort and bespeaks of the absolute confidence that one who loves and commits him or herself to Jesus can enjoy.
That we all might be so bold and considerate as to bless others as we lay dying!
I’m curious. Have you experienced a similarly powerful end-of-life moment with a loved one? Sharing such an intimate time can be difficult, but it would undoubtedly bless others. I would very much like to hear from you.
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