And he made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon. (2 Chronicles 3:14, KJV, Solomon built the veil)
When someone/loved one is dying there are some common realities in this life that everyone will face, that’s called, suffering! The realities of the loss of a loved one can be gut-wrenching suffering. Dying, death, & grief is the one thing that is actually the other side of loving. For the hospital chaplain providing pastoral care, we call this, “comfort care.” “Comfort Measures Only (CMO) is a care plan that includes physician orders that address patient's potential bodily symptoms of discomfort that may be implemented when curative treatment has been stopped and death is expected,” (Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being, 2022). From the Christian faith tradition, the hospital chaplain’s biblically views the veil of the temple is rent as a visual symbolic example of our Savior’s death, so that His presence would be released to us. Scripture says, when Jesus died, the veil was torn from top to bottom.
HEALING is not a reward, as if someone works to get it, deserves it, and/or earned it, as some don’t even care! Thankfully, God’s ways are not our ways, He reigns on the just as well as the unjust, He loves and cares for us all. Scripture states, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust,” (Matthew 5:45, KJV). He decides who will be healed and how. (Dufresne, N. 2022) Remember, that healing can take place on earth or through death where God decides to take that loved one home with Him, to end their suffering through death. Over the past few years of the pandemic, many loved one’s have died from various forms of trauma. This has been an extended season of facing sickness, disease, suffering, dying, and death for many.
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the
top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints
which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and
went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
(Matthew 27: 51-53, KJV)
Amazingly signs, wonders, & miracles took places between the life & death veils of our Lord on that day. What will you do in that moment of the death of a loved one?
First, let me state this before I provide you with a few bedside tips as a loved one is transitioning/passing. Believe me it’s one of the toughest moments for all of us. The hospital chaplain isn’t exempt from feeling your pain at that moment with you. We have learned to partner with you within your suffering moments as a means of comforting you and your family by being present. We are present to provide a prayerful, calming atmosphere of God’s presences, even in our quietness in the room with you. Since you have been informed by the patient’s/loved one's physician that your loved one will soon transition/pass. Here are some advanced tips that one might ponder utilizing in preparation of the death of your loved one when they take their last breath:
1. If you are blessed to be with them when they are actually dying, do absolutely nothing. Sit in silence and embrace the moment and be present in the early moments of the death.
2. Pause for just a moment to give yourself a chance to embrace the shock of the death.
3. Once you are ready, do one small thing, call one person, and have them contact others on your behalf.
4. This is important give your mind, emotions, body and soul/spirit an opportunity to catch up to the moments following the death.
5. As they are transitioning give the gift of presence by keeping the space around your loved one’s body quiet, calm, & peaceful in the room. Know that you have been given a gift by being privileged to be present for their death. Help launch them into a beautiful death experience through managing your own emotions for a moment until they are gone from their body. *Calming ideas: tell them how much you love them and how grateful you are to have had them in your life. Play their favorite songs, sing to them, tell them a favorite memory that you shared together, or even read their favorite scriptures and/or heartfelt poems. Please remember as your loved one is dying their hearing is the last thing to go, even if they are unconscious.
As I am returning to the hospital chaplaincy ministry arena in my 10th year of serving in my calling on my life, please know that I sincerely hope that this 1st blog of 2023 will provide you with some insight and spiritual tips in serving your loved ones through dying, death, & grieving. Each one reach one and pray for one. We all will face this moment in our lifetime, so be understanding and compassionate with one another. Know two people grieve the same, respect and honor one another’s grieving process. Don’t rush through it and don’t rush others through it. Know that there are two sides of serving a loved one through the process of the veil (life & death). God will provide you with His grace to get through it.
A facilitator of His Inspiration for the Soul!
Dr. Jacqueline M. Pressey,
Hospital Chaplain, Evangelist, & Inspirational Author
Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being, (2022). Retrieved April 30, 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8740772/#:~:text=Comfort%20Measures%20Only%20(CMO)%20is%20a%20care%20plan%20that%20includes,stopped%20and%20death%20is%20expected.
Kerr, S. (2018). The First Thing to Do When Someone Dies. Retrieved video April 20, 2023, from https://www.facebook.com/SoulPassages/videos/610729049323633/?t=59.
Patten, L. (2023). When the Last Days Keep Lasting. Retrieved April 20, 2023 from https://larrypatten.substack.com/p/when-the-last-days-keep-lasting?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=854155&post_id=102457180&isFreemail=true.
Pattern, L. (2023). Overhearing Greed. Retrieved April 22, 2023 from https://larrypatten.substack.com/p/overhearing-greed?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=854155&post_id=103855996&isFreemail=true.