I lost one of the hospice patients I regularly visit this morning, and I am deeply saddened.

DSC02120Saddened because I will miss her, even though we never had a real conversation. There were no long, or even brief, talks between the two of us. Our visits were always one-sided. I talked; she listened. And that’s the way it has been every Saturday since August.

I had come to the nursing home this morning armed with a freshly downloaded reading of the book of John on my iphone to share with Lillian. I eagerly stepped into her room and found her physically present—but, sadly, gone.

As I turned to go for help, a nurse and coroner with his gurney quietly entered the room. They told me Lillian had passed about an hour before I arrived.

Over the past three months, I read numerous Bible passages to her, prayed over her, and listened to some of my favorite hymns with her.

Like I said, we never had a chance to engage in a formal conversation. But I could tell when she enjoyed a particular song. And I could see by her physical movements or her facial expressions that she was listening to my words.

I heard something beautiful in a hospice meeting earlier this week. One woman in training said, “I like to tell the family at the passing of their loved one, that their last breath on earth, is their first breath in Heaven.” Then she said, “Death is nothing to be afraid of.”

I pray my loved ones at death will pass over into eternity to be with our Heavenly Father. I want that for Lillian. I want that for my friends. And I want that basically for everyone!

So while today is a sad day, it’s also a day for rejoicing.

For “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

John 5:24

Rest now in peace, dear Lillian.