She was 97 years old, very frail and near her dying day.
She was cared for by her grandchildren most of the time, for she refused to be put in a hospice facility. She received hospice care at home because her dying wish was to die in her own bed, her own house.
Her grandson tried everything he could to honor his grandmother’s dying wish. It was not always easy for the whole family, but it was her wish, and who doesn’t want to honor a dying wish. The whole family needed to rally together to make it happen.
At times though, the stress of the situation brought upon it some division in the way that she was cared for. Everyone had good intentions for her; however, everyone thought their way was better.
One great-grandchild said to a grandchild, his uncle, as he watched him walk through the door with hotdogs in his hands to put in the refrigerator, "Oh no, you better not be feeding those hot dogs to her. The nurse that I talked to the other night said that she should not have hot dogs because her digestive tract cannot handle it.”
Oh, this made the uncle furious. After all, he was the one that was there day in and day out. He lived across the street from her. He and his wife did most of the caretaking. He was tired and weary and that comment sent him spinning. He threw the object that he had in his hand and rushed out the door in a hurry, yelling, “If you don’t like how we are handling things, then you do it.”
The door slammed.
The nephew and his wife left out the door within minutes after the uncle, and not-so-nice words were spoken by both men as they were getting in the car. The nephew's wife told him to go back and apologize. However, the pride was all over her husband’s face as he refused and began to justify his behavior.
He could not stop talking about how those hot dogs should not be given to such a frail lady. And he was determined not to go back. He had his mind set that he was right.
However, his wife continued to expose it for what is was. It was that pimple of pride, and he could not see it because he had not looked in the mirror. However, when she opened up the Word of God and held it up to his face, and after reading James 1:19-26, he could see into the perfect law that gives him freedom. He decided to go back and do the right thing.
The nephew knocked on the door of his uncle’s house. He went into the house, still unsure of what he would say, so he just listened. It was evident that his uncle was very unhappy, yet he calmly declared, “That was very belittling.”
The nephew said, “I came to apologize for disrespecting you.” The uncle accepted the apology and began to testify that he loves her just as much as the nephew did. The nephew wanted what was best for her, but the uncle wanted to give her what she wanted as her dying wish. “If she wants hot dogs, then I am going to give her hot dogs, it is her dying wish.”
They hugged and the abrasive of love shed off any hostility between them.
This is not always the case with families. In fact, if the nephew would not have gone back to apologize, then an ungodly division would have been created. The seed had already been planted in the nephew’s mind that he was not going to go his great-grandmother's funeral because of this. The gossip would have spread like wildfire, splitting the family in half. It really could have turned ugly. When the family would see each other again, the atmosphere would be so intense it would make everyone uncomfortable.
In my own family gatherings, I also have witnessed the fired-up flames of fury in the eyes of my relatives. They got mad over something and it has been years since they even spoke a word to each other.
It makes it harder for the family to gather at holidays, such as Christmas. Instead of being able to have the whole family together to enjoy family time, watching each other’s children grow, we have had to succumb to going to two different family parties.
It is just not the same as it used to be before that one little quarrel became a dividing line in the family.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, Jesus’ dying wish when his hour was quickly approaching was that we would become one, even as he and the Father were one.
Jesus said to the Father about those who belong to him, “Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are” (John 17:11, New Living Translation).
So again, who doesn’t want to honor a dying wish? Can’t we just get along? Can’t we just put our selfish ambitions, or the right to be right, aside for his sake? Their grandma’s dying wish was to die in her own bed, and eat her hot dogs. Jesus' dying wish was for us to be united.
From the beautiful memories of which they both lived, how they both gave selflessly to all of mankind, is there really a difference in which dying wish should be honored?