Tuesday Night On-Call–October 2009

Prior to CPE, I hadn’t seen much death–old age, yes; deteriorating minds and bodies, yes; but actual dead bodies, no. Only a few and then only after those people had been “made presentable” by funeral homes. Bodies that sometimes appeared more pretty in the casket than they had at home. No, death in the hospital is no the pretty kind. At least not in the “made up” pretty sense.
Death in a hospital is more beautiful than pretty. Perhaps not a word often attributed to death or moments after someone’s last inhalation and exhalation, but there is something beautiful about death. There’s a sacredness to sitting at the bedside of death with family and friends attempting to say good-bye. There’s a peace in the room amidst the tears and anguish. There’s a calm in the air along with the chaos and confusion.
It’s a moment where the thin veil between we mortals and the Mystery of God is ever so slightly lifted. And in these moments I touch the holy.