I looked from my phone to the room of 7th grade students reviewing Pentecost in partners.
“Guys, I have to step outside for a minute. I think I might have a family emergency.”
As I closed the door behind me, I heard Luke say, “Everybody! We have to say a prayer for Miss Sloan! She has a family emergency!”
I called Dad, and my suspicions were confirmed. “Grandpa has begun the process of actively dying. He has one to three days left. Come home as soon as you can.”
I hung up the phone and walked back into the classroom.
“Is everything okay, Miss Sloan?” Tim asked, concerned.
“Not really, it looks like my grandpa is passing away. I have to go home for a few days.”
There was a chorus of ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘We’ll pray for him.’ I tried to continue with the lesson, but they wanted to know more about my grandpa. So we put the book down to do some real learning, together.
“Are you sad?”
“I am sad, because I really love him. But it’s a joyful thing too.”
“How can it be joyful? He’s dying.”
“You know how moms cry when a baby is born?”
Chorus of nods.
“It’s kind of like that. Because death is like preparing to go on a journey to new life with God. I get to help him prepare for his journey to heaven. And there he won’t die anymore.”
At this point a very sincere girl furrowed her brow and raised her hand. “So there’s like…actually….no death?”
“Nope. There’s no death.”
“Oh,” she said quietly.
Twenty-four hours later, as I sat at the foot of my grandfather’s bed and watched him draw his final breaths, I remembered that conversation.
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