Seven Things I’ve Learned About Death (from an ICU Nurse)

(1) Death is unnatural. It doesn’t feel right. When entering a room where there’s a body, nurses often turn on all the lights and the TV. Bodies were designed to host life. When the life goes elsewhere, its absence is felt.

(2) None of us knows when our time will come , so let people know you love them. Grieving isn’t about losing what was, but what could be. That’s why fractured relationships are so hard. All hope of reconciliation is gone. It’s better to resolve things now. The greatest pain of death is regret.

(3) Don’t ignore death. If you have symptoms, explore them. Too many deaths result from unheeded signals.

(4) Don’t give false comfort. Say only what’s true. For example, don’t talk about heaven if you don’t know the person belonged to Jesus (John 14:1-6).

(5) Tell the truth. Don’t lie about death to kids. Tell them what happened. They can handle it. And don’t just remember the good things. Remember who was, not who wasn’t. It’s healthier that way.

(6) Death clarifies what matters. It resets our importance meter. In order to live well you must confront your mortality.

(7) If you know it’s coming, rise to the challenge. It takes courage to grow old or get sick. Rather than squander your remaining time grieving, determine to make important things happen. Bless those who will one day follow your example.

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