My childhood friend’s mother is dying.
She is doing it on her own terms.
She tried some of the treatments against her aggressive cancer, but when they didn’t work, she drew the line at pursuing the additional long shot treatment options. Instead, she spent the last several weeks of her life visiting with family…creating experiences and memories with those she loves.
It has been inspiring and humbling to see the Facebook photos of her sharing meals with loved ones, visiting wild horses on beaches, touring the National Cathedral.
Now she is home and the family is keeping vigil.
She is a woman of faith and so has no fears about what comes next.
I remember my Grandpa Russell saying that he was not afraid of dying…but he was in no hurry.
When his time came, I had the honor of being among the family members surrounding his bedside and spending his last moments with him.
There were other reminders this week of the times in our lives when we need to say goodbye and let things go.
A historic church in our town was torn down.
It was a beautiful building and had faithfully served its community for many years and through many generations.
My Grandpa Russell (mentioned and pictured above) was ordained as an elder in that very sanctuary and went on to serve many communities as a United Methodist minister.
But the building had reached the point where the money needed to restore it was better used to carry out ministry in the community.
The building was razed, but the ministry of the church congregation continues.
A third reminder this week took place in another church sanctuary two hours south of our town.
My brother-in-law retired after nearly 40 years as a Presbyterian minister.
There was a gathering and worship and communion and singing and remembering.
And then it was time to say goodbye.
So this week I was reminded that people, places and careers all have their seasons.
And then it is time to say goodbye.
It is time to let go.
One of the speakers at the retirement worship service pulled out a quote, sometimes attributed to Dr. Seuss.
It rings true whether we are letting go of a loved one, or a loved place or a fruitful career…
Don’t be sad because it’s over. Be glad it happened.