The Death Watch

The death watch is what I found the hardest part of nursing during my years as an intensive care nurse and honestly I think it is the hardest part of life.  My husbands father’s health has been a roller coaster since January 19th and he has not been able to make it out of a hospital setting since.  The last two and a half weeks he has been in critical condition in an intensive care unit.  One day he would take baby steps forward and the next day a step back.  With all the surgeries, medications, procedures, and treatments it became clear yesterday that his body was just worn out.  The family was faced with the decision to stop treatments and allow him to pass peacefully and comfortably.  Some death watches are quick and a shock like my father was on March 11th last year.  Sometimes they take hours or days this death watch was about twenty four hours. Sometimes a loved one goes to visit their family and finds their family member already passed with no decisions left to be made.  This happened to a friend of ours with his father just this week.  I think of those in the hands of murderous evil barbarians waiting for their execution and murder. No matter the circumstances it is so hard.  As a patient advocate it always has broken my heart for the patient as they go through the agonizing transition from physical life to death.  Memories of patients and their families keep flooding my mind.  Each experience is forever etched into my memory and has become a part of what defines my own life.

To realize that God actually came down to go through this agonizing experience of physical death is amazing to me.  Jesus’ agony started in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prayed “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Luke 22:42 Knowing what was coming he was in such agony he sweat drops of blood.  “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”  Luke 22:44

We are sinful undeserving people yet God came to face the agony of physical death as well as carry the weight of all mankind’s sin.  We still face physical death, but when we put our trust in Jesus we don’t have to face death of our soul.   We do not have to be separated from God the giver of life.   Jesus had the ultimate death watch.   As he was in agony gasping for breath on that cross with every nerve ending in his body screaming in pain he cried out “It is Finished”  John 19:30  He paid the price of sin once and for all.   He rose again in three days victorious over physical and spiritual death!!   My husbands father was a wonderful man, but through many conversations with him he wasn’t really confident in putting his trust in Jesus.  After his heart stopped and he was revived a few weeks ago we had a few limited conversations.  Every time I said to him God gave you another chance and has you here for a reason he nodded his head “yes” aggressively.  A week ago Saturday evening I found myself with the opportunity to speak with him alone.  He had a breathing mask on and he is hard of hearing so I trust that the Holy Spirit helped cross the communication barriers.  I asked him if he remembered me going to speak with him about Jesus a little over a year ago and he nodded “yes”.  I asked him if he saw Jesus when his heart stopped and they were reviving him.  Again he nodded “yes”.  I asked him if he now believed that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for him?  Again he nodded his head “yes”.    Through that whole conversation we were staring each other straight in the eyes.  We don’t get to know on this side of heaven, but if that nod of the head “yes” was sincere then that is where he is today.   God is a God of second chances and every soul is worth that death on the cross to him.  All we have to do is say “yes I believe that Jesus is the Son of God”.  If you have never said “yes” to Jesus please don’t waste another minute.  We don’t know when it may be our last chance.  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

2 thoughts on “The Death Watch

  1. Wonderful perspective! Anita, I am so glad you were taught to love the Lord and that you were receptive to that teaching! I know tomorrow will be very difficult for you, Mary Sue, Valerie and your families. I pray God will be your constant companion and comfort as you relive the memories of Ken: sad, touching, happy and funny! I’ll be praying for y’all. And I’ll be praying for you and your family in the loss of your precious Father-in-Law and rejoice with you at his going Home.

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    1. Thank you so much Brenda for your sweet words. We definitely appreciate the prayers!! I know grief is something that we all have to face and I know you miss Dean!! I will always remember how hard he laughed and how red his face was when that kiddo said a bad word during dad’s children sermon and dad had no clue what he said. LOL

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