Praying for a good death
I was recently on a podcast called You're On Mute with Aisha. Aisha is a friend of mine, a person who truly desires the best for all people. She is humble and fun and honest. We talked about many things, including the idea of a good death. As part of the podcast, we wrote letters to one another. Below is my letter to her.
I often visualize my own death. In my imagination, it is a good death. I am laying on my death bed, aware that I have reached the end. I am readying to make the final surrender, the biggest transition we must make in our lives—the letting go of our bodies so that we can pass into the next life.
I live my whole life to feel a certain way in this moment. Totally empty, having poured my whole self out for the world, having done everything I could to become the person God invited me to be. I feel satisfied for the gift that has been my life, I give thanks, and I let go.
Then I think about the moment I leave my body and enter the process of joining God. I finally encounter God in God’s total fullness, without any veil. Meeting God, I will say, “I did it, Lord, I did everything that you have asked of me.” And God will smile and say with tenderness, “Thank you.”
I live my whole life for those two moments. The inevitability of my death shapes my life: it shapes my path, my decisions, my heart and mind and soul. It helps me become the person I desire to be for myself, for others and for God. I want to die well, empty, yet totally full at the same time. Full of gratitude and love and joy.
What is a good death look like for you? Every day we witness people being robbed of a good death. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Men experiencing homelessness being shot in their sleep. Indigenous women and girls who are disappeared. Those dying in refugee camps. In the cruel and heartless wars in Ukraine, Ethiopia, and Yemen. Animals dying in laboratories, in factory farms, at the hands of poachers, as if they are objects that mean nothing.
God sees all. Every single creature deserves to die with dignity. May we all do our part to create the world that makes this possible.
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