I was with her when she passed. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I am holding on to it to get me through the next few decades without my baby sister. I need to share this, but I hesitate to “cast my pearls before swine to be trampled.” So no trampling, please.
My sister had been paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident and was in and out of the hospital for the remaining nine years of her life. She practiced the Baha’i faith, and she loved Jesus. She also loved Buddha, Muhamed, Confucius, etc. We talked about our faiths often, and we listened to each other with interest and without judgment. She often asked me to pray for her – for healing, pain relief, peace, or strength.
In January 2014, sixteen months ago, we were told she had only a few weeks to live. I prayed fervently that the Lord would keep her alive until she was HIS. She may well have already been HIS. I do not presume to know one way or the other, but because I didn’t know, I prayed.
Last Friday, May 8, 2015, her health was failing so suddenly and quickly that the family was called together. As I was driving, in the privacy of my car, I rebuked Satan, and I rebuked him loudly. I screamed at him to take his dirty, rotten, stinking hands off of my sister – that she did NOT belong to him, and I began to pray in the spirit.
When I arrived, the sight of my sister broke my heart. She was moaning and groaning with her eyes half opened, unable to speak or communicate in any way. She couldn’t even write messages – no muscle control. Sometimes her groans were cries that should have produced tears, sometimes they were angry screams, and sometimes they were just attempts to talk. The groans came with every single breath. Every now and then, she opened her eyes wide, looking at something over our shoulders that wasn’t there – or, at least, WE couldn’t see anything.
We didn’t take turns sitting with her but wandered in and out of the room. There were usually two or three people at a time with her, but the last time I sat with her, we were alone. I held her hand and looked into her eyes. I started singing softly to her. I sang the songs of Jesus’ love that I used to sing to my babies. And I sang her own name over her (Kyrie Shalom – a prayer for peace). After a while, she opened her eyes wide and looked directly at me with a look of fear and anger. Her incessant moans were infused with hostility – like she wanted to cuss at me, which was not like my sister. I rebuked the enemy and repeated the name of Jesus over and over again softly – almost a whisper – very close to her face. And I prayed in the spirit.
Then God took over. I say that because I was opening my mouth without knowing what would come out of it. Her eyes no longer looked hateful, but they were fixed on mine and mine were fixed on hers. I couldn’t have turned my eyes away if I had wanted to. Her pupils were extremely dilated, and it felt as if I were being drawn into the deepest depths of her soul. I don’t remember all that came out of my mouth at this point, but I do remember frequently murmuring, “Yes. Jesus.” and involuntarily nodding my head as if answering a question affirmatively, or encouraging her to continue doing something.
Her moans started to subside until finally they stopped altogether, and she began to breathe deeply. I kept talking to her in barely a whisper, holding her hand, and looking into her eyes. My sister-in-law and my niece, who had been her caregivers for the previous week, came into the room to get her meds ready and to check her bandages, but their presence went unnoticed by Kyrie, and barely noticed by me. While they busied around in the background, Kyrie and I were in trance … in another world.
Her eyes would occasionally droop heavily only to open again and look into my eyes, and again I would say, “Yes” or “Jesus” or “It’s OK” or whatever else decided to come out of my mouth. It occurred to me later that I was smiling at this point – not because I was trying to reassure her, but because I was full of inexplicable, yet undeniable joy and excitement. I expected her to drift off to sleep now that she was calm, but she took one last deep breath, and then she was gone.
What an honor it was to walk with her to the very threshold of Heaven. And in doing so, my own questions and concerns were assuaged. I know my sister is not just “resting” in peace – she is walking, running, jumping, and dancing – even doing cartwheels and back flips … with Jesus!