Listening to stories told about what folks experience or say before death can bring chills throughout your body. My father was a minister who presided over many funerals. There were also many visits to the hospital to have a final talk with someone before they passed on. I guess you could say he had experience with life and death observation. He also seemed to have special insight into his own death.
Many people have a phrase or subject they like to repeat a lot. My Dad must have said a hundred times “I could die of a heart attack tomorrow.” This statement was used in sermons to illustrate that life can end quickly. During conversations you would hear this occasionally when he would talk about how we should appreciate each day. It was not a negative statement. Preachers just like to use powerful illustrations.
My Dad had to always have the last word. I think the training they give in the seminary required not only being persuasive like a salesman but winning the case like a lawyer. He studied facts and knew what he was talking about with knowledge. However, when someone is called to be a minister there is a bit of a spooky factor that comes with that job.
His last sermon was entitled “A step you cannot miss.” It was about death. Inside of this sermon was a plan for living. Take care of your health by living a clean life. Treat others well. Have a positive attitude. Make sure your relationship with God is right. The Christian plan for salvation was laid out in a simple yet convincing manner. He looked so healthy and happy while this message was given. For this to be his final sermon is unbelievable.
He died a few days later of a massive heart attack. His prayers were answered, because his request was always for a quick and painless death when the time came. Seeing all the misery in the hospitals can take its toil on a person and families with a long drawn out death process. He got his wish from God. I don’t think he is resting in peace; I think he is having a blast in heaven.
When I was given a copy of his last sermon tape, I realized that he had the last word. Not many people die and leave a tape for you with a good plan for living. Plus, not everyone leads by example of how to live a good life. Makes you think about how people may remember you. Maybe we all need to pray a bit more and be a little better influence on others. Not everyone can predict their own death, but we know it is a step we cannot miss.