I Interviewed A Dying Man….

I interviewed a dying man once. I was visibly shocked when he calmly informed me that this was the case. He mentioned it as you would the weather, or how shocking the train service has been of late. It was matter of fact, making conversation, a throwaway comment. To many, that sounds as if he did not value his life, that he had given up, that he no longer cared. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The dying man had lived a full life, an incredible life which he gradually revealed to me during the course of our interview. If I were to tell you half of it, you might raise an eyebrow but I can tell you that it is all true, having researched this man before we met l. He had squeezed every last drop out of it, and now looked back upon it as it drew to a close.

He spoke clearly to me throughout, and his eyes had a piercing intensity that suggested an iron will and steely focus. For this man, though dying, had unfinished business. Which was why he had agreed to meet me, after weeks of careful brokering via an intermediary. There was still work for him to do, and I was the conduit he had chosen to facilitate his dying wish.

I cannot tell you what that wish was, as to do so would reveal his identity and betray his trust. Other than to say, if and when it is fulfilled, it will probably feature on the front page of many newspapers. There are very few people on this planet who can work towards granting his wish, but I happen to be one of them. I feel pressure, responsibility, a burden. But it is one that I gladly accept.

The dying man told me exactly what I needed him to tell me. The baton had been passed on, the gauntlet thrown down. The ball was and is in my court now. The dying man told me he had found his faith in the depths of his despair. As such, he was prepared to meet his Maker. He believed and had spent the latter years of his life helping others as God had helped him through his own personal valley of death. He believed.

This incredibly intelligent, wildly successful man believed. Prior to meeting him, I was somewhat in awe of his achievements and reputation, I was nervous meeting him, unsure as to what to expect. Yet where I might have expected arrogance and vanity, instead I found humility and compassion. He was at peace with his circumstances and his diagnosis. Utterly confident as to what lay ahead.

Yet, I still doubt. I waver, I falter, I stumble in my faith. This great man had chosen me to assist in granting his dying wish. Am I even fit to lace his shoes? As we shook hands at the end of our meeting he said two words to me – ‘God Bless’ – and it was as if his eyes bored into my soul, stripping away all the earthly layers and seeing me for the broken earthly vessel I am. Yet still, he believes in me. He trusts me to deliver my end of the bargain.

I saw life in his eyes. Life and hope and purpose. The dying see the world in 20/20. They see the rest of us, the living, as we stumble about lost in our earthly fogs. The dying implore us to carry on, to realise their dreams and aspirations. They see that time is short, but they know the truth. I interviewed a dying man and looked into his eyes. He shared his truth with me.

38 thoughts on “I Interviewed A Dying Man….

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  1. OMG Stephen. This raised the hairs on the back of my neck, because It reminds me of when I had the Last Rjtes administered. I was dying. Literally. And in those moments we laughed and laughed, and shared joy together (me and the priest) and I can honestly say they were the most beautiful moments of my life. I “saw” into eternity. I heard the Saints praying for me. “I’m going home” I said to the priest, smiling and joyful. Smiling herself (she was Anglican so female priests are allowed there) she said, “Yes.” The happiest moment of my life. I slept…..and lived! And I am here to tell the tale! And that is why I write. Because of what I “saw.”

    Wow, this made me shiver Stephen. And the part that you played and still have to play in it. So glad you wrote this. I too will say “God bless” to you, though it will not have the same effect as that man’s “God bless” did.

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  2. Love the last paragraph especially! I can imagine seeing the world in 20/20. Being able to look past the superficial things that don’t hold nearly the value we place on it and being able to focus on the things that DO deserve our value! What an honor-thanks for sharing this experience with us!

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  3. Most of us will not have exactly the same kind of opportunity, but all of us can experience something similar to it, by engaging in genealogical research. When you have in front of you the evidence of an ancestor’s existence – birth, marriage, death, census records – even as scanty as they are, they endow you with a new understanding of history, and you develop a God’s-eye view of the meaning and purpose of life.

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  4. Eloquently spoken! I too have had the honor to be a part of the dying side. I have been a hospice nurse here in the states and it is always a privilege to walk along and speak comfort into those who need it and also to relish in the spiritual realm that we cannot see. The experience is real. Thank you for sharing your light in this story. He is the way the truth and the life! Here and in heaven.

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  5. Stephen, I am in awe of the way your words illuminated God. There is no explanation for how and why God does things. Our response can only be awe, even in our stumble. Because His grace tells us it is ok to ask questions, to doubt and to ponder. In doing so, He draws us ever near. May God bless you today, Stephen.

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  6. Awesome, thank you! As a provider of pastoral care in our local Hospice Chapter, I am continually in awe of the folks I have the honor of being with. Most often they express a clarity about life that is usually hidden in the rest of us. Though they reside at death’s door, many of these folks live their days in love, expressed in ways I cannot approach on my own.
    Blessings,
    Chuck

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  7. Your post (which I read twice) leaves me with a multitude of questions. Who is he? What is his dying wish? Do I know of this person? Is he famous? Is he a political figure? A celebrity? A sports star? How did he pick you to fulfill his dying wish? Maybe someday you can publish “the rest of the story”.

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  8. It is amazing how we look to people before we learn their story. Before we see their humanity. It speaks greatly and especially when you see how their faith is despite circumstances and trust in God. It’s something hard for many to grasp and see. I’m glad you got this opportunity.

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