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Dying: it's been done before

Feb. 29, 2016
By Dale Kovar

(This ran as an introduction to the newspaper's special section about end-of-life and dying topics.)


When we were choosing topics for special newspaper sections, the idea of death and dying was awkwardly proposed.

We publish sections on various topics – automotive, farm, health and medical, weddings, baseball, families, home and yard, entertainment, etc.

This one was different. The other subjects are generally viewed positively. This one makes us uncomfortable.

But slowly we realized, despite the discomfort, this topic affects all people.

Everyone gets a turn. One turn.

If you haven’t experienced the death of someone close to you yet, you will someday. The only way you won’t is if you happen to go first.

After choosing to highlight this topic, we struggled with a name – “Estate and Pre-Planning,” “Sympathy and Understanding,” “End of Life Issues,” or even outright “Death and Dying.”

It’s a subject that many of us like to avoid, but the issues involving the last stages of life, and death itself, are just as important as any others we face along the way.

Death and dying is an industry – funeral homes, florists, monuments, hospice care, medical care to delay death, estate planning, counseling, life insurance, and many more.

It’s a sensitive matter because we know the emotional grief associated with it.

And it’s never easy. One day Mom is here and gone the next, or Dad withers away for many months in medical facilities. Whether sudden or prolonged, death is painful.

I’ll never forget 20 years ago when my uncle with colon cancer entered hospice care. A nurse asked him how he felt about dying.

His response was: “It’s been done before.”

We didn’t quite know if he was joking or serious, or a combination. But it was a simple, profound statement.

Christians have hope in the knowledge of resurrection and eternal life in a perfect place – Heaven – without pain or problems. All one has to do is accept that gift.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” – Revelation 21:4 (New Living Translation)

An obituary we carried in our newspapers last year included a quote from D. L. Moody which sums it up nicely: “As soon as you read in the newspaper that I am dead, don’t believe it for a minute. I will be more alive than ever before.”

In the meantime, we have today’s newspaper and our “Estate, Pre-Planning, and Sympathy” section. We hope you find it of value.


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