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“She’s going to die any day now. And just so you know she’s an atheist, has been all of her life.”
Marion was a retired, spinster school teacher. She even corrected me a time or two on my grammar. English teacher, though I don’t recall being told that was what she had taught. Her corrections of my grammar enlightened me.
Rita warned me because she knew I’m a Christian. It all happened way back in the summer of 1987. Rita called me because I had done short-term in home health care for her husband. In those days it didn’t cost a whole lot to put an ad in the local paper-like now! You have to take out a small loan just to get some business unless you know someone who knows someone..
I stayed with Marion the last two days of her life. And I was the only one there when her time came to leave this world. She’d been pretty much bedfast the last several months and Rita had been there day and night and needed a break.
The hospital bed Marion now lived her dying days in was right next to a small table where she sometimes sat to eat her meals. That is if she had any strength! Getting out of the bed with quite a bit of assistance was draining on her frail body.
Marion was a tiny woman. She couldn’t have been more than five feet. I guess she weighed all of about 60 pounds from the illness. I don’t remember what that was either, but she was in her late eighties. Silver gray hair framed the now gaunt little face. Might have been she was just worn out from carrying the burden of unrepentant stuff.
I remember when I was only eighteen how my own sins weighed me down before I accepted Jesus!
Her thin voice was quiet most of the time and she didn’t ask for much: maybe a drink of water now and then to quench her thirst. I can’t remember her even getting up to use the potty.
Her last day on earth though, Marion got up out of her horizontal prison of the last few months pretty much on her own to sit at the table for lunch! They say dying people sometimes have one last burst of energy like that. But I really didn’t know that little fact then. It was my very first and last time to ever witness anyone’s last breath!
Not knowing it was to be her last hour, however I asked if I could read from the Bible. Feebly and miraculously she agreed.
It’s hard to remember what Psalms I read from. Marion seemed to gain some sort of peace until I read something about the wicked being turned into hell. Well, it was right there and I wasn’t thinking of her; I was just reading.
But it was then that Marion told me to stop. She didn’t want to hear any more. And it was right about then that she began almost frantically yelling, “Help me. Help me, please. Someone help me!" in a very frightened tone. But with a grace I didn’t know I could have beside a person leaving this earth I leaned into Marion’s right ear and whispered, “Marion, call on Jesus. Call on Jesus now.”
I didn’t hear her say anything at all.
Rita was just getting there. I, of course had called her when Marion began leaving. Rita called the coroner. I gently cleansed Marion’s now lifeless body. After the coroner arrived and questioned me to his satisfaction, I was allowed to leave.
Walking home that afternoon, I actually saw Marion being carried in the arms of either Jesus or an Angel, (with the eyes of my spirit, of course.) I can still see her going up with him whichever it was. Goes to show that our God is infinitely merciful and loving to send a messenger to instruct her WHO to actually call for help at the last moment.
That’s one assignment I will never forget, and I didn’t even know I was on a mission from heaven!
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