I just received an email that a friend was near death because of cancer. I haven't seen this friend in over 15 years but the news moved me to tears. I also felt prompted to send her some writings that have helped me think about death. I normally try not to impose writings, books, articles, on people in difficult situations but in this case I felt like God's Spirit was saying "Do this."
Here is what I sent her:
In a book called, "The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard, Dallas writes, "How then are we to think about the transition (from one life to the next)? Failure to have a way of thinking about it is one of the things that continues to make it dreadful even to those who have every confidence in Jesus. The unimaginable is naturally frightening to us. He then goes on to give a helpful picture made famous by Peter Marshall some years ago. It is the picture of a child playing in the evening among her toys. Gradually she grows weary and lays her head down for a moment of rest, lazily continuing to play. The next thing she experiences or "tastes" is the morning light of a new day flooding the bed and the room where her mother or father took her. Interestingly, we never remember falling asleep. We do not "see it" or "taste" it. (page 87).
Dallas also includes a letter from Vladimir Nabokov to his mother to console her on the death of his father,
"Three years have gone - and every trifle relating to father is still as alive as ever inside me. I am so certain, my love, that we will see him again, in an unexpected but completely natural heaven, in a realm where all is radiance and delight. He will come towards us in our shared bright eternity, slightly raising his shoulders as he used to do, and we will kiss the birthmark on his hand without surprise. You must live in expectation of that tender hour, my love, and never give in to the temptation of despair. Everything will return." (page 85)
When I hear of your passing, I am sure I will weep more tears but I will also remember the words Dwight Moody remarked toward the end of his life, "One day you will hear that I am dead. Do not believe it. I will then be alive as never before."