by Angela Rush
It was a cold December afternoon.
Some friends and I had gathered around a tiny greenhouse in the backyard of one of my dearest friends. The ground had a light dusting of snow on it; our breath could be seen as we spoke softly to each other. We were as frozen in our stance as the ground was frozen beneath our feet.
Why were the ten of us gathered around a greenhouse, you might ask?
Well, we were saying goodbye to my sweet friend. Her name is not important, but what I do want to share is how her passing came to be.
After having suffered for nearly four years, our friend decided to have a physician assisted passing.
None of us knew about this until after she had gone.
It was a strange feeling that her death didn’t happen; it was chosen. She was able to choose when, with the aid of a physician, to end her time.
I am grateful that she isn’t suffering, but it stirred up some emotions. Should such an option exist for us?
Having lost my own daughter and having had to watch her suffer so much, I sometimes wonder, if the option had existed years ago, would my daughter have chosen this method also.
So there I stood, about to sprinkle the ashes of my sweet friend around the greenhouse; emotions flooded my being. I kept asking myself one question over and over. Was it the right thing to do?
I don’t know.
This sweet friend of mine was more Christ-like than anyone I have ever met.
I felt the deep pain that her husband was in as he handed me a ladle of her ashes. So as I sprinkled some of her ashes and planted a few angel trumpet seeds, I was struck by a simple vision that I knew came from both heaven itself and the spirit of my friend.
In the corner of the tiny greenhouse was a single pink snap dragon that had blossomed from the frozen ground. Jesus does do the impossible, and in that moment in the freezing cold a flower had grown. This wasn’t a heated greenhouse, it was a tiny one of Plexiglas that was as cold inside it as we were outside. It sat on the ground, the same ground that we stood upon and it was on that ground that the tiny miracle answered my questions.
Her husband pointed out the flower and with tears he said “she is with us in spirit as she lives with the Lord.”
God is in control; the physician assisting is merely a tool.
It was God who gave my friend the strength to journey home peacefully. He chose the time and moment she was able to make this very difficult decision. She would have sought out God in every aspect through this journey, and likely turned to him more in making this decision than ever before.
Whether it is right or wrong is not for us to question. We are to be who we are no matter how any passing occurs.
A rigidness in me left that moment I saw the flower.
We are to continue to love and support each through the grieving and to treat this type of passing as we would any other.
Knowing the heart of my friend, I know how difficult it was for her to choose to leave her husband and family. Her passing was courageous. It was not wrong nor was it an escape.
I learned from the tiny flower that in all things, seek God.
Life does blossom again.
Angela Rush is the Advertising Representative for the Niagara Anglican.