Monday, August 24, 2015

What Do You Say...

to someone who has decided they are about to die?

Yesterday afternoon my neighbor knocked at my door.  When she sat down at my kitchen table she told me that she wanted to see me before she died.

Alberta has had a rough go of it.  She is about my age but looks 20 years older.  She has already gone through treatment for cancer and she won that round.  She has been experiencing pain and has had all sorts of tests run.  The results will be in on Tuesday and she will find out what is wrong.

Alberta's life has been one of hard work and struggles.  She spent many years doing farm work with her husband up to the time of his death.  She lost a daughter who passed on several years ago.  Her grandson is in jail for attempted burglary.  She has a couple of other useless adult children, the worst being her son.  I have seen him sitting behind the wheel of his car, watching his mother who walks with a cane, struggle up the walk with half a dozen bags of groceries.  The only thing preventing him from helping her was a case of lazy.

And now she has made up her mind that she is about to die.

As I was trying to figure out what I could say to her to help, I remembered that she is a very plain spoken woman.  You never have to wonder what Alberta thinks.  She will tell you straight out.

So I said, "Alberta, you know that you are just plain too mean to die."

And she looked at me and started to laugh.  I reminded her that she hadn't seen the test results yet.  Maybe things weren't as bad as she thought.  I said that she should just wait and see what happened before deciding to die.  And she agreed that would be the best course of action.

She left my apartment with a smile on her face and a promise to let me know what happened at her Tuesday appointment.

Maybe Alberta's condition isn't all that bad.  Maybe it is worse.  Maybe she will die soon.  Only God knows.  What I do know is sometimes we are required to come up with just the right thing to say or do in a particular situation.  I don't know if I am up to that task.

And if you are of a mind to, please remember Alberta in your prayers.  She needs all the help she can get.


  1. Whatever her condition, you brightened her day. That's a good thing.

  2. I hope so, Jess...The only thing I could think of to do was try to get her to smile.


  3. Does anyone ever know what to say? We do the best we can and I think you said just what she needed to hear. If I was feeling down I would like to hear just what you told your friend. Prays for her that the test will be good news.

  4. steakandeggs...You are right. We don't know what we would say or do until the time comes. Thank you for adding your prayers to mine.

  5. Vicki, you don't have to be up to the task. Just ask God to give you the right words, and let Him do it. Besides, I think that's what you just did. :)

  6. Rev, Paul...I think you are right. Telling a friend in that situation that she was just too mean to die is not something I would even think about saying. God has the words, even when we don't.

  7. Maybe in her mind she's better off in passing. I applaud your kind words to her. Something that most folks don't know how to do any more.

  8. Rob...I think it is more that she is afraid she has cancer again and that she doesn't think she could survive either the disease or the treatment. All I did was try to help a neighbor.

  9. Thank you, Gorges...I can always count on you.