Coping with Death

Donna Westrate

READ : Ecclesiastes 7:1-9

I became aware of the brevity of life as a very young child, the age of seven to be exact, when my mother passed away having suffered for two years with cancer. As a nurse on a large oncology unit of a local medical center, I’m confronted with death daily. As I assist patients and their families to cope and “let go,” I find myself asking God, “Why?”

It brings me back to my childhood years when, for the longest time, I posed that question to God: How could You take away the most important figure in my life, at a time when I needed her most? As I reflect on the past, God provided His comfort. He gave love to me from a variety of sources. God’s plans are marvelous and we need not interfere by questioning “Why?” We only need to trust as He supplies His grace to us. It was through my mother’s death that I vowed at an early age to become a nurse. I knew I could never alleviate her suffering, but I could do for others as though they were my mother, and in so doing, glorify God.

If you’ve flown in an airplane on a dismal day, you’ve funneled through murky nothingness, until suddenly you flew into the brightest sunshine. I chuckle to myself thinking, does anyone on that dismal earth know how truly beautiful it is up here?


Dear Father, help us not to fear death, but anticipate being in Your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.