You’ll know that phrase from one of two places, if not both. It’s a fragment of Ecclesiastes 3 in the Bible and words from a Beatles song [Turn!Turn!Turn!] inspired from the former.
Last night, technically early this morning, it was my Uncle’s time.
One thing made his time very hard.
Yesterday was my birthday.
My work phone lit up and it was a familiar personal number. On the other side of the phone, my brother asked if I knew the plans today for my Uncle. Those plans.
Uncle N was admitted to the hospital over 20 days ago as a precautionary measure. They wanted to make sure his discomforts with something very treatable were taken into consideration. At most, he should have been there three days. But his body was already wearing out and so this little scourge is what sent his body snowballing into a decline. The medical staff and family determined he wasn’t able to survive outside of medical intervention that would only prolong his suffering.
On Monday I was told his body was failing him. On Tuesday I saw him in the weakest and most desperate state, so uncomfortable, so tired of fighting. On Wednesday his children gathered for goodbye. And yesterday, we surrounded him in love and cried many tears together. I had prayed selfishly earlier that day, please don’t let him die on my birthday. Please don’t make my day of celebration one also filled with sadness every year as I remember his passing. I saw the hurt around me though, and knew for certain it was his time. That everyone who gathered from near and far needed closure, needed this to happen as we were gathered together. So, fighting back tears that night, I went into the hospital restroom and prayed once more. Lord, it’s okay. You can take him home today. I’m sorry for my selfish request. Please take him home peacefully.
He went to be with Jesus early this morning. We cried and hugged and cried and hugged some more. My cousin, his daughter, reached out for me and said, “It wasn’t your birthday. He didn’t leave on your birthday.” And with that I had peace.