Dr Pamela Prince Pyle

Embracing Life’s Final Chapter: Living while Dying

He lived an extraordinary life. A man that chased after life. Even as a young boy, he was known for his curiosity. As a life chaser, he had mountain top experiences as well as valleys that caused this grown man to weep as he shared them. He truly loved one woman and this woman was the yin to his yang, the calm to his storm, and the sun in his orbiting galaxy. He was a blessed man. 

When I first met him, he was living past his “expiration date” (his words) with a diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Despite the severity of his diagnosis and living beyond his prognosis, he was still chasing life.

I won’t forget that time he got a friend to pick him up and drive him around the county. 

He wanted to see the beauty of the countryside. They ended up at my house. I was delighted. 

Despite a very complicated process of getting both him and his wheelchair out of his van, he had a plan. With only one thumb truly able to follow his command, he hit the drive stick and promptly took off laughing. Shocked and a bit fearful for him, I began to hobble along on my crutches behind him. 

He made a quick 180 and passed me, shouting, “Look how fast this baby goes!” 

That morning was one of those times that became etched in my memory. We sat outside on our driveway and shared a lot of laughter and a few tears. This life chaser and his life chaser buddy shared stories of their youth right up to the time when they were combing a flea market (a favorite shared activity), one Saturday morning, a couple of years back. 

A nagging limp was noticed. 

He told his friend, “I guess I need to go see the doc. It’s probably a pinched nerve.”

He shrugged, and then in optimistic fashion declared, “At least it’s not ALS.”

We all cried as he relived that moment. Then in a true, life chaser moment, he hit the drive stick again, and spoke words that hung in the air, “At least I can do this!”

He sped down the street. I wish I could have clocked how fast he was able to go. It may be a record.

No One Makes it Out Alive

Life is a beautiful and fleeting journey. As we near its end, it becomes even more essential to make the most of our remaining time. The last six months of life can be filled with a range of emotions, reflections, and opportunities for growth. 

My life chaser friend had a saying, “No one makes it out alive.”

He had lived his life that way and he experienced Living with the End in Mind! After his diagnosis he rapidly went into planning mode. He taught his wife to manage their life. From taking care of financials to preparing their home for a time when he would no longer be able to walk are examples of his planning skills. 

In future posts, I will share more of Craig’s story. He taught me a lot and I believe he will have wisdom for you as well. He also planned well. 

No matter our health or wealth, we all need a plan. If you haven’t downloaded our Planning for Peace Checklist – an End-of-Life Planning Guide, you can access it for free here. In my next post, I will share some specifics for embracing life’s final chapter. However, these simple actions can be used during any chapter in life to help you embrace life and become a life chaser. 

A Prayer for Life

Dear Lord,

You are the author of life. You knew us in our mother’s womb, and you know when our final day will arrive. I pray Lord for the person who reads this and has already entered their final chapter. Lord, please comfort them and show them that life does not end with our last breath. Show them your truth, your way, your victory over death. 

Dear Lord, give them the strength to endure the hard parts, your presence to replace chaos with peace, and your Gospel which exchanges dark for light. 

Jesus, Jesus please reach those with these words: 

“Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.” John 6:47

Dear Lord, help each of us to chase life here on earth and share life, eternal life, through our testimony of your grace.

In your Holy Name I pray,

A Sinner Saved by Grace

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