Death and Dignity

Yousef died yesterday at 4 PM. We spent his final hours by his side. I held his hand as his heart slowed, and coworker Lena and I sang over him. We wept at his death and we wept together with his grandmother.

Shortly before he died, a nurse came in to check on him and renew his medications. I watched as the nurse changed his sheets and carefully cushioned Yousef’s mostly withered body. I thanked him as he was leaving for treating the baby with such dignity. He answered me: “I just want to do what’s right.”
We did not know Yousef; we had no opportunity to. His life, most of which was spent in the hospital, was too short for him to develop much personality. Most of the grief over his passing will be felt by his family and on behalf of his family. But we and the Sheba staff showed him honor and dignity in his final moments, treating him and his life as being special and worthy of love, regardless of whether he could receive it. And in the same time we showed his grandmother honor and dignity, and treated her life and love as special too. Brothers and sisters, that is the heart and dream of our work here, a work of dignity and honor and love. We praise God that even–or perhaps especially–in the face of this tragedy, we could do that work.

This morning, Yousef’s body was put in an ambulance, and he and his grandmother were returned to the Gaza Strip. Pray for her and their family in this time of loss. I believe even now Yousef is with our Lord.

We look for the resurrection of the dead.