Aging and Dying: Gradual Graduation into God’s Presence

By: Marci M

I’m here to tell you that death isn’t the end. Not for my mom, my friends, for you or for me. That means that all my life I’ve been aging: moving towards graduation into the next world, to live with God once more. We lived with Him before this life; we’ll live with Him again.

As the decades pile up, I begin to notice the effects of aging. I begin to notice my body wearing out, piece by piece. I used to be able to stretch farther than that; I used to be faster at that; I used to be able to see better than this. But each loss of ability is a signal that I’m getting closer to being with God. I actually like it. Nothing suicidal or harsh about it – it just feels like a gentle, gradual crossing over that will take a few more years (perhaps many, many years) to accomplish. The timing is in His hands, I know. And I’m in no particular hurry. Mine is a full, vibrant life with enchanting grandchildren, family galore, and interesting opportunities. When the effects of aging get in my way, I usually can figure a workaround. But part of me is looking forward to being free of this world, living in a kinder, far more beautiful place, with other beloved family members I’ve missed awhile or never really got to know.

My body knows how to die. I just have to relax and let it do its work of letting loose of my spirit so my spirit can cross over. Until then, I’ll do my part to keep my body healthy so I can be alive – really alive – as long as God decides to keep me here on earth.

Regrets? Sure. And I know I’ll keep making mistakes until the end of my life. But I do what I can to repair the damage, making amends where appropriate, and leaving the rest in God’s hands. That’s what Jesus’ atonement is about – covering my sins. And even in spite of my mistakes, God has a way of making things turn out OK.

Sure, there’s so much more I want to see and do and accomplish. But it’s always going to be like that. I’d like to see my granddaughter graduate from high school and my grandson play his first soccer game. Even better would be to stick around long enough to meet that granddaughter’s firstborn or watch that grandson’s college championship match, and on and on. While I’m always hungry for more, I’m content with the joyful moments I have been granted. Besides, I’d rather check out of this life while I’m in motion instead of standing still, sitting around waiting to be called home.

Think of it: the alternative to death is being trapped here on earth forever. It’s beautiful here, for sure, and I love my life – but this world is not the kind of place I want to be stuck in forever. I know there’s a far lovelier world waiting for us all. And somehow I think I’ll be closer to those cherished grandchildren and family members than we suspect, even from the other side. Ezra Taft Benson said that “the spirit world is not far away. Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us.”
How do we know there is life after this, you ask? It’s not like anyone’s come back from that other side to tell us about it.

Actually they have. In fact, Jesus himself came back from the other side with His resurrected body, appearing to Mary Magdalene and the apostles and others. He came to tell us that all we have to do is just follow Him throughout this life and He’ll lead us into the next world.

Right. Follow Him. That’s all there is to it.

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