I’ve observed that those, especially Christians, suffering from terminal illnesses will often make a genuine effort to resolve broken relationships and to seek forgiveness from others. This is a way of preparing for death. I suspect the closer you are to death, the clearer you can see how precious life is.
Participating in Forgiveness Sunday vespers last week and contemplating the experience, I’m struck that this is how we should be. Every evening before going to sleep, we are reminded to prepare for our death. In the evening prayer of Saint John Damascene, our bed is compared to a coffin. We should live every day as though it were our last and spend our time in repentance.
I pray that this practice of forgiving those in my parish will help me learn the harder task of forgiving others and doing it more frequently.
I found the article Of Death and Dying to be helpful and challenging.