Thoughts from the dying about living

Harry shares his thoughts

What brought you to the palliative unit?

A combination of heart failure and cancer.

What has helped you at this stage?

It’s nice when people call in and are in touch, but you don’t want it non-stop. You need some time to reflect.

Is this a difficult stage of life to come to terms with?

I’m a Catholic Christian who believes in the resurrection of Jesus and I have no fear of death, except for death you are not prepared for. That’s one of the benefits of cancer. I’d rather have notice that something is going to take you than get hit on the street corner, as we read of every day, by a car or accident. I’m a resurrection man, and I believe there is an infinite future.

Looking back at your life, what are you most proud of?

I’m proud of, professionally as a theologian, that I was able to contribute to the reconciliation of Lutherans and Catholics, which is the field I was in. And I have a daughter and a son. And I’m very proud, if you want to say, of finding my wife when I was a college student. I love them very much, and they are my plus points.

Is there a secret to a happy marriage? You and your wife have been together for almost 50 years.

Forgiveness. Say your prayers together. And never go to sleep with anger.

Do you have any regrets?

The downsides, those are for my confessor. I regret all the things I have done wrong to anyone, from parents to friends to siblings, that’s what the sacrament of reconciliation is about and it helps you recognize that the good things are ultimately God’s work in you.

What advice do you have for people to live their best life?

Belief in Jesus. Finding your calling. And your true love.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity*

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