Health & Spirit

Give your children the gift of religion

By Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

"We emerge then we remerge."

However, among all the really good responses about what dying is like there was, in my opinion, a truly great response -- a clear winner. Appropriately, it came from a nun named M from St. Joseph's Convent in Brentwood, N.Y. It also came via snail mail on a nice piece of paper, written in beautiful handwriting. This form of communication seems to me so much better than an email that can be erased by the click of a mouse.

This is what sister M wrote to me and to us all:

"Dear Rabbi Marc,

"In response to your invitation concerning thoughts on what dying is like, I want to share with you what a child of 11 years shared with me when I cared for pediatric AIDS patients. A boy very ill with the disease said to me, 'My mom is not here now and I want to ask you what is it like to die?' I responded, 'What do you think it's like?' He said, 'I think it's closing my eyes to sleep, and then waking up in God's arms.' I only responded, 'Javier, God already told you the answer.' He smiled and died a few days later."


Our conversation is over. No more homework on this topic. The answer to the question of what dying is like has been definitively answered by a child named Javier, may his memory be for a blessing.

Dying is like falling asleep and waking up in the arms of God.

(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including "Religion for Dummies," co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman.)



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