Learning to Die

26 Sept 2013 by Natasha Kim CM-

 

“The reason for this talk is to create an environment to know how to say goodbye, where you will have a meaningful departure both for yourself as well as the people around you (the ones you love),” shared Pastor Victor Wong at a recent community talk at SunwayMas Community Centre. He knew that the topic isn’t one that is easy to preach but he hoped to help everyone to be prepared and to be comforted since it’s something that none of us can deny at the end of the day.

 

Pastor Victor Wong
Pastor Victor Wong

 

Once You learn how to Die, You learn how to Live

Victor has worked on death management and with many funerals. He realized that the pattern is the same. After a while, you keep playing back the same situation over and over. “It probably means one thing, that we’re not prepared,” he said. Victor and his siblings have already prepared themselves for the death of their parents whenever that time may be, so as to better ease that burden when the time comes. “I have come to terms with my parents dying and they are both still alive,” he said.

 

Pastor Victor Wong
Pastor Victor Wong

 

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

(Acts 20:24)

 

At the beginning of the talk, everyone performed an exercise with Victor where they were given blank papers to draw out a coffin with their face in it (representing their own death). He then asked everyone to write their date of birth and year of death, as well as their life verse from the Bible that they would want to have written, including anything else they would want to write on their tombstone.

 

Blank papers given out to perform an exercise
Blank papers given out to perform an exercise

 

In this case, it was not surprising that Victor has already prepared for his own death too. He has already written a will and knew what he wants written on his tombstone when he dies. He hoped to touch someone’s life even when he is dead by creating a message on the tombstone, where people would stop and read instead of the usual written particulars on tomb stones. Written details on the tomb stone would be more meaningful if they are your own words instead of the norm that people would write for you.

 

The 3 types of Death

  • Sudden – Unexpected/Expected
  • Slow
  • Subtle – Along the thought process of “If it comes it comes if it doesn’t then it doesn’t”

 

Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. 

(Acts 13:36)

 

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. 

(Acts 20:24)

 

“There is a time for you to come, a time for you to serve God, a time for you to do the best for your generation and a time for you to go. All glory goes to the Lord,” he said.

 

Amy and Pr Victor during the Q&A session
Amy and Pr Victor during the Q&A session

 

There is no way of telling how you will pass, and reality tells us that not all of us will have an ideal death, e.g. passing peacefully while having your loved ones around you. He then asked everyone to discuss with the person next to them about their ‘perfect death.’ “I want to make sure that when I die, I bring glory to God by fulfilling His purposes for me. I don’t want to die on my bed that’s warm and soft… I want to die while serving the Lord,” said Victor when he shared about his perfect death.

 

Types of Funerals

  • Sorrowful – Painful where many are not willing to let the departed go. There are unresolved issues.
  • Meaningful – There is time to say goodbye, where both the deceased and the living learn to let go. There is no anger or bitterness or anger towards God.
  • Beautiful – The departed served as an inspiration and hope; one that has seen reconciliation and forgiveness, which brings families together.

 

Death ends a Life not a Relationship

 

From left to right: Sherry Lim, Victor, and Dr. Edmund
From left to right: Sherry Lim, Victor, and Dr. Edmund

 

Victor also touched on the importance of having a will before death. “In reality, I’ve seen for myself how a will destroys families,” he said. He added that people may think they’re doing their children a favour by not having a will but at times it can even break families apart.

In between the talk, Victor invited his lawyer friend Amy to come up for a Q&A session. She shared some Do’s and Don’ts and gave people some insight into the matter of preparing a will, which helped many who sought answers.

At the end, there are many who fail to enjoy the people they love in their lives or tell them how much they love them. Ensure you live life without regret and take the chance to show your love while loved ones are still alive.

 

Pastor Victor Wong
Pastor Victor Wong

 

Too often people get so caught up in the world that they live in. and regret once their loved one passes away. What if there’s not enough time? Remember that tomorrow is never promised. Live your life with unity with one another. Build a never-ending relationship that will live on in the hearts of people even after you or the other’s have has passed. Live life with passion and touch the lives of others while there is still time!

 

Before I formed you in the womb I knewyou,before you were born I set you apart;I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

(Jeremiah 1:5)

 

Close to the end of the talk, Victor also invited Sherry Lim, founder of Elpizo (Cancer Support Group) and Dr.Edmund Ng, Director of Daikonia (Grief Care Centre) to share with the people. Elpizo helps people by giving them hope and support through difficult times while Daikonia helps those through their grieving period.

 

Watch this video:

 

Share the Good News

 

Note: SMCC provides community talks for the community every month, free of charge. For more information or if you have any inquiries please call 012 – 707 2095 / 012 – 709 2095 

4 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I understand that you may be looking for voluntary writers?

    I am currently working as an IT Project Manager in Adventist Hospital. I spend 6 years in Glad Tidings Petaling Jaya (GTPJ) whilst working in KL but now am back in Penang and currently attached to FGA Prai (my home church so to speak).

    I have very strong documentation skills in English and have done book sypnosis writing in GTPJ while serving as a librarian in GTPJ.

    Thanks n Rgds,

    Shirlee Sim

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