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  • Writer's pictureHattie Bryant

Breath of Life

Updated: Mar 2

Jan Post is a retired nurse who took I’ll Have It God’s Way via Zoom during the height of COVID. Her lovely face filled a screen and every week she had wise advice to offer the others. I recruited her to lead the class at her church which eventually happened. Nearly 40 signed up and completed the class we call, “Lunch with Nurse Jan.” Yesterday while on the phone talking about her next class, she told me about her friend Mary. Mary and her husband, Austin, were both healthy when she took my class about year ago at the recommendation of Jan. Although Austin didn’t attend, like many, Mary not only used the class to think about her own care in the face of any serious illness, she used it to talk with Austin about the kind of care he would want.

Just three months ago, Austin went to the hospital for elective surgery to have heart valves cleaned out. During the procedure his pericardium, the double-walled sac that surrounds the heart, was punctured. They could not stop the bleeding and they left his chest open for two days.


For one week Mary was at his side in the hospital and she heard doctors talking about the need for a tracheostomy, a tube inserted directly into the windpipe which creates a way to breathe when we can’t breathe on our own. These conversations over the weeks she was in the class brought to light that he, like her, did not want to be held here by modern medicine’s inventions. He wanted to stay in a natural state with his feet on the ground and his heart fixed on heaven.


Standing on the promise that death is not for us who have been raised with Christ, who live infused with the Holy Spirit, Mary said no to further surgery. She knows she and her husband have eternal breath. Austin stopped breathing this air and is now breathing in only eternity.


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