Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Echoes Blog

Rest In Peace - Opa Mijndert

In my last blog I talked about Opa Mijndert Van Woudenberg, who entered hospice care in Utrecht, Holland in early June. He was able to be at home the last week of his life. His  children and grandchildren were with him 24 hours a day until he died early Sunday morning, June 9. His last act was to get out of bed and smoke one of his beloved cigarettes! Whatever gives you pleasure! He was a simple man, kind, and devoted to his family.

Opa’s son, Erik, is married to our daughter, Amie, and they have two children, Liam who is eight and Jayden who is six. When my daughter told Liam that Opa was very sick and would not get better, Liam asked her why it was taking so long for him to die. Amie told him she didn’t know. Liam responded, “Maybe Opa has a spare battery.”

And then he added, “I have three spare batteries.”

My two grandsons are intrigued with dinosaurs. When I visited Holland in May, we all went to the Natural History Museum in Leiden. It has a remarkable display of dinosaurs and fossils from pre-historic times.  We stayed about four hours, and the kids would have liked to stay longer. They were both intrigued by all things dinosaur. 

And so I searched the internet for good books to help children with the mystery of death. I settled on one called, “When Dinosaurs Die.” The book explains that being born and dying are part of the life cycle–whether dinosaurs or any other of God’s creatures. I will read it to my grandsons when they come to visit us in July.  I hope it will lead us to a discussion on Opa’s death and what happens to us after we die.

Here’s a lovely prayer I often use at memorial services:

O LORD, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.