October 29, 2018

The Story Behind “On The Day I Die” by Bob Jones

I wrote a post about living and called it, “On the Day I Die.”
Attention grabbing?
I hoped so.
The content has been shared in our local St Albert newspaper and on blogsites.

I wrote the post after going through three funerals in twenty-four hours on a holiday weekend. I helped lay to rest a 19-year old, an 89-year old and a 53-year old. Two were sudden deaths.
Even for a pastor that’s a lot of death to deal with.

Funerals are unparalleled moments in a pastor’s ministry. Caring for people at a time of crisis and grief is part of my calling. I lean into it. People become vulnerable in bereavement like no other passage in life.

Funerals affect me. At times deeply.

Each funeral reminds me of my own mortality. My day will come.
That reminder is a gift of life that comes from death.

After that particular holiday weekend I sat down and imagined what would happen on the day I died. Especially if my death was unexpected and while I was still serving as a lead pastor at North Pointe.

The process was cathartic.

To imagine the end of my days was a profitable way to see how I should be living the rest of my days. I highly recommend it to you.

What seems SO important and urgent is cast in a healthy perspective.

On the day I die, the few people who really know and truly love me will cry.
And so knowing this, I force myself to remember that my time with family and friends is finite. And fleeting. And precious.

It’s easy to waste so much daylight in the days before you die.
Don’t let your life be stolen by the bill of sale on all that you’ve been led to believe matters.
On the day you die, the fact is that much of it simply won’t. Matter.
Hug hugely.
Kiss tenderly.
Love without fear.
Live your one and only shining life for the one and only eternal God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Bob is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to grow hope, inspire readers, forge authentic faith in Jesus, and help others discover what's really important in life.

You can follow his writing at Pointes Of View.


  1. I'm one of those people who regularly read strangers obituaries. As a writer I find it fascinating to read how someone's entire life is condensed down to such a few but hopefully poignant words. I often wonder about my own and what people will choose to write or should I just write my own now and stay on the safe side! Your words ring so true that our lives are so fleeting and need to be spent on what is going to really matter in the end. Thankyou for taking the time to put your thoughts into words after a weekend that must have emotionally been exhausting.

    1. Pat Gerbrandt11:14 am GMT-7

      Gloria, you've spoken exactly what I was thinking! I, too, read obituaries, and learn much from them.

    2. I used to read the obituary page when I subscribed to a daily newspaper. Now just the obits of the funerals I am involved with. Thank you for commenting, Gloria.

    3. What an amazing post! I like your advice for us at the end of your story. I've often wondered how a pastor feels after a funeral and the grief that you bear during this time. I admire that you "lean into it" because people really do need their pastor during this time in their life. I'm also like Gloria, I like to read the obits, first to see if there is anyone that I know that has passed away and second because I'm also interested in what was said about the person. I chose to write a Legacy Letter that will be read by someone of my choice at my funeral. It's not my obituary but the words expressed are mine. You might say, they're my last words. Thanks for sharing this with us, Bob.

    4. You're welcome, Vickie. Great idea on a Legacy Letter and "last words." Thank you.

  2. "To imagine the end of my days was a profitable way to see how I should be living the rest of my days." Powerful thought...

    1. Hi Bob! I resonate with much of what say and feel. As a former pastor and healthcare chaplain I have been around a lot of death and dying scenarios. You are right, as I hear you, death can put our lives in perspective. You are not a common model of pastor as I have come across. Thank you for your message.

    2. Thank you Alan. I hope I am uncommonly good. :)

  3. Bob,
    Thanks for your post, and for being there for people who are struggling, dying, and grieving. I know you find your strength and refuge in God.

    I often contemplate what I want my legacy to be. When I have asked people what they want on their gravestone, I have received negative reactions. However, as you so aptly put it, there is a gift of life that comes from death. May we remember to count our days and live each day to the full!

    1. Ruth, I believe that you can't fully live until you're fully prepared to die. Contemplating a legacy is a healthy exercise. God bless.

  4. Thanks for sharing this story behind another story, Pastor Bob. If I may, I'd like to share a story behind your story too. I read your story yesterday and it touched me greatly. Three years ago yesterday, you ministered to us, rather than "officiated" at my sister Joan's funeral.

    To us as a family, it was evident that you cared about Joan and you cared about our grief. You leaned into our combined sorrow and joy and we leaned into your strength and understanding. Under your leadership, we felt safe to cry our sacred tears and laugh in God's holy presence. On behalf of our family and friends, I thank you for shepherding us through our good-byes to our beloved, with the reminder that we will meet again.

    P.S. I tried unsuccessfully to find "On the Day I Die." I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love to read it.

  5. Thank you Sharon for sharing your memory of Joan. It is a privilege to be allowed into the lives of families at such an important moment. Sharon, did you try clicking on the title in the first paragraph. It should take you to the post.

  6. I missed that the title was a link. I'm not a shining light when it comes to technology. I read "the story" of your reference and I thank you. What you say is a concept about living we need to consider, not once, but regularly. Your treatise is more life-giving than morbid. Thank you.


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