As you read this, it’s kind of tough, but please stick in to the end. You’ll be glad you did.
If you haven’t lived in this area, you wouldn’t know the story. My fun-loving Mom has been a neurological Pearl Harbor for several years. If the genetic code of chronic depression and Alzheimer’s wasn’t enough, the after-effects of the Radiant Patient Award to kill the bugs of brain cancer, followed by fluid on the brain, well, it’s amazing she still knew us most days and had it together enough to breathe.
That is until a couple of weeks ago. All signs pointed towards heaven for our Mermaid. (see When Your Parents are Named Cleon and Myrlee) I arrived at her care home with my F150 truck’s backseat packed for an unknown period of time. Mom was working hard to sleep, although I knew she would not truly wake up again. Of course, I talked about everything in the world–just in case she tuned in. Funny times, great memories, what I knew of wonders promised in the Bible, and of course, tears fell.
At one point, a favorite aide of hers, Katrina, was trying to get her to open her mouth, and Mom stubbornly pursed her mouth. Yep, that would be my mom. We shared a chuckle at the glimmer of personality through the fog. After I reminded Mom that she had been through a lot worse stuff than this, she relaxed and the mission was accomplished.
Later that evening, I cracked a stupid joke that only my family would catch, and a corner of her mouth turned in a grin and she moved a little. A sign she was with me, so jumped at the opportunity to I share my heart. I assured her of who was going to take care of whom, and that it was okay to leave at anytime. A private and precious time I will cherish forever.
Then we went through a night of hard sleeping to wake, knowing soon, yes soon was going to be her moment. Fourteen hours had passed since that last smile–just fading breathing. Cliff, my knight to my rescue, arrived, and two Hospice workers, that I had met the day before, just happened to cruise in the door.
Suddenly, Mom’s expression changed. I wish I could explain it. Nothing terribly profound, just ever-so slightly different. Cliff came behind me and hugged my shoulders.
Softly, I asked her, “Mom, do you see them? Are Grandpa and Grandma Moore there to meet you?”
Her mouth began to move, forming letters she didn’t have the breath to voice.
“Are you seeing Ann? After 50 some years, it’s about time best friends got together. And is Delmer there? What about Aunt Elva? You know, she met Grandpa when he left.”
Oh, did she try to fill us in! Her lips puckered and opened, her tongue flicking.
“Mom, you know you have those grandbabies up there we haven’t even got to meet. Jesus is an excellent babysitter, but don’t you think it’s time to meet their grandma?”
Still, she tried.
“Mom, if you see Jesus, you go run and hug his neck.”
And at that moment, she quietly left.
The Hospice nurse confirmed it. When I looked around the room. A sense of awe had taken over. And while there were tears, unspeakable joy was on all our faces. And Peace comfortingly patted Sorrow’s back and assured that all would be more than okay.
How does one leave any better than that, I ask? What a gift God allowed her to share. Her passing makes us ponder how thin the veil between this life and eternity is and fertizlized the hope in our hearts.
Of course, I have my moments. My eyes well at almost nothing and packets of LiL Traveler Kleenexs fill my pockets, which I will probably run through the washer. My brain is kind of fuzzed out as of late. Afterall, she was my mama, we’d been a team for a very long time. BUt I smile continually because in her leaving, she left a ministry that death can not stop, but keeps sparkling with eternal hope.
If you see any of our family in the grocery store, at work, or out and about, and if someone says, “I’m sorry to hear about your mom,” don’t be surprised to overhear, “Thank you so much! She went out in grand style. Here, let me tell you about it.”
(Oh, how this verse has been made clear to me now.) “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 Precious indeed!