Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, but losing your mother is like losing a part of yourself.
I began writing the story below just days after Mom’s passing last summer. Until today, I haven’t dared to finish it. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom; this is for you!
“How long is this process?”
“Oh God,” I silently prayed, “how do I answer that?”
I fought hard to hold back the tears and swallow the lump in my chest before answering. After giving her hand a tight squeeze, I said, “Mom, I think a lot of the timing is up to you and God.”
Yes, that’s right. My mother looked me in the eye and asked me to tell her when she was going to die. Had it not been for the miraculous and conspicuous presence of Jesus, I wouldn’t have survived this painful moment. But God, in His unimaginable grace and creativity, made our last days with mom not just bearable, but beautiful.
It’s easy for our focus to become skewed when facing the trials of this life. Because Jesus laid aside his divinity so that he could become human, like us, He understands. That’s why he gives us the following advice:
Learn this well: Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about heaven’s kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in. (Matthew 18:3 TPT)
There are no words to accurately describe the transition my family and I witnessed take place in my mother during the last hours of her life. Having run away from home as a young girl, mom developed a hardened exterior to survive. Although I have no doubt, mom loved us, physical affection and nurturing never came naturally to her. Consequently, her true nature and generous heart didn’t surface until later in life when she laid down her life for Jesus.
On Saturday, the day before Mom passed, we noticed a change in her character. She began to exhibit a sweetness of spirit and the characteristics of a small child. Although she had been too weak to eat or even speak, she suddenly began making juvenile requests for junk food, including cake and a Cherry Coke. At first, I thought she was trying to be funny, but she smiled and nodded her head when I laughingly asked, “Are you serious?”
That evening, we gathered around Mom’s hospital bed and tried to feed her the sweets she had requested. With exuberance, she snatched the mini Cherry Coke from my daughter’s hand, put the straw in her mouth, and slurped what must have been half the can in a single breath. It was surreal. Joy and laughter filled the room as we watched Mom devour her treats with unabashed delight. Right before our eyes, the matriarch of our family was turning in a trusting child of God.
My love, admiration, and respect for Mom grew exponentially as I watched her process what was happening, where she was, and where she was going. Mom’s strength and dignity did not come from her incredible achievements. She knew they were a result of her love for God and her commitment to Him. Mom was at peace with the things that were to come because she knew where she was heading. Her time as a sojourner in this foreign land was over, and she was finally on her way home to see her Papa!