Losing a loved one to death is never easy and I don’t know that there is ever a good time to discuss such a topic. After all, who really wants to discuss it? We’d much rather discuss something “positive,” we might say. But death really is a part of the experience of life. We know in Scripture that death was not part of God’s original design. Rather, once sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, death was the just consequence meted out as a result of their sin of pride and unbelief when tempted by the Serpent in the Garden. So this simple fact should not be forgotten – death was, and is, not part of God’s original design. It’s something unpleasant, to say the least, that we must learn to come to grips with in this sin-cursed world; at least until Christ returns to finally vanquish sin and death. In this “in between” time, we are forced to come to grips with the reality of death and how it rips our worlds apart. And that is never an easy thing to come to grips with, is it? In fact, it’s a very painful thing.
One I’ve had to come to grips with over this holiday season. Instead of a picture perfect holiday season filled with family traditions, turkey and stuffing and all the likes, my holiday happiness was shattered when I got that dreaded call by my sister just two days after Thanksgiving, “mom has been given 24 to 48 hours to live”. So I dropped everything and flew to be by my 80 year old mother’s side. It was so sad to see my mother wasting away from the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Diagnosed roughly eight years ago with this tragic disease they call the “long goodbye,” I sadly watched the strong and independent woman I knew as my mother slowly waste away; dreading that time when I knew I’d have to make just one more trip – the trip to bury her. In the midst of so much sadness, I am grateful that God was merciful in granting two prayers.
First, when I got word of her pending death, I prayed that God would allow me to get there fast enough to be by her side; in hopes that she would know I was there comforting her, holding her hand, telling her that I was thankful for her and what a good mother she had been.
Second, I prayed that God would make her passing as physically peaceful as possible. By all appearances, God seemed to graciously grant that request also. I was able to spend roughly 24 hours or so at my mother’s bedside before she passed on the evening of Sunday, November 27th and during most of that time she seemed as comfortable and free of pain as one could be at such close proximity to passing from life to death. I am writing this blog post partly as an expression of gratitude to God who knew we’d need a feisty mother to get us through those early years after my parents’ divorce. And fight for her family she did. In fact, she did a pretty darn good job of it. It seems right to fight tooth and nail for those you love. But I am writing this also as a eulogy to a woman who loved me enough to fight for me to help me make my way in this world.
Thank you mom, I made it!