I know it has been several weeks since I last posted…and I have a good reason for that. My elderly mother’s health began aggressively declining about 5 weeks ago and she slipped into eternity with her savior, Jesus, late in the evening of Oct 8th. My life the weeks prior to and since have been crowded with more things than I can possibly recount…and that is not the purpose of this post. I just wanted to give you some insight into where I have been, am and am going so that you can understand – and possibly identify – with me.
My husband and I have been very fortunate that, until two weeks ago, neither of us had lost a parent. In fact, due to the longevity of not only our parents, but also our grandparents, we have joked over the years that we are stuck with each other forever.
Now that I have experienced both the end of my mother’s days, her succumbing to death and the days since her death…I have a new prospective. I saw her agitation at unresolved issues during her last few days and the contrasting peace and rest that brought all of us in her presence, peace and rest. As a believer in Jesus, I am ready to join heaven’s ranks, and have often be so blessed at funerals that I can hardly stay in my seat because I want to see my savior’s face. “Take me, take me too…” I have thought.
But, in my naivety I have not contemplated the fact that although I know the outcome of my dying…I have never travelled the path that is called “death”. It is unknown and it is unfamiliar…and it can be daunting even to the strongest of saints. I believe it is partly not knowing how much more will have to be endured prior to God’s call home and the rest is simply our inability as humans to know what death itself is. How is it that a person is alive one moment and dead the next? We can’t see the heart stop beating and we can’t hear as the last breath is breathed. Mother was simply there one moment and in the presence of Jesus the next…but, for us left behind it was quite unexplainable. As I approached mother’s still, lifeless body I knew in my heart of hearts that her soul and spirit had flown to Jesus and her body had finally come to a complete rest. But there was no true understanding of what had taken place in our world governed by our five senses.
The best way I can explain Mother’s departure from this earth into the heavenly realms is with a verbal description of this picture. She walked each step …up…up, over the last several days until she was in her savior’s arms – safe and secure forever. Sometimes those steps came in quick succession and we saw her earthly body grow tired more quickly. Other times the steps seemed to stall…for a little too long, from our prospective, as we looked on her suffering. At times she seemed to look over the edge and pull back in fear “seeing” the hard times and relationships in her life as a precipice that might make her fall off the steps. But then a few more steps and her face would ease into a smile or a calm and unafraid demeanor. During the entire journey from earth to heaven that spanned mother’s last days she often seemed suspended somewhere between earth and heaven; sometimes whispering single words that made us know she was seeing a new dimension. Words that made us smile and sometimes cry and nearly always startle just a bit – for this is place none of us have been ourselves. Her last full day she seemed to be travelling further away from our reality. She was, as it were, getting so far up the steps that she was no longer focusing on things here on earth like we are forced to do. Of course, each step was completely ordered and orchestrated by God until He finally said “Come on home, I have been waiting for you” and she stepped from this world to “an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands.” II Corinthians 5:1
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