Monday, July 25, 2011

Remembering My Mother - One Year Later

It's 8:40pm on 7/23/11 as I begin to write this post which will be published on the morning of 7/25/11.  It's hard enough today.  I wanted to have this ready before this weekend but I didn't get to it.  So here I am cutting it a little closer than I would have wanted.

This time last year (on the 23rd), my family frantically packed up the car.  Peyton's home nurse spent about 4 hours putting together all of Peyton's supplies in the event we were gone a while.  We'd gotten "the call".  My mother, diagnosed with breast cancer a few years prior had undergone a mastectomy, chemo and radiation, had been declining for a while but we knew it was time to go home.  We left around 7pm and drove from Charleston, SC to Charlotte, NC where we spent the night.  We hadn't planned on a drive to Canada that day, so there was no way to avoid a stop.  I fully expected to get the call during the night that my mother had passed....but we did not.

We left Charlotte early in the morning on the 24th and drove.  No call yet.  We knew things with my mother were looking very grim.  She'd taken a fall on the 22nd and later that day went to bed and never regained consciousness.  I don't think the end happened as a result of the fall.  I think the fall was a sign of the end being near.  We drove and drove and drove.  We were mentally and physically exhausted.  I told my father not to call me unless something happened.  Don't worry about us, I told him.  We're going to be there.  Just do what you need to do for Mom, I said.

The day wore on with no phone call.  I was actually getting more worried about not receiving the call, but I put off calling for as long as I could.  At exactly 12:30pm on 7/24/10, somewhere in rural Ohio, I heard the Lord speak to me plain as day.  I heard "Jeremiah 29:14".  Not the actual verse.  Just those words.  "Jeremiah 29:14".  I looked over at Ron and silently reached for my Bible.

Jeremiah 29:14 (NLT)

14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

I took a moment and then looked at the clock and then at Ron and said, remember this time - it's 12:30pm.  I told him what had happened.  I felt sure that this was God telling me that something must have happened.  I don't know what this verse means for you or anyone else, but to me it spoke volumes about the situation we were facing.  I felt like God was trying to tell me that my mother's pain and suffering (her captivity) was ending  and that she was going to be restored in Him.  He was going to take her from this place where he had set her in this world and bring her home to Him.

I had long before made peace with the inevitable.  No, I wasn't happy to be losing my mother.  I did, however, experience a peace that surpasses understanding where it relates to her illness and eventual death.  I think this peace sometimes put me in the position of being misunderstood by others, even in my family, because perhaps they had not reached that point.  I knew she was going to be with the Lord.  I took great comfort in that for a long time before my mother passed.  I knew she would be made whole again.  I prayed for her to pass from this world so that she could be set free.

The day grew into night and I eventually called home.  She was declining, yes, but nothing had happened.  I felt that as long as there was a chance we could make it home, we had to try.  We drove 18 hours straight that day and made it home around 10:50pm on 7/24/10.  I rushed into the house and went to my mother's side.  Ron brought the girls in and they had their moment with my mother before leaving for the hotel they would stay in.

My Dad, Auntie Jean, Auntie Betty, Uncle Jim and I all spent time with Mom together and individually.  A few other family members were in the house.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  We talked.  We cried.  We just loved on Mom as she laid in bed, each breath more difficult than the last.  We were all amazed that she'd hung in as long as she did.  When I had my moments alone with Mom, I prayed over her.

As the sun rose, we kept our vigil with Mom.  Each of us had the chance to actually get ourselves showered and ready early that morning.  We all regrouped at some point, never having left Mom alone for even a moment.  There are many details which will go unspoken here because it is such an intimately personal experience.

At 9:50am on 7/25/10, one year ago today, my mother passed.  My mother was freed from her suffering and made whole again in Christ Jesus.  A few weeks prior to her death when I visited home, I told her she needed to take care of my two babies in Heaven.  When she passed, I just envisioned how Jeffrey was being held once again by his Granny and how she was now holding the second baby we lost.  And I'm a little jealous because she knows whether it was a boy or girl and I don't!!  :)  She was also reunited with her parents and two of her older sisters who had passed away before her.

A large gaping hole was left in our lives here on earth, but I would never for one moment wish for her to be back here if it meant she had to continue suffering as she had in her final months.  Our life is but a vapor and she's gone on to her eternal reward in Heaven.  I know she is with me always and I take comfort in that.  I am blessed to have had her for my mother and to have had her in my life for as long as I did.  I am grateful for all that she ever did for me.  I am so blessed to have been able to call her my best friend as well as my mother.

Missing her tremendously today.

I love you, Mom!

Mom & Peyton - Christmas 2008

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