Coherence may escape me tonight, but I wanted to share some small pictures of God's grace to us today.
If you ever heard my mom talk about death, you knew she wanted to go quickly. She was not afraid of death and she was ready to hang out with Jesus, but she was not looking forward to the process of dying. On Thursday my mom was moving around the house, eating and drinking on her own, playing games with the boys, g-chatting with Katie and Owen, and forcing the rest of us to stay up late so she could binge-watch HGTV (TV took her mind off her pain). She was completely lucid and engaged, albeit a little tired. In fact, with the exception of some pain episodes, she really had a nice week. None of us thought she was so close to the end. She only spent one day in bed, and that day was her last. This was how she wanted to go.
Mom's downturn began with her collapsing next to her bed in the very early morning. She somehow managed to reach the bell by her bedside and ring it. The only reason that anyone heard it was because Nic was sleeping very poorly that night and a few hours before had come into my room to ask me to get him some water and clip his fingernails, which is probably the most ridiculous request I have ever fielded during the night. I was more than a little irritated and took him back to his room, but as I was putting him down in his bed he asked if he could sleep on my floor, and I agreed. A little later Nic woke me up and said, "what is that bell sound?" and that allowed me to hear mom's call for help. Usually we would try not to disturb Mom before 10am, so she might have lay on the floor for hours, and that would have been terrible. I am so thankful that Nic was restless and persistent and that he was awake when Mom needed someone to hear her.
Many times this week Mom expressed to us that she was ready to be with the Lord whenever He called, but she was really hoping to say goodbye to Katie in person first. She told everyone that once she saw Katie on Saturday she would be done. At the time, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that she would make it. When she took her turn for the worse Friday morning, we called Katie and she hopped on the first plane she could. All afternoon we kept Mom informed of Katie's progress, though with all the medicine we didn't know for sure if she understood. Around noon the hospice nurse told us she didn't think Mom would make it until Katie arrived at 4. Those last few hours you could see Mom was fighting hard, and she hung on until Katie got there. She passed away within minutes of Katie's arrival. We are all so incredibly thankful that Katie was with us and that she got to say goodbye. It was such a gift to all be together during those last moments.
None of us were quite prepared for what happened today, and maybe we never could be adequately prepared, but Mom's decline was so rapid that it caught us all a little off guard. It still doesn't feel real, and we are all really missing mom and dreading how much we will miss her in the days to come. In the midst of this, we are so thankful for the way that today worked out. Nic heard her when no one else would have, Katie made it and was able to say goodbye, and Mom died quickly and surrounded by family. God lined things up so that today worked out. We are all so grateful for his graciousness towards us.
More than anything, we are so thankful that God, in his great mercy and through the love and sacrifice of his son, has healed my mom, ended her pain, and ushered her into His presence. We know she has peace, because she has Him.
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15: 50-58