As I said in an earlier post, my Mother of 85 years is dying. I’ve been praying about this and reflecting. Her Hospice nurse whom I have known for about 30 years as a good friend called me yesterday and told me that Mom is holding on to life as if waiting for something. I think I know why. I intend to go talk with her in about 12 hours.
Yes, I know. She has no idea who I am. Fifteen years ago, I was driving her to some destination and I knew her mind was descending into darkness. So I asked “Do you have any children?” She said after a pause, “Yes, two.” She has three so one was already missing from her memory. “What are their names?” She retreated inside herself and pondered this for perhaps five minutes, maybe less. “Stephan and Susan.” she said slowly. I remember that I smiled at this and said, “Well, let me introduce myself. I am your oldest son, Brian.”
Something changed about 24 years ago. Instead of a son, I became to my Mother a trusted authority figure. Someone who could calm her and direct her. It was strange but I was immediately conscious of it. In the intervening years, I have done my best to honor this role. It is this that will lead me to my final visit by her bedside. I have rehearsed in my mind what I am going to say.
“Hi Mom. It’s me, your oldest son Brian. I have some things to tell you and I know your spirit can hear me. Susie told you that she needs you to last several more days so she will receive one more month of pension payments. I believe you are trying to do as she asked. She was wrong, Mom. You need last until one minute after midnight, until September 1st. I looked it up. You are free to go anytime afterwards. Bless you for trying to give this final gift to your daughter. she has served you faithfully during this long illness and loved you unconditionally for her whole life. You were right about her. She never did leave home and was your dependent her entire life. Still is to some degree. Steve and I will look after her, Mom. We will try and set her up to live independently for the rest of her years. I believe she can do it now. She has learned to budget and to spend wisely and she always has at least one small dog to care for. I don’t think she can hold down a job though. At least not one that will enable her to pay her bills. I will see what I can do about that. Don’t worry about her Mom. We will take it from here.
You struggled to raise me. Actually it was hard for you to mother any of us but I don’t bear a grudge. I forgive you and I wish I had told you so when you could still understand me. Even so, I am certain you can hear me now. I am sorry not to have understood your broken heart earlier. We could have discussed it. I don’t know what happened to you, Mom, when you were a little girl? It doesn’t matter any more. I understand now.
I owe you my intelligence because I inherited it from you. It was the best gift you ever gave me and I am grateful. Your endless debates actually sharpened my verbal skills and made me a quick thinker. Your passion for the deep intellects of human history has become my passion. I love ideas and concepts today and I got it from you. Wise move, Mom. You did well. (See? I also inherited your insistence on precision when using the English language.)
It seems to me certain that you have been visited by Jesus recently. Your religious views were always so odd. You had an amalgam of conflicting ideas that you collected somewhere and made them your beliefs. Yet they were never the same from year to year. Steve and I both tried to get you to understand the superior call of Christ on your life though neither of us is certain we got through to you. Jesus is indeed God incarnate and He alone is the path to eternal relationship with the living God. When He comes again Mom (and I have asked Him to) then submit your heart to your Savior, the King of Kings. I would be much relieved if you do. Something tells me that you are ready and willing. Did you ever imagine that your two sons would both be Christian Pastors? God has been good to our family. Praise His Gracious Name!
I believe you will depart to be with Him sometime tomorrow. Go in peace Mother. You have ended your life with honor and my gratitude. Bless you and I will see you again someday.”
Hopefully my Mother will linger long enough for me to deliver my message. If not, maybe God will let her read this blog.
ps: That was Thursday, August 30th. It is now Monday, September 3rd. My mother is still alive. She is a tough Mama! I’ll post again when this status changes.
pps: Early in the morning on Thursday, September 20th, my Mother passed. I pray and hope she is with the Lord.