I am very sad. I know it will not always be so, but today, I am very sad.
My mother died one month ago. I miss her. She lived with us the last 20 years of her life. I was her caregiver for the last couple of years, and her friend as well as her daughter for many years before that. While still living in our home, she entered hospice care the first of May, so I knew the end was near. Still…
Mother was 91 when she passed, and suffered from dementia. Her short-term memory was gone, and even stories from the distant past were starting to get muddled, yet wisdom remained.
It was a joy to see then and is a joy to recall now.
One time while she was seated in her recliner, I asked if she wanted something to eat, which she almost always did. This time she said no. “Would you like something to drink?” I asked. Again, surprisingly, no. “Is there anything I can do for you?” I asked. She looked over at me and smiled.
“Rest your mind,” she replied.
So that’s what I am doing now. Resting my mind. Resting it from worry about her. She is safely in the care of Jesus, as she has been since a young girl. She has no need of medicine any more. She will never again be sick or sad or lonely.
Resting my mind about any regrets I may have…words I wish I had said or not said, things I wish I had done or not done. Accepting forgiveness. Granting forgiveness. Realizing God’s grace is sufficient.
Resting my mind from imagining too many “what ifs?” including wondering if my own future holds the same in store for me.
Watching my mother die both broke my heart and encouraged me. Because I saw the Lord faithfully fulfill His promise to my mother as she lived out Isaiah 46:4, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you,” I know it is possible to face the limitations and restrictions of old age with grace and strength.
On one of the last days she was lucid, I asked her for some of her best advice about life.
“Take each thing as it comes,” she said without hesitation.
And then just hours later I watched her follow her own advice as the hospice nurse told her she was going to install a catheter, now that Mother could no longer get out of bed.
“Well, I don’t know what I think about that,” Mother replied. I knew what she thought about it, and prayed she would remember her own wise words. Then I watched her calmly follow instructions, showing even then how to live with grace.
In those last days, I thanked her again for teaching me so many things, especially about Jesus and what a kind Savior He is, how loving and forgiving. “You taught me a lot of things, but that’s the most important of all.”
“It is in my opinion,” she responded.
“You loved people with the love of Jesus,” I recapped, remembering the stories of her life. “You forgave people. You didn’t treat them with rudeness even they were rude to you.”
“I loved people with the love of Jesus,” she repeated. And then she smiled.
She wanted to give a gift to my husband, her “son-in-love,” who would come into her room saying, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” (Psalm 118:24) which she quoted with him.
So she sang him a song, one which I recognized the chorus but not the verse. We looked up the words and my sister and I sang along with her, as she wanted, through our tears. “Just a Song at Twilight” was her parting gift.
My sweet little Mommy. I do not grieve as those who have no hope (I Thessalonians 4: 13) even as she taught me. I know I will see her again. I know she has heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23) And for that, I am thankful, even joyful.
It’s just that today I am very sad.