"Big Hugs Mom...I love you so very much." These are the last words I spoke to my Mom, just 4 hours before she took her first breath of Heaven on Friday Sept. 5th, 2014 at 2 a.m.
We arrived back in Calgary on Wednesday, Sept 3rd, around 4 p.m. Although extremely weak and largely non-responsive, Mom knew we had arrived. When we left Calgary two weeks prior, I had not told her when we would return because I did not want her trying to hang on. It had been tough to leave, but we had some things to take care of at home. I stayed in constant touch with the Hospice staff and my brother, along with a few awesome friends who kept me updated on how Mom was doing. There had been a drastic downturn....her time on earth was drawing to a close.
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd, enroute to Calgary again, my precious brother held the phone to Mom's ear so I could tell her we were on our way to be with her. I felt it was okay to tell her then. While looking out the window of a hotel room, I distinctly remember my Mom's response to these words, "Big Hugs Mom. I love you so very much." She could not speak anymore, she could only groan, yet I recognized the pattern of her groaning.... "I love you too honey." My brother recognized it also.
I felt such an urgency to get to her, yet I was trying to be calm...and wise. I didn't want Kip pressing too hard as we continued our long journey back through the Rocky Mountains. It was a time of completely trusting God to fulfill HIS will. If He wanted us to be with her in her final hours He would enable us to get there in time. If Jesus came for her before we got there, then that is what God wanted.
I cannot describe how grateful I was to the Lord for enabling me to be with Mom during her final hours. Interestingly, she stopped moaning once we arrived. Prior to our departure back to Calgary a dear friend of mine reminded me of a passage I have often mentioned to others..2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 and 2 Corinthians 5: 1-10. 2 Corinthians 5, verses 2-4 were particularly relevant....I believe Mom was groaning because she was ready, and longing to go Home. Once her family was together again, I believe peace filled her heart. Perhaps that is why the groaning stopped. She knew Jesus was coming for her very soon and she was ready knowing everyone was fine.
My brother Art, Kip and I stayed with Mom the following day, Sept. 4th. It was a good day, perhaps it could even be described as an awesome day. Mom was physically non-responsive as we chatted, reminisced and shared times of laughter but we firmly believed she could hear everything. This was validated when Mom's prayer partner and close friend arrived later in the day. She had flown in from Armstrong B.C. and came to the Hospice right away. Within a few minutes of arriving she stood at Mom's bedside and sang two of Mom's favourite hymns. As her voice rose with the melody during the first hymn, Mom's eyebrows lifted! Physically, nothing else changed....just a lift of her eyebrows with the music, and only during the first of four verses. It was a very, very beautiful moment.
Early evening, two ministers from Mom's church (who were also friends) came to be with Mom. Her breathing had drastically changed and we all knew Jesus was waiting to carry her Home. No words can describe the gratitude in our hearts for the privilege to say good-bye and give her our blessing to take His hand.
I wear Mom's rings on a neck-chain now. I'm not sure why, except that they are a sentimental reminder of my precious and cherished Mom, with whom I was best friends. Tears have flowed a few times....a healthy expression of physically missing her. Yet, my heart is not heavy, nor does it feel pain. I do not grieve but rejoice instead for I know Mom has entered Heaven's Gates and she is completely whole once again. I did not leave my Mom, frail and ravaged with cancer back in Calgary this time for truly she is now fully alive in God's Presence! I know she is with me wherever I go and I know she is smiling effortlessly once again.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." John 14: 1-4
"Jesus answered: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14: 6
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
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