For the last 14 months my Mom has been living on Grace-time. An aneurysm on her heart threatened to undo the earth from which she is made, but God in his mercy gave us the last two years to love her, serve her and to allow her to see four more of her 24 grandchildren marry and begin families of their own. She has been a mighty warrior, serving her family for over 50 years and now the curtains are coming down on a magnificent life.
In June of 2009, when we didn’t know all the grace that God would give her and us, I penned the following tribute to Mom. I’m tired, as are all my brothers and sisters, who have flown in from Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Columbia, South Carolina to be with us here in Michigan where mom was visiting after the marriage of my oldest to the lovely Anna. So tonight, I simply want to offer that post and ask for your prayers for my mom and the family as we grieve and celebrate a great woman.
Mom moves toward eternity. Medical terms fill the air, threaten to overwhelm our spirits in floods of decisions. Mom is staring down a short corridor. Wanting to stay, longing to see the great joys on the horizons of earth, three grandchildren to marry in what remains of the year, another, my growing-man son, within the next year.
And yet, beyond the fear of unknowable experiences, there is the hope—soon, “the one I loved, the one whose bed I shared for fifty years, is down that short corridor, and the Savior of us both is there. Tears will be wiped away.”
“Lord, Strengthen mom for this last journey. Hours, weeks, months, You only know that story. Give her back the stamina spiritually that she always had physically as she raised her five boys, and her two incredible daughters. Shepherd her through this shadow-filled-valley without fear. Oh Lord God, give her the joy of Your presence. Give her the peace that passes all understanding.
Oh Lord, our hearts are so fragile. Filled with wonder, emptied in a second and filled with fear, emptied instantaneously and filled again with memories, magically emptied and filled with hope, and emptied and filled and emptied and filled and emptied and filled.
We live in the flashes of emptiness and fillings. We exchange moments for happiness. And if we are wise, if we are not broken by the filling and emptying, if we remember to remember You, we descend through pain into joy.
Oh God give me, give my brothers, give my sisters joy. Take us through this season. As we watch the hour glass empty on the extraordinary woman who gave us life; hold more than our hands. Wrap us up in Your arms.
This love hurts.
Thank You for the hope of the resurrection. Draw us near. Enfold us. Squeeze us so tight that death’s sting is vanquished.