My mom’s breath began to slow. It was 10 seconds between breaths, then 20, and then 30. There was one last breath. I realized that the first sound I heard on this earth, my mom’s heartbeat, was about to stop. Sobbing, my two sisters and I clung to our mom as a tear rolled down her cheek. Then her spirit was gone. In an instant, her body became an empty shell. As I gripped her hand, it became as lifeless as an empty glove.
One last tear was shed.
Did she cry for her daughters who were hurting? Did she cry at having to say goodbye? Maybe it was a happy tear as the veil was torn away and she saw glory. My sisters and I believe she shed a tear for us. She loved us well and with all her heart. In that moment, it was clear that this body we live in is just temporary housing. When her spirit left, the body was just an empty tent left behind. She wasn’t there anymore.
It had been a difficult ten weeks. From the time my mom first fell and broke her hip, she faced one setback after another. She finally was put on hospice and we sat by her side for a week as her body slowly weakened. Here are some thoughts I meditated on as I sat there:
Dying is hard.
Regret is devastating.
Moments are fleeting.
There’s a last time for everything on earth.
Seize the moment.
Make eye contact while you can.
Say I love you often.
A person’s tent is just that – a tent, not the person.
Jesus conquered death.
Hug while you can.
Grief will not be rushed.
Grief stops time.
Rushing doesn’t improve life.
Trust requires patience.
Trust is shown in a gentle and quiet spirit.
Waiting patiently requires us to stop and be quiet.
Faith is the evidence of things NOT seen. It’s trusting without seeing.
I wrote this as I sat with her that morning:
This is probably the last time I will hold my mama’s hand.
Let me hold your hand one more time.
Feel your touch.
See your face.
I will always love you.
Always have you in my heart.
You’re my mom.
My dear heart.
You loved me fiercely and were always glad to see me.
“Love you so much.”
These will echo in my mind.
Soon Mama, you will never have another pain.
Never be lonely again.
You will know everlasting joy and see the face of Jesus!
Strong, stoic, hardworking, determined.
Loved by many.
She loved us with a fierce love.
She was so proud of her girls.
She is with Jesus.
Singing, rejoicing and praising.
Free from suffering, pain and loneliness.
Free of guilt, hurt and sorrow.
Life is a mist, a vapor,
a puff of smoke,
a flower that blooms in the morning and dies at night.
Walk with Jesus.
Follow His voice.
Simplify, listen and just follow.
“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16 (ESV)
“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14b (ESV)
“’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 to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (ESV)