One Last Tear


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.
Opportunities pass.
There’s a last time for everything on earth.
Seize the moment.
Love well.
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.
“Hi sweetheart!”
“Hi Darlin!”
“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.
Giving, generous.
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.

Live purposefully.
Live intentionally.
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)

Susan Aken

Susan is a homemaker, substitute teacher and writer. She lives in Nebraska but was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her greatest love is for the Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed her and set her free. Her other loves are her husband and son (she is now an empty nester). Susan enjoys reading, photography, spending time with family and friends and writing. She has a heart for prayer ministry and loves her church!

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  1. Perfect. Love you Sis

    • I love you!

  2. This is so eloquently written. I’m so sorry to hear of this tremendous loss for you and your sisters and will keep you all in my prayers.

    • Thank you Kay. Thanks so much for your prayers.

  3. There are no words to say. Your family’s loss is hard. It hurts and will be with you for sometime but know that God loves you and will help guide you through this very sad time. Let your memories be your guide. Let the Lord show you the way through this sorrow.
    I will pray for you each day. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Thank you Nancy. Thank you so much for your prayers and encouraging words!

  4. Touching, Beautiful, So Full of Love.

    • Thank you Jean! I know you carry grief over many losses. Thanks for reading.

  5. Beautiful thoughts about living and dying. Thank you for sharing your personal feelings. May God give you peace.

    • Thank you Mary Helen. Thanks for reading. I know you carry grief in your heart.

  6. Susan, Your gift of writing touches so many lives and hearts. Your mom had to be so proud to read your beautiful thoughts over the years. I’m sure she has read this one, too 🙂 Thank you for blessing us all in your sorrow. Love You!

    • Thank you Jeanne! That is so sweet and I hope she does know. I love you and appreciate your constant encouragement!

  7. Susan, this is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful! I’m so sorry for your loss. What heart warming memories you have. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    • Thank you Laura! Thanks for reading.

  8. SuSan I’m in tears right now you have the right word for when I think of my mom I Love you my Sister

    • Thank you Dian! I’m so blessed that it would help you. I love you too my sister!

  9. I really needed this reminder. My mom is almost 82 and falls a lot because of diabetic neuropathy. She still insists on staying by herself but at the moment is at my house recovering. It’s a hard difficult time for us all. But with God’s help we will make it.

    • He is our strength Gail! Our mom was 86 and also had insisted on being at home. With the help of home health care she was able to do that. She also had neuropathy in her feet though not due to diabetes. Her body just wasn’t able to come back with all the set-backs she had after her surgery. I pray God will give you and your mom the strength you need for each day.

  10. Thank you Susan for expressing so eloquently what many of us have experienced recently.

    • Thank you Annie! I have thought of you often as I grieve for my mom. I know you carry a lot of grief yet the Holy Spirit shines through you. I pray He will comfort you in the moments when grief hits hard.



  1. One Last Tear | Soaring with Butterfly Wings - […] I originally published this at Internet Cafe Devotions […]

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