As I have journeyed through this valley with my mom it has become abundantly clear to me that God never intended for us to die. That was a consequence of disobeying Him. Rather, He created us to live. And to live abundantly forever.
Now, even though my mom's physical body/shell has died, she has not. She is continuing to live the life God originally planned for her to live, only now she is in heaven where life is as it was originally intended. One day life will be as it should be for me, too.
As I watched my mom over the last days of her earthly life, I observed how much she fought to live. She did not go easy! :) Nor should she. Life is a gift from God and she fought to maintain it to the very end. For my mom it took a month, well, actually less than a month. The first significant change came January 3, then the next change came on the 10th, followed by another significant change on the 17th. We made a follow-up appointment with her doctor on the 31st of January which she did not make.
My sister and her husband did arrive in time, and Mom did recognize her, even though she never spoke to her. By then Mom was conserving all her energy for only necessary conversation. That was Saturday the 27th. Sunday she was pretty much in a partial coma, very unresponsive except in times of pain, when she would let us know. But Monday...Monday she was totally unresponsive to us. There was no acknowledgement of us just her agonal breathing which she labored through. The hospice nurse arrived a little before 3:00 p.m., shortly after the harpist had left. He stayed until about 3:20 and then left. At 3:45 we called him back, she was with her Lord.
I had been sitting on her bed with her, just like I had done in the care center. I kept touching her, stroking her hands, etc and talking with her. I noticed a change and told my sister, then another change in her breathing, then her color changed and then she exhaled the last time. She was whole.
Oh! What a void she has left for me here at home. My sister and husband will leave this weekend and I freely admit I am dreading it. So much to do, so much to go through. How comforting it is to me to know that He is and will continue to sustain me, to carry me through this time of grief. I know the sun will shine again one day.
After my brother was killed, it took me a long time to grieve. I think because of the horrific circumstances on such a sweet, loving young man. Then, when my dad died, it was such a sudden shock that left me reeling. God was gracious to me in both circumstances. Death seems so final. Doesn't it? Even as a Christian, knowing that death isn't the end, often our hearts lag behind.
Thank goodness, the loss of someone so dear never has to mean the end of abundant, effective, and joyful living for a Christian. Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for awhile as grief takes its course, but those of us who allow our broken hearts to be bound by Christ will experience them again. My Savior, and your Savior, I pray, is the God of resurrection life, no matter what kind of death has occurred in the life of any believer!
I cannot tell you how many times I sat there beside my mom and wished it was me. Knowing that I would be going through this devastating loss again is shattering but through this time He has given me His power to my life. His power defies all odds. God Himself is the only explanation for my emotional survival and revival. Really, I believe the most profound miracle of all is living through something I thought would literally kill me. Not just living through it, but living through it abundantly and effectively.
No, I will not be the same but for me, as a Christian, my life is never about sameness. It's always about change. That's why it is important to not only survive but to also thrive when change involves heartbreaking loss. I am being conformed to the image of Christ. It is Christ alone who binds and compresses my hurt with His nail-scarred hand. And through this time, He offers me a new life...a far more compassionate life, a wiser life, and I think a more productive one, because of all I have been through on this journey with Him.