If you will indulge me a bit for the next few moments, I would like to reminisce about my Mom.
On March 25, 2011, my brothers and I witnessed our mother slipping quietly into eternity. She missed her 92nd earthly birthday by 11 days.
James 4:14 tells us, “…What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while, then vanishes”. Our lives are, indeed, a vapor.
Mom had been a resident at Woodcrest Nursing Center in Decatur, Indiana, for a little over 2 and a half years. She was a model resident, according to staff. She always had a smile, rarely had a bad day, and was hard put to ask the staff for assistance because “they have other people that need help”.
She loved visitors, especially having her family visit. She loved the carolers at Christmas time. She loved “Pet Day” when AJ the Golden Retriever would visit her room. She loved the chapel services that were held on Sunday and mid-week. In fact, it was hard to find something that Mom didn’t like, except for an occasional menu item. Woodcrest was where she completed her days, and we were privileged to watch her bloom there making friends and creating memories even at her advanced age.
On Friday morning, March 25, 2011, Mom and I shared sugar cookies and coffee (one of her favorite treats)in her room, and she commented on just how wonderful she was feeling—apart from the usual infirmities that accompany the elderly. We shared some stories as well; she laughed, gave me her usual hug and peck on the cheek as I left, and said, “See you tomorrow”…
When I received a call from the nursing staff at 3:00 PM—roughly 5 hours later--telling me that Mom was unresponsive, her respirations were shallow, and we’d better come, I was stunned…Arriving shortly after the call, my brothers and I kept vigil at her bedside for a little over three hours while her heavenly room was being prepared. At 6:48 PM earth-time, she quietly went home.
Dying. Death. Finality. Loss. She was here, and then she was gone. What are the trappings of this mysterious journey?
Job 17:11, my days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.
Mom was a product of the Great Depression. She was born in 1919 and the impact of that dire economic event shaped her thinking all her life. She was frugal to a fault; a loyal friend and wife to our Dad; suspicious of anyone who didn’t work hard for a living; and reared her three sons with ample assistance from a willow tree in our backyard.
She loved to fish, to cook and bake, play Yahtzee and entertain guests in her home. She was a unique combination of Mary AND Martha—the adoring sisters of Lazarus in the New Testament. She loved listening to stories that people would share, but kept a wary eye on the table to ensure that there was always plenty to eat when company was there.
Her laugh was distinctive, spontaneous, and contagious. But her tears were always just below the surface when there was pain, sorrow, or sadness. She wore her emotions readily and unashamedly…
Now, as Job reminds us, her days are past, her purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of her heart…
God’s timing is perfect. I’m sure that all of us can relate stories of how God, at a precise time, provided for us in a remarkable way or ways. The fact that Mom went home to be with the LORD during this most precious season of the year has provided me with so much time for devotional thought.
I am fascinated with the Masters Golf Tournament. I’m a duffer, of course, but, oh, to wear that Green Jacket! My friends, and those that have seen me play golf, would tell me that is ludicrous fantasy. There is no way that my feeble skills would ever get me close to that prize. It would only be through someone else’s provisional grace that I could ever own that coveted blazer. But think of it: That piece of clothing would admit me among some of the most prestigious golfers in the world. It would robe me with a mark of dignity that would set me apart from the rank and file golfers all over the planet. It would define me and put me in a place of honor.
Mom used to carefully scrutinize what we wore in public. Her boys were always to look presentable and would suffer through her multi-point inspections before leaving the house. Side note: Do emergency room personnel really care what shape one’s underwear is in when they’re administering critical care? Mom thought so. One of her catch-phrases was, “that’s not fit to wear”, meaning we better find something more suitable in the wardrobe, because what we had on just wasn’t going to cut it. Proper dress meant a pass from Mom.
Mom’s perishable body put on the imperishable on the March afternoon, a few years ago. She was robed in elegance by the scarred hands of Jesus…The work and sacrifice that He offered on the Cross nearly 2000 years ago provided my mother with the precise clothing that she needed to enter his banquet room that Friday night. She didn’t have to earn it, she didn’t have to write a check for it, all she had to do was accept His work on the Cross and believe who He said He was on this side of eternity. March 25, 2011, she was awarded her Green Jacket. She didn't earn it, but it was offered to her provisionally through Someone else. She was admitted to eternity among a great cloud of witnesses and was immediately face-to-face with the Master Himself.
Easter’s event, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, opened heaven for my mother. Jesus met her at the door of her mansion. Praise God for His grace and His mercy. Praise God for Easter Sunday and our hope for eternity.