In the late evening hours of January 28th, 2015, heavens gates swung open wide. Walking towards them on a bright golden path would be the figure of a woman taken from her earthly life where she has served it well and walks into another life where it will now serve her.
Waiting just beyond those gates will be her welcoming party. Her husband who departed this life at the age of 42, leaving behind his wife and two young daughters. Her mother will be standing near with arms spread open with a smile on her face as she watches her daughter enter inside those the gates. Perhaps her young brother will be there, he died as a child and now stands with his hand fitting tight inside the hand of their mother and a father standing off in the distance along with many other family members and friends that have made this same journey ahead of her.
Without question the all-merciful God whom she served her entire life was smiling as she approached the throne, hearing his voice say, “well done thou good and faithful servant.”
Her body now in perfection, unlike the frail weak bruised earthly one her remaining family is now starring at as she lies in a cold casket waiting for the final descent into the darken earth.
It is currently the only representation of a person known and loved by so many that gather around her to say their last goodbyes.
This person of whom I am speaking of, is my dear sweet mother. The last person in front of me that has been taken home. Someone that truly represented the meaning of the word, Christian. She lived a life that was firmly planted in her love for God.
Her poor body has been the subject of medical discomfort, from breast cancer to a dozen stents placed in her heart over the past three years. Slowly day by day it wore down until God whispered in her ear that night and said, “it’s time to come home to the place I have prepared for you.”
As I stand over her body and see the noticeable bruises on her hands and arms I can only smile in my efforts of letting go, knowing that her final destination is by far better suited for her than the course of her last days on earth.
All pain has left her, all her worries suspended forever more, all fears have passed, she is now sitting at the feet of Jesus probably asking Him to care and watch out for the ones she left behind. How happy I am to be one of her two daughters that she will take those prayers of mine and hers higher and closer to the source of her love.
She took the word Christian serious just as she took the commands of her Biblical knowledge to have a spirit of kindness, meekness, gentleness, patience, and long-suffering as a vital principle to live her life by. If these are all prerequisites of a future heavenly home, then by all means the honor is all hers. I honestly think it came natural to her. It was not something she had to work at in order to achieve.
Her pilgrimage was a service to others. Her hands showed signs of the type of work she committed her life to. Her generous nature and her ability to build a bridge of love across many a rocky roads while constructing her own to the shores of eternity.
No longer mom will you worry about what clothes to wear for the day, your garments are now white as snow and never more to be returned or never will you have to dread another doctor appointment or think about what meal to prepare. You are now in the place of the most high and though we will continue to weep on occasions because of your passing, know that we are also smiling in our hearts that you are home with the Lord.
This family of ours has not lived within the range of honor and love such as yours. But this I promise, to begin living a purposeful, more spiritual pursuit of living my finest hours. With more humbleness and love and dedicated mind of serving our Savior so that when the whisper in my ear comes I am ready to pass through that veil of this life into the next and not be a stranger to those waiting for me at those heavenly gates.
Your love fell upon the heads of each person that stood in your presence. Your undying regard and affection were so impressive that I have trouble realizing how damaged your poor heart really was considering just how much love it contained.
If there is anything at all I could say to my sister, her children, my daughter and granddaughters it would be the following words. To rise up on the wings of their mother and grandmother and spread the love and joy that she unselfishly shared with all the world she came in contact with. She was constant in her walk through the storms of life and retained a dignity like no other I have ever seen. To not lightly pass over life and do not hold on to the anxieties of this world but rather humble yourselves in some sense of purity so that others will see the light that is in you and want to be a part of that work, glorifying the heavenly Father in our daily walk.
Mom, you were an angel from your beginning. How sweet it must have felt to know God consecrated your life early for duty and filled you with so much perfect love. You fed many people and with each spoonful of food they put into their mouths they received a huge amount of love poured into each meal you cooked. We miss those meals. Especially around the holidays as the family made plans to drive to your house and spend special time together. The laughter and moments we spent together during those special moments will now become a part of our memory.
You are now at home, forever with the Lord. Your pilgrimage has ceased and your duty as a Christian is now done. Strange as it seems your spirit has risen above your body. It is no longer inhabited with the breath of God. It will return to dust in a short while and never more be useful in this life. You have done well mom. Thank you for the many years of your friendship and love. For being there when I wasn’t and for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.
Your appointed hour came quickly, I thought I was prepared. For the most part I was but the pain still surfaced and has found its way into the pit of my soul.
Day by day your family will continually think of you, even if in some small way. Your activity and special worth for which you gave to each of us will never be forgotten.
I will listen for signs of you, I will watch for moments that I sense you close. In the wind slightly blowing a gentle breeze, in the summer when the plants are in bloom, remembering how your hands tended to them. When I see families gathering for meals and when ours, gather in your name to dedicate a holiday ritual together. I will cherish the memories of the time I spent with you not that long ago. I will miss you standing on the back porch early in the morning with my cup of coffee waiting on me to return from a hike in the woods. I will miss your preserving qualities of life and render them difficult for me to now embrace.
I hope I can be more mindful and more affectionate to my loved ones that are around me. It has not been one of my special attributes, but I know I have it in me because of the good stock from which I am born. Both you and dad were remarkable parents and if I were to write of him, the story would be very similar.
How two perfect individuals found each other in this lifetime and came together as one can only be evidence of the Mighty Hand of God. And how without much education and little training you both discovered and lived the one important thing God has to offer us all, that being to love as He loves each of us. He inserted that holy ingredient in the hearts of both you and dad and neither of you ever failed to share that love with each person God put before you.
The funeral director has just told me that it is time to begin, Mom, I am sorry, but I can’t stay in here during that time. I have had my few minutes alone with you inside this church you attended and I have spoken only a sketch of thoughts from my heart. I will be standing outside in the cold mist of rain thanking God that I had the best parents in all the world, please know that I am so proud to have been your daughter. With all my soul and strength, I must now say good-bye. Wearied by the weight of death but joyous from the heart that God has claimed you now as one of his occupants of heaven. I know you are with Jesus and I know you are walking with my earthly father. Continue to look down upon us mom, the ones you are leaving behind and if it is at all possible, tell Jesus thank you.
Farewell Life, Welcome Life
by Thomas Hood
Farewell, life! My senses swim,
And the world is growing dim;
Thronging shadows crowd the light,
Like the advent of the night;
Colder, colder, colder still,
Upward steals a vapor chill;
Strong the earthly odor grows ——
I smell the mould above the rose!
Welcome, life! The spirit strives!
Strength returns, and hope revives!
Cloudy fears and shapes forlorn
Fly like shadows at the morn:
O’er the earth there comes a bloom,
Sunny light for sullen gloom,
Warm perfume for vapor cold —-
I smell the rose above the mould!