Death of a Mother part 4

{This is the final part of the series - for part 3 go here}

I arrived at moms apartment to find her in the most deteriorated state I had seen her.

Throughout the course of that day she faded at alarming speed.

I could tell it was getting harder for my sister to look at her in this state. It was hard to behold. Mom was semi-conscious and looked like death. Emaciated, pale, and lifeless.

How much longer would she hold on?

The hospice nurse comes for a visit and encourages my sister, brother and I to leave the apartment. Not for us, for mom.

She explained that some people will not pass when someone is present, that they may want to die alone. We don’t know if that is true but we say good-byes and head out for a long walk. We come back home and she is still alive.

What is she waiting on?

My sister and brother are exhausted and for good reason. Over the last few nights they had a baby monitor in their room to hear if mom was stirring and needed something. If it wasn’t mom moving around that woke them up, then it was the scheduled delivery of pain medication. On top of the stress of it all, they had barely slept.

That night, I encourage my siblings to shut the door, turn off the monitor, and sleep.

I would take the watch tonight.

I set up a little pallet on the floor at the foot of mom's bed.

I fall asleep to the loud noise of her breathing machine but I am restless the entire time.

I sleep an hour or so and awake to check on her.

I repeat this over and over.

Close to one in the morning, at next check, she is breathing very fast.

Was this a sign of the end?

I wonder if she is in pain, so I give her the next dose of medication. I sit with her for a while, holding her hand.

I am overwhelmed with love for her. It isn't pity, it's compassion. Not a feeling I recall having for her ever before.... my heart was changing.

I was overwhelmed with the desire for her to know that it is okay… that I am okay… that she is okay… that we are okay!

All the years of pain I experienced at her hands just fades.

All the anger, disgust, and hatred is gone... it had been losing its grip on me over the past week.

I am stunned by the change in my heart and mind and I fully welcome it.

Forgiveness, compassion, and mercy fill the void. They feel soooo much better!

It’s not that the past doesn’t matter… It just that it pales in comparison to the Joy that comes when you let it go.

I never knew true forgiveness was so sweet.

As I sit here with her, the feeling is inexpressible and undefinable. I had sought it out for so many years and here it was finally... as a gift.

Redemption is beautiful!

Her breathing has calmed down.

She seems more peaceful.

I kiss her on the forehead and lie back down.

As I lie there, I remember a friend had told me that sometimes people will hang on because they are waiting to hear something from someone. And that hearing is the last function to go. I am not sure if any of that is true or if I am the one she is waiting to hear from, but I go with it.

I get back up and sit beside her.

I began to tell her things I could never say before.

She can only listen and I pray she is able to hear...

“I love you mom.”

“You were the right mother for me.”

"I'm sorry that brokenness stole a relationship from both of us."

“I forgive you... please receive that forgiveness.”

“It is time to let go mom.”

“Jesus is right here… His hand is reaching out to you.”

“Take His hand mom and go home.”

“He is waiting for you.”

I lie back down.

I get back up.

I check on her.

She is not breathing.

I reach out to touch her and she takes two short breathes and passes.

I lay my head on her chest to make sure. There is no life there… her life has moved on.

The irony is certainly not lost on me, that... I ... was the one who would be with mom at her last breathe. I had prayed for this and God had heard my prayer.

I am grateful and humbled.

Grateful for the redemption of a relationship I thought beyond all hope.

Humbled by a God that is more powerful than I give Him credit for.

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev 21:4

Thank you for joining me on the Journey ~ Heather

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Who made heaven and earth,

The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever.

Psalm 146:6