My mom passed Friday, June 3, 2016.
Since her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, our phone calls became more frequent. From our routine once weekly to daily chats, I remained in touch. A very weak voice answered my calls in the afternoons as time went by. A few weeks before her passing, our conversations became shorter and shorter.
"Hi Sis,” I say. “How’s Mom today?”
“She’s not good,” she replies. “She’s stronger in the mornings, but her energy goes quickly,” Sis tells me. “Maybe call right after breakfast.”
We agree that I’ll call at 9:00 central time, after Mom eats breakfast and while my sister can help her with the call.
The next morning at ten o’clock my time, at the prompting of my smartphone’s alarm, I slip out to my car and dial Mom’s number. Her name comes up on my screen and I wait. My sister answers.
“Jimmy,” she says with effort. “Mom’s not doing well. The night was very hard. Kelly and I were here and hospice came at midnight. It’s close to the end. She may have a couple days or it may only be hours.”
My sister continues to talk softly, but I can’t focus on her words.
“I just want to talk to her,” I say. “If she’s able to talk to me, I want to speak to her one more time.”
“Hold on.” she says.
As I wait, I hear quiet voices, and then my mom says “Hello” into the receiver.
“Hi Mom – it’s me,” I say, my words stumbling. I feel an urgency as time flees. “I love you. You are such a great mom. You know, you’ve always been the best mom to me.”
I keep talking, holding on to her as I hear her breathing and the house noises in the background. My mom’s earthly life is ebbing away. I knew it. She knew it. “I’ll see you in heaven,” I say at the end of our talk.
She says with an extremely weak, very soft: “Okay.”
“Jimmy,” my sister’s voice comes across the line, “I’ll call soon.”
Forty-five minutes later, my phone rings.
I didn’t really know what to feel when I saw the identifying “Mom” on the screen. Sis’s news is both expected and shocking: “Jimmy, Mom has passed.”
My mom’s faith was a constant throughout her life. She knew the presence of her Savior through the loving arms He wrapped around her, extending strength and grace that she in turn extended to others. As time went by and she came closer to the end, those arms of love tightened, drawing her ever nearer to Him until at the passing, He totally enfolded her to Himself.
A believer’s testimony speaks to us about God’s faithfulness to bring us into His presence in heaven. My celebration of Mom’s life includes her steadfast knowledge of her living Lord. She leaves this as her testimony to children, grandchildren, and great-grands, too.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16