My mother passed away December 8, 2015. She was 97 years old. The call I had dreaded for many years came December 1. I had planned on seeing my mother that day, but I was sick with a sore throat and fever. Around 5 p.m. I got a call from a nurse in assisted living saying that my mom was on her way to the hospital. She had right-sided weakness.
I rushed to the emergency room. Mom’s was in atrial fibrillation and completely paralyzed on the right side. I knew the prognosis for someone her age, and it wasn’t encouraging. I stayed with her throughout the night and witnessed tears well up in her eyes. Her brow was contorted with fear and confusion. I said, “Mom, you’ve had a stroke, but you’re going to be alright.” To my way of thinking, I was telling the truth. Whether she lived or died, she was going to be alright.
I spent the next week in and out of ICU, visiting my mom when possible and sleeping across the hall in the waiting room at night. At least twice during that week, I witnessed her staring up at the ceiling, her eyes moving back and forth as if in awe. I looked up and saw nothing but the ceiling, but clearly Mom saw something more.
She was conscious, and though she could not communicate verbally, she communicated by squeezing my hand when the answer was “yes” to one of my questions. I said, “Mom, do you see a person?” She squeezed my hand. I said, “Do you see your mother?” No response. “Do you see an angel?” No response. “Do you see Jesus?” She squeezed my hand firmly.
I was hoping that God would open my eyes the way He opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant (2 Kings 6:15-17) but nothing happened. It was enough that Mom could see Jesus. She continued staring upward with wide-eyed excitement.
A day or two later, she slipped into a comma. The nurses moved her from ICU to Palliative Care. I stepped out for awhile to take a break. My cell phone rang. It was mother’s nurse. I was horrified that Mom had passed within half an hour of my leaving the room. I wanted to be holding her hand when her spirit left her body to be with the Lord. I rushed back to the hospital, grabbed my mother through the sheets and sobbed.
I am grieved that I wasn’t in the room when mom died, but maybe that was part of God’s plan. He called her home and she was ready to go. According to Psalm 139: 16, our days are numbered even before there is one of them.
Mom was a musician, painter, and writer. She wrote hymns and poetry and could play anything on the piano from “St. James Infirmary” to Mozart. She painted people and landscapes. The piano has 7 basic keys: CDEFGAB. A rainbow has seven colors. Seven is God’s number.
My dad, who passed away in 2007, was a Methodist preacher and a banjo player. He and mom made beautiful music together. She never got over his death. Now they are reunited making music in a heavenly choir.
No doubt there are musical notes and chords and colors beyond our imagination in Heaven where the living creatures say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, who was and who is and who is to come (Revelation 4: 8 NASB). I am blessed to have had wonderful parents and comforted in knowing that I will see them again. Even so, maranatha.