Merrily, Merrily, Life Is But A.... (When you lose a loved one)
Updated: Jan 17, 2019
2 Corinthians 5:1 (ESV) “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
I looked down at my phone and saw two missed calls from my sister. It was 4:45 pm, and I was trying not to stay too late after school. I decided to call her back while still finishing up some last minute items. When my sister answered the phone she asked, “Is Jared home with you?” I said, “No, I’m still at work.” She then told me to call her when I arrived at home. I immediately got nervous and said, “Lori, is something wrong? Just tell me.” She wouldn’t and looking back, I’m glad she didn’t.
We packed an overnight bag and headed rather quickly to Joplin, Missouri, where my parents live. My mom had been sent to the ER a couple of days prior and doctors were trying to figure out what was causing her high blood pressure and numbness. Eventually, they discovered that she had suffered a massive stroke which caused damage to her brain and the left side of her body. My mom was declining fast and doctors seemed to think she had a 24/48 hour window.
As Jared and I were traveling to Joplin, many things rushed through my mind, including feelings of anxiousness and concern about my mom’s pain. Before this stroke, my mom was paralyzed for the last nine years of her life due to an unexpected spinal cord injury. Seeing mom in pain was nothing new, unfortunately, but still difficult to watch.
When we arrived, the room was filled with family from out-of-state along with our immediate family. I’ll never forget looking at her in that condition. It was traumatic and hearing mom repeat herself over and over again was hard. She kept saying that we all needed the Lord and that she was “sorry” and “I love you so much.” Mom had an evangelical heart and loved her family. She knew leaving us behind would be very difficult for all of us, especially her three daughters.
As we said our goodbyes, and they removed her breathing tube, to our surprise, mom continued to breathe on her own. Her vitals continued to decline though and she was eventually sent to Comfort Care and later Hospice at home.
I’m thankful my mom was able to pass away at home instead of the hospital. Many never get that opportunity and that was mom’s wish. As she was dying at home, I believe it was the second day at the house, the day before Christmas Eve, my little niece was messing with an electronic gadget that was playing, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat...” Now if you ponder on the lyrics of this nursery rhyme, it’s rather thought provoking. “Row, Row, Row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is But a Dream.”
“Life is but a dream....” that lyric line kept playing over and over in my head while I was rubbing my mom’s arm watching her die. Life truly is short and when you experience a death of a close loved one, this statement becomes reality.
In Ecclesiastes 2:21 (NIV), it says, “For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.” I love this version because after the end of certain passages, the term, “chasing after the wind” is used. This gives us a true word picture of this life on earth. We are always chasing something, trying to find meaning, trying to complete what we feel needs completed and ultimately for what? Nothing. All in vain and to no avail.
James 4:14 (ESV), says, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Again, another great word picture of life, a mist. You initially see it, but quickly fades with no remembrance of it being there. If I have only a short time here, I want to make it count for Christ.
Seeing someone leave this earth is an experience you will never forget, but seeing the way they lived their life, is life-changing. Oh may we never forget what awaits us in Heaven, seeing our Creator and enjoying eternity with Him! What a joy, such a celebration that I soon will be partaking with my mom someday....that’s our Hope as believers and in seeing our loved ones who have also believed.
My mom was a great example of pursuing Christ, even though at times I know she struggled, but then again, who hasn‘t. She had joy even in her unexpected. She put her faith in God even in her unmet situations because she believed God was able. Bitterness and resentment wasn’t on her tongue but instead shouts of praise in her heart. I am so thankful I got to see it lived out! What a testimony to keep with me as many other fellow believers, including myself, have struggled in letting unresolved anger and bitterness creep in our hearts when life doesn’t go as planned. Surrendering to an All-Knowing Savior who cares for us Is absolute in the journey.
Heaven was on my mom’s mind as she left us and that’s what I want as I exit, but also while I’m still aboard, living this life for the Glory of the One who gave His life for me.
C. T. Studd says it best, “Only one life ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” What great words to live by...
As always, I’m learning right there with ya,
Thankful For His Grace,