March 12, 2019

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
One of the most poignant days of my life was having to say goodbye to my Mom from a faraway country, knowing that it was not possible for us to make it back in time to see her in person before she passed from this life into life eternal. It all happened unexpectedly and very quickly. Thankfully I had an incredible visit with my Mom several weeks earlier. When I talked to her the night before we left, she was chipper, chatty, and expressed her love over and over.
My sister, Janice, called me two days after we left on our trip to tell me about Mom’s declining health. When we called, Mom teased us and I remember she was eating a Dreamsicle ice cream bar. We had a beautiful conversation. All of her grandchildren got to call her, and she told each one of them that she loved them. We didn’t realize it, but this was her “Rally Day.”
All day long she kept staring out the window and when Janice asked her what she was looking at, she said, “Your Daddy’s out there! He keeps coming to see me.” He had passed away eight months earlier and we believe he had come to help her on her journey. Janice told her the next time he came, she may want to go with him.
The next day Mom was non-communicative and unresponsive. We knew it would not be long. It gave us great comfort to know Mom was in the hands of God, a God of grace and mercy, who had prepared a place for her. We were at peace and praying that she would continue to be blessed on this gentle journey. Very soon my Mom was to begin a most wonderful chapter of her life.
Mom had a room full of people that night, including Paul and his family. Paul held Mom’s hand for a long time, prayed over her, and gave her kisses from all of us who could not be at her side. It was a sweet, tender time for him and for all of us through him! I texted Janice at 8:56 and everyone had gone except my sister and her little dog, Hank, who would not leave Mom’s side. It was finally quiet, so I called. Mom breathed her last breath while I was on the speakerphone with my sister, right at 9 p.m. What a “surreal” moment! It was a treasured gift indeed, a holy and sacred time for these two sisters and our precious Mom. Janice said, “Well Marsha, you WERE here with Mom tonight after all!” Yes, I was, and now the circle was complete. Mom was at peace with my sweet Daddy again, embracing the gift of eternal life!
Marsha Long, Director of Hospitality