I had been working on a couple of blog posts this weekend, one about the new Obama administration and the other about the Mumbai terror attacks. Those posts were cast by the wayside, however, when I received the news this morning that my mother had passed away. (Added - I was up at 5:30 AM this morning, unable to sleep, so I finished the Mumbai piece. You'll find it just below this one. - Mike)
Her health had been in decline for some time, due mainly to the debilitating effects of a stroke that she suffered in 2000. Then there was a cancer diagnosis late last year. We knew that Mom was on borrowed time.
She had been living near us, in an Oklahoma City nursing home, for some time. We visited her often, and she particularly cherished her grandchildren -- especially when they were babies. Mom always had a soft spot for babies. She would cuddle our babies, stroking their hair, kissing them gently, and whispering tenderly to them. We would have to practically pry them out of her hands when our visits came to an end.
My father's death ten years ago from pancreas cancer was a particularly terrible one. He suffered greatly, and the bedside vigil during his last hours was one of the most difficult things that I have ever endured. Our prayer for Mom was that she would pass peacefully, with little or no suffering. Our prayer was answered. After her health had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer eat, the hospice staff kept her warm and comfortable in her bed, medicating her only for pain. She passed away quietly in her sleep.
As I sat with Mom this morning, holding her frail lifeless hand and letting go of my sorrow, the words of an old Nazarene hymn came to mind. In fact, it was one of Mom's favorites:
'Til the storm passes over,
'Til the thunder sounds no more;
'Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand,
In the hollow of Thy hand;
Keep me safe 'til the storm passes by.
I can only offer this simple prayer on behalf of Mom: The storm has passed. Standing in the presence of His glory, you're safe. Praise God, you are finally Home.
Please pray for me, and my family, as we celebrate the end of Mom's earthly journey, and the beginning of her eternal one.