This is a letter written by my mom this morning.
Yesterday I sat by Mama's bed. She hadn't eaten for a day or two, and her voice was deep and raspy. I couldn't understand everything she said. We've talked often in the last months about being ready to go to heaven. She knew she wasn't good enough. Welcome to our world! NO ONE IS! But she was confident that Jesus had made a way for her. She would brighten when I would remind her of one of my favorite verses: "Therefore He--that's Jesus--is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." (Heb 7:25)
I had my name tag on--Mrs Stepanian. I had come straight from Good News Club. If you know Mama, you know she read that name tag. So I told her today's Bible memory verse, "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. John one twelve."
"That's a good one."
That is where her hope lies: in the One who made the world, came to live on it and die for sins of the people, be buried and raised to life forever in heaven, giving those who believe in Him this amazing right--to become children of God. Wow.
I sat longer than usual yesterday. I sang through a bunch of old hymns, what words I could remember. She mouthed some of them with me.
Holy, Holy, Holy....God in three Persons, Blessed Trinity
Hear Him, ye deaf, His praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ.
Ye blind behold your Savior come, and leap ye lame for joy.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art....
Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.
At one point I said, "Mom, it's OK to say goodbye to this world."
Her quick response sounded flippant, "OK. Good bye, world!"
Then I said, "I look forward to the day I'll see you in heaven."
At that she smiled and rasped, "That will be a great day for both of us."
Mama still had her wits about her. For some reason I was thinking about Mom in her garden. She grew basil, a burgundy colored one, long before TV chefs were chiffonading it or Trader Joe's put pesto in a jar. And she had always pronounced it baa-zil (a like in bat. Which is the pronunciation given in my dictionary, just so you know!) I asked her, "Do you pronounce it basil or bayzil?"
"Ahlmond or aamond?" "Aypricot or aapricot?" "Pecon or pecan?" She gave her right answers....
Later the hospice nurse came in, amazed at Mama's alertness. I turned to Mama to show off that she was still very much present. "Mama, is it basil or basil?"
"Is it almond or almond?" She paused.
That made the nurse and me laugh. She wasn't going to play my game.
That may have been the last word I heard her say. I talked some more with the nurse. I kissed Mama goodbye. She waved as I left the room.
At 10:30 pm her caregiver called. "Your mom is gone."
I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. Finally gone to Jesus!
She was 99. Ready.
I thank God for making me ready to say good bye.