The news both shocked and devastated me. I slouched back in the couch and crossed my arms. Tears threatened to fall.
“Why do they have to move Mom?”
She sat down beside me and put her hand on my knee. “Honey, they’re only moving to a bigger house across town. Not halfway around the world. You’ll still see them.”
“But, it just won’t be the same as across the street.”
A million thoughts went through my mind. Our best friends were moving. We kids grew up together, our families went camping together, and we were inseparable. I was even mistaken for their daughter many times (it’s the red hair!). Who would play Barbie’s with me, walk to school with me, or who would I tell my secrets to?
I knew I’d see them again, but I didn’t want to say goodbye.
In February, 2007, Mom’s journey here on earth was almost over. We knew the end was near.
The question went through our minds. How do we say goodbye? How do we prepare to say it?
Well, it’s not easy. We spent every moment we could with Mom. Even though in the end she couldn’t speak much, just being in her presence was enough.
I would often sit in her room and knit while she slept. I also began reading Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven. I wanted as much information possible, so I could picture where Mom was going.
What would she do when she got there? I imagined her dancing with Dad and falling at the feet of her Saviour, worshipping Him. I pictured her having tea with her friends and laughing uncontrollably.
All of this comforted me. Still does.
The day came. February 16th, 2007. One of the hardest days I’ve ever had to face. My tears are still fresh even now as I type this blog. Susan, Murray, Natalie and I were all in the room. Mom’s breathing laboured.
Mom loved music, so we played the Chapelaires’ CD (a gospel group Jeff sang in previously). We wanted the words to soothe her.
I was sitting on one side of the bed, and my sister the other. We each held one of her hands. Murray stood at the foot of the bed. We told her we loved her and we would see her again. We also said it was time for her to let go of us and take Jesus’ hand. We said goodbye. And then we waited.
As Jeff’s voice came through the speakers during the song Look for me, we were given a gift; simultaneously. Susan saw Mom’s eyes grow wide as if in a “wow” moment. I noticed goose bumps on her arm. Neither of us saw both, but each saw our gift clearly. Murray watched Mom from the end of the bed with Natalie at his side. We all knew it was time.
Doctors would probably have some type of medical explanation of why we saw what we did, but we believe it was at that particular moment when Mom saw Jesus. She passed from her earthly body and stepped into eternity. She saw her Saviour’s face, and couldn’t contain her excitement. Wow.
Saying goodbye is hard, but knowing we will see her again fills us with an indescribable joy.
She finished her last stitch and stood back to view her Legacy quilt. It was full of different colors. There were bright swatches for the days full of joy and dull ones for the harder times. Her stitches varied in size and shape. She could tell when life was good and her steady hand stitched evenly. The jagged and broken stitches were the trying times when life brought difficult circumstances. Tears formed in her eyes as she hoped the quilt she left her children and grandchildren would last forever. She sat back down and put away her needles. It was time to say goodbye. She could see her Saviour’s outstretched hand and hear His voice. “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Look For Me (by Rusty Goodman)
When you finally make your entrance to that city of jasper walls, and bright golden avenues.
As you behold all its beauty and its splendour
Remember there’s just one request I make of you.
Look for me, for I will be there too.
I realize when you arrive there’ll be so much to view.
After you’ve been there ten thousand years, a million, maybe two, look for me, for I will be there too.
Doreen Harrison – May 2, 1937 – Feb. 16, 2007
I miss you Mom. I will love you forever.