It was a Wednesday. The first Wednesday in April. The sun was shining. Evidence of spring saturated the outdoors and permeated the halls of Maple Lawn. As I neared her room, I saw the hospitality “cart” outside her door – a lovely collection of cookies and orange juice, coffee and fruit – a “notice” that the family would need sustenance – as we would watch and wait.
Several of us were there – my sister and brother, some cousins, my aunts and uncle. We went in and we went out. Heads slowly shook in sadness and in heartbreak. Aides and nurses came in and stood by her bed. They cried. We could do no more to keep her here with us. My mother was dying.
She’d put up a good fight. She wasn’t created to die, most obviously detected in her steadfast resolve and perseverance. God had originally made her for eternity. It’s the story of the Garden of Eden and of love and of perfection – of sin and of death. It’s the story of a body that should have been perfect and could have been perfect, but of course, wasn’t. It’s the story of a downward spiral of health problems and a broken spirit that just gave up, especially in the last month.
For years, she had plodded forward – literally plodded forward. Her crippled feet and shrunken stature, stenotic spine and withered muscles, cancered blood and arthritic bones impeded her once vibrant step, year by year, month by month, and day by day. Only one purpose kept her going – Wayne. She couldn’t leave him. He needed her. Til death do us part, they had said, and a promise is a promise. And the love grew stronger than the promise. So she loved him and served him until the day he didn’t need her any longer. And that day was one month before.
So it was a Wednesday. The first Wednesday in April, one year ago now. And I needed that lovely offering of sustenance on the hospitality cart, as I watched and waited and sang to her and whispered sweet memories in her ear, and finally observed her right hand lift to meet His as the Lord took her home. And in the middle of that Wednesday, the promise of spring and new life was stronger than the heartbreak of holding my Mama’s broken, still body, and my sustenance was found in more than cookies and orange juice, coffee and fruit.
And now it is a Wednesday. The first Wednesday in April, one year later. Today, I again need that lovely offering of sustenance – and I find it in God’s Word.
I remember my mother – and I think of faithfulness, of a promise, of unending love, and of perseverance. I cherish the memory of the one who gave me life – of the one who showed me, through example, her faith in God. I hear her whispering, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. . . earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:23-26)