When I posted my last, I had no idea that a "crazy week" would stretch into 3 and beyond. Even now, I can't quite grasp all that has taken place in my life over the past 2 weeks -- the lessons I've learned, the Scripture I've read, the tears I've shed. I couldn't begin to put it all into one blog post, so this may be the first of many on the subject.
My mom passed away this morning.
Even as I type that, though I've seen what I've seen, it still does not seem possible.
It was very sudden. On February 21st, Josh and I settled into our new apartment, and I talked to my mom on the phone. She asked about the baby, our new apartment, and asked me if I wanted some things she'd found when cleaning out my sister's room. We did not talk too long, because my dad and sisters were waiting for her to go out to eat. The last thing she said to me was "I love you, honey. I'll call you tomorrow."
At the restaurant, she began to have signs of a stroke, much like the TIA she'd had 4 years ago -- not remembering names and specific things. Later that evening at the emergency room, she had a massive stroke. My sister called me a little after midnight that night to tell me that things were really bad, and Josh and I left for Illinois right away. Though mom lived for the next 2 weeks, and underwent a serious operation, she never awoke from her coma, and never saw us or spoke to us in the time that has gone by.
We sat in the hospital all day every day during that time. For the first week, she was in SICU, and we could only visit 2 at a time (though sometimes there were 4 or so of us). My sisters and I polished her nails and toenails, and gave her lipstick. We all talked and prayed, and sang and read Scripture to her. Then last Sunday she was moved into her own room, and hospice care, and we all could gather there together, where we spent the last week by her side.
She had such pretty warm hands, with the nails painted so nicely. I held one for hours and hours every day this week. I miss it already.
What can you say about your mom? We (her 6 kids) all had a great relationship with her. She was loved by hundreds of children in the nursery ministry where she served for years, not to mention their parents. We've seen and talked to hundreds of her friends during these weeks. I can't begin to recount the memories, the things that were special about her. If you knew her, you certainly have memories of her yourself. Feel free to post them here for me, it is such a comfort to think of all the people who loved her.
I never spent a moment during these weeks in which I did not feel the Lord's gentle care for me. He seemed very close, the Spirit's ministry of comfort very real. Oh, there were, and still are, moments of aching loss and overwhelming heartache, but my Gentle Shepherd has cared for me and lead me through these days. I know that sometimes when people go through suffering, the most difficult aspect is that they do not feel the closeness of the Lord, so I am so grateful that I did. "I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name" as the hymn says. Jesus is the dearest and sweetest name I know, more than ever.