Get the book here

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Death of a Mom

The family in which I grew older (I didn't grow up until much later) was dysfunctional before it was trendy. You can't miss what you never had; and I never had a relationship with my parents. I envy those who do; and am furious at those who have a healthy family dynamic yet do not appreciate it.

My dear friend Lavonne Ponstein "lost" her mother recently; and wrote about it. (you can't lose someone when you know where they are)I knew her Mom; a dear lady, a saint, a servant.

Lavonne's writing is so good, so touching, so instructive, that I share it here:

Walking Mom to Heaven
It’s quiet in the house now.  No more is Mom in the kitchen preparing a meal.  No more is mom greeting everyone who walks in the house with the words, “What can I get you to eat?”  No more is Mom protesting, “You have a million and one things to do at TFC, you leave that to me, and I will take care of it.” Yes, it is quiet in the house.  Now, the only sounds are the bell on her walker telling me she is trying to sit up on her bed.  Now the only sounds are K-love playing quietly in the background and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard of my computer. 
The other day I sat in her room and as I watched her sleep, I was hit with the thought, “my mom’s serving days were over.”  All my life I have watched my mom serve.  Serving was her life. She served my dad as she walked beside him as a farmer’s wife, she served him as she walked him to heaven,  she served her children, she served her grandchildren, she served her neighbors, she served her church and it was all because she served her God. That realization flooded my eyes with tears – floods my eyes with tears. Every meal, every piece of cake, every cold drink my mom served me was love spoken over me.  Her serving wrapped me in this assurance – you are loved, you are valued, you are treasured! She created a bottomless treasure chest of serving.  But now as I face the reality that her serving days are over I find myself wanting one more moment of her serving me and silently saying with no words, “You, my daughter, are loved, you are valued, and you are treasured!”
My mind wanders back to the memory of the sound of the rocking chair, the feel of my head on her shoulder as she held me all night so I could breathe, and the assurance that tomorrow I would feel better because I was safe in her care.  I see her cleaning off the pond so we could play “Ponstein Hockey”, I see her going to do chores so we could play one more game of basketball with dad, I see her waxing the floor and laughing as we slid across it in our socks.  I smell the cinnamon rolls on Saturday afternoon, the turkey on Thanksgiving morning and I see the table full of food at Christmas. I can see her making beds and preparing spots for everyone to sleep when the family came home to visit.
And with every memory, I see now, more clearly than ever, it was in her serving that my mom was walking me to heaven. She was walking me into understanding Jesus. She was walking me into a deeper faith. She was walking me into the security of knowing I was loved, accepted and pleasing to Jesus. She was walking me into the freedom of serving Christ in the way He had called me to serve Him. Her serving taught me to “see the need, meet the need and do it gladly.  Her serving prepared me for this walk with her.
Now it is my turn, my siblings turn, to walk her into a fresh understanding of Jesus.  A deeper unspeakable faith as she see Jesus face to face. We are walking her into the security of knowing that she is forever loved, accepted and pleasing to her Father.  We are walking her to heaven where she will be able to serve her Lord and Savior. He will hold her close to his heart and whisper into her ear, “You served me well!  You, my daughter, are loved, you are valued, and you are treasured.” 
It is quiet in this house now. But in the quietness and the silent tears, all is well, because we are walking mom to heaven.

Reflections on the walk with mom

In the last week, I have had several people ask me how I’m doing – if I need to have a break and step away from taking care of mom for a bit and I always say “No.” This time has been hard and difficult but also precious and beautiful. I read a book recently, written by a woman who was dying of cancer. She shared how she and her family chose to walk into the experience rather than run from it. She talked about how often, in our society, we run from the hard places of life because -- They Are Hard! But she shared, how instead, we should embrace them, because it is in them, God does his most beautiful work in us. We should walk willingly on the path of dying with those we love, because it is on that path we will see God more clearly. He will do amazing things in us. He will take off of us the stuff that keeps people from seeing Him in us. With each step, with each act of service – my love for my mom grows and it reminds me of Jesus kneeling in front of his disciples and washing their feet. With his actions he was saying, “You have so much worth and value to me – I will serve you because I love you.” I’m understanding, in deeper ways, acts of humble serving deepens love -- makes the love in your heart burst to overflowing. Jesus' love for me was exploding for me as he served me on the cross. This morning my niece and I were helping my mom – and she said, “Girls, I’m so sorry you have to do this.” And my niece tenderly said, “Granny, I love you, I am honored to help you.” To which my mom said, “You still love me?” And my niece wrapped her in a hug and said, “I love you so very much!” It was a beautiful moment!
I am grateful I read that book only a few weeks before all this started happening with mom. Now I just want to run into it – even when I’m weary, sad, grieving – because it is here that Christ will be able to do his best work in me. It is here that I am going to get the best look at heaven – at his glory – at his face. This will be the moment I will get a peek into heaven! Why should I run from this? – I’m walking my mom to the most exciting, glorious, beautiful time of her life. The moment of death – will be her fullest moment of joy! Why should I run from that – why should I hate the signs that her earthly body is giving up – because it is one more step toward her full and wonderful eternal life in the presence of Jesus! With each step I take with her – God is teaching me to cling to this life less and to him more - That is a very good thing. I’m walking my mom into the presence of Jesus – is there anything bigger joy than that? I can’t think of a single one! But I still cry. And Jesus understands.
Reflections on standing at the door of heaven.
There was darkness, there was a fierce battle, and then heaven’s door opened and Jesus carried mom home. No more is there a wall between her Savior and her.  No more can satan attack.  No More!  In her Savior – she wins! The battle is over!  The party has begun!
Over and over in the past couple of weeks Mom has said, “Vonnie, what can we do for a party? Where can we go for a party?”  And over and over I have said, my siblings have said, “Oh mom, your party is coming! We can do nothing compared to what will happen when you walk into heaven.”
This morning I watched the sunrise – the birds were singing – the sky was breaking forth in shouts of glorious color – and for a bit, I heard the distance faint sounds of the party! My mom is experiencing the most exciting, glorious, beautiful party of her life.  She is living the life she was created for – she has life to the full! She is wrapped in the presence of her Savior. She is seeing her Savior face to face.  And in His face, she sees clearly, fully, completely, finally; she is fearfully and wonderfully made! Oh what a glorious day this is!

Mom enjoy the party!


Kim said...

Jack thank you for posting this. We "lost" my mom a year ago next month after walking through her 2 year battle with pancreatic cancer. This perspective is precious and one we tried to have as well. Death is hard but Jesus is so amazing to help us as we help our loved ones anticipate the "party" Blessings--Kim

Vic said...

Jack, thank you for posting this. My mom crossed over to her party and cancer-free body a little over 3 weeks ago. It was a long seven months, but it was sure a short seven months. I'm sad that I won't see her again here, but I'm happy for her because I know where she is. Thank you!