This post was originally written in February of 2011 (“Mother’s Day in February”), when I thought my mother might not survive. She lived another 7.5 years and passed away last night, October 27, 2018.
The sands of time are sinking . . .
“Mother, you’re in the hospital. You had a stroke. Remember?”
Slow nod, barely perceptible. Eyes closed, a cloud of silver hair on the pillow.
The dawn of heaven breaks . . .
And there she is, at the piano with me, black hair, bright eyes, big smile, cheery voice. The voice that her teacher told her could have gone into opera. “Happy happy me! Happy happy you! When I see someone who is happy, I feel happy too!” The voice that she decided to use for church and children.
I sit on the bench, swinging my legs, singing, clapping. “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. . . .”
Sleep now. There you are, spreading out the birthday tablecloth. Through the years I looked for but never found a tablecloth like that. Cottage cheese pancakes for breakfast, homemade chili for supper. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting. So many gifts.
We came here in a breath, in a blink. And in another breath, another blink, I will be the one on the pillow, and my own children will say, “Mother, you’re in the hospital. Here, Mother, let me help you. Do you want just one more bite? No, you can’t do that, Mother. You need to rest now.”
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes.
You took me out to lunch when I was in high school. When I was the one who wasn’t speaking, except in monosyllables. You tried. Thank you.
And there you are, thrusting Stepping Heavenward into my hands. The book that brought me to my knees, not once, but all three times that I read it.
“Mother, would you like for me to read to you from the Bible?”
Eyes focus a little more. Slight smile. Small nod.
One psalm. Another. Another.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. . . . Be still and know that I am God.”
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out the the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
“O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.”
“Mother, who are you putting your trust in?”
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand.
Low voice, barely audible. “The Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thank you, Mother. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for pointing me to Jesus.
And glory . . . glory . . . dwelleth . . . in Immanuel’s land.