As I sat at the kitchen table with my sister on Saturday, we spent time putting a puzzle together and talked quietly about life. We talked about remembering two years ago. I bring it all up in this blog posting, not to stir pain, but so that I don’t forget. I fear that as time passes, the memories will fade, and I want to remember the last days with Mom. I want to remember the beautiful moments, even though they were painful and sad. I want to remember her homecoming.
So today, I am grateful that I journal. Journal to remember.
I am grateful that God gives me words.
I am grateful that even though it has been two years today without Mom for those of us left to carry on, it has been two years for Mom at home with God. Two years that she has been able to hold her little Judy’s hand, two years that she has been with her brother Lloyde and her sisters Arlene and Eileen, two years with her Mom and Dad. It must seem like just a day to her…
I stood at the kitchen window this morning, admiring the amaryllis that is in full bloom, the sun shining in just as it did two years ago today, welcoming the day with glorious morning light, as if to say, “THIS is the day.” Sitting next to the blossoms…my little red glass cardinal bird, both gifts from Mom’s best friend, my second Mom in this world. I am blessed, so blessed, so completely unworthy, but so blessed.
And I am overwhelmed today with gratefulness.
Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant
Written January 27, 2013
I just knew when I got up yesterday morning that it was going to be the day. Mom’s color had changed. Her breathing was shallow and seemed to take more effort than she had left in her. She didn’t move in her bed any longer. She just slept.
I held her very warm hand in mine and there was no gentle squeeze returned. As my brother Dwight put it, “She is shrinking before our eyes.”
We attempted to have a “normal” day, if that is what you call this vigil. Leftovers for lunch. Dad went to the drug store for coffee and ordered donuts for church. Angela took a walk to the Et Cetera Shop. Dwight was at the apartment all day while Marlene went to a swim meet. Sam and I went for a long walk and bought potatoes for dinner. Steve went to the motel and took a nap in the afternoon. Aunt Ivol and Uncle Fred stopped by for a visit. And none of us were really in the apartment at the same time. Until 5:00 p.m.
Returning from our walks, Angela, Sam, and I were in the kitchen getting potatoes in the oven and broccoli cheddar soup on the stove for dinner.
Dwight and Angela went to Mom’s bedside to check on her, Dad and I joining them a few minutes later. Marlene was talking to her sister on the phone, and Sam and Steve were visiting in the kitchen.
We weren’t at her bed very long when we realized she was at the end of her long walk home. Everyone gathered around the bed, “My Jesus I Love Thee” was playing, and we watched her last few gasps, as “I Surrender All” began to fill the room. Her husband of 62 years was holding her hand and her family surrounded her as the gates of Heaven opened wide to welcome her home. What a horrible, touching, unforgettable, priceless moment.
“I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now…
…All to Jesus I surrender;
at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
A few minutes later, we were standing in the living room waiting for the mortuary to arrive, many tears shed and hugs given. Angela looked down on the floor and picked up a quarter that was shining up at her. She held it in her hand, feeling that it wasn’t a quarter at all but a silver coin with an angel on one side and the words, “Someone is watching over you” on the other side. The living room is small. We have all lived in this room for over a week now. And that coin just happened to appear at that moment?
I choose to believe that was no coincidence. Mom was still being Mom, and I believe it was God’s way of letting us know she is okay, and we will be okay, too.
Mom spent her life pointing the way to Jesus. Mom impacted more people than we will ever know. When all was said and done, Mom fought the good fight. She finished the race, and she will be absolutely beautiful wearing that crown.
Well done, Grace Johnson Ferguson. We are blessed to have known you.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.