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By Belinda

From somewhere deep in the land of sleep I hear a phone ringing and footsteps running up from downstairs. My wakening brain tries to make sense of the puzzle pieces and I think, "Poor Kevin, he must have a tech support call to answer and is running up to his office in the loft room." He often works all sorts of hours up there.

A knock at our bedroom door, that I stumble from the bed to answer. Brenda is there, phone in her extended hand, her face wet with tears, "It's Uncle Bob," she says, between her soft sobs, "Omie has died."

My brother's gentle, calm, voice. "We were all with her, Belinda," he says, "John, Tim and I. I got the call this morning. It wasn't unexpected."

He has been trying all along to balance out my hope and optimism with realism, always saying, "I hope I'm wrong, Belinda, but I just can't see her pulling out of this."

Just last night Rob told me that she was closing her eyes a lot, even when he was there to visit, and when he asked her if she would like me to be there, she didn't respond. That he asked that question, and that she didn't say, "Yes," is just one of the gifts of her dying. One of God's many tender mercies. He told me that he didn't mind that she had her eyes closed for so much of his visit, "I love to look at that face, to study it, and to look at those hands that worked so hard for us," he said.

Mum was looking well, but had a look in her eyes that Rob recognized from dad's passing. I didn't want to believe that meant what it did, but last night I began rearranging my schedule to go back again at the end of March (how silly of me to think she could wait that long.)

Rob shared each detail with me. The call that had come from the hospital and how his sons rallied to his side, protective suddenly of their big but vulnerable dad. How they had all surrounded the bed, holding her, kissing her and telling her they loved her. Rob gave her kisses for me, as he has done every day that she was in the hospital. 

Mum had a mannerism when being hugged, of raising her shoulders slightly to receive the incoming hug. As her final breath left her body, she raised her shoulders beneath her pink nightgown, ever so slightly. I am sure it was to a hug from someone no one else could see. Rob said you could feel that she was no longer there.

Rob and his boys reached over her and hugged one another, one last embrace with Omie. 

The nurses were very compassionate and sensitive, Rob said. How sweet kindness feels to a heart that is laid raw.

It would feel so wrong to be anything but grateful for the grace of this gentle journey from earth life to heaven. I often wondered how it would be when the time came that Mum died. I wondered would I fall apart; be torn by the grief of losing such a precious soul? But when that moment came, all I could feel was grateful. 

I am grateful for two perfect weeks with her in January.
I am grateful for the treasured memory of intuitive knowing that I longed for her prayers.
I am grateful for the miraculous prayers she pulled out of the depths of her soul and heart, small in words but huge in significance.
I am grateful that she told me that the time we had was "better than all the other times."
I am grateful God left me with no regrets; nothing left undone.
I am grateful for her life; grateful for her faith; grateful for her love; grateful that all that was so good in her, is stuff that doesn't die, but lives on in those whose lives she left her imprint on.

As I called family and friends after Rob hung up, I couldn't wait to open up the Daily Light for today. Here it is:
Watching over the way of his saints.The Lord your God… went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go.—Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him.—The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.—Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.—For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.—And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.—“With us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with"
I am sure I will have much more to say in the days ahead but probably it will take a while. I leave very early on Friday morning for England and will be very busy until then getting ready to leave and working hard to not leave things undone that are needed by others. I will be writing from Alvechurch. 

Here are some happy memories; photos taken on January 25th, just before we left; a day when we brought Mum home a treat from Drucker's Coffee Shop.


Susan said…
And we are grateful, your readers, for your generous sharing of your mum with us. We are all the better for having known her.

Dear Mum, welterusen! Until we meet again..
I echo Susan, we are grateful that you've let us into your life and your love of your mother. Her life and love were gifts to you which you've generously shared. You will have a lot of prayers to pack in those suitcases to carry overseas.
Marilyn said…
Echoing both Susan and Dave's words, Belinda. My prayers go with you.
Cindy B. said…
My prayers too are with you and your family. Although her body will be gone, her spirit will live forever.
Sue and Les said…
Tears...Moms are so special. Standing with you and grateful for the gentle passing of your dear mom.Look at your comments and hear the hearts of your are not alone. Bless you.
Brave Raven said…
So deeply sorry Belinda.

There Will Be a Day - Jeremy Camp

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth
That we will enter in this rest with wonders anew

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long
You feel you're walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you've walked out all alone

Troubled soul don't lose your heart
Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that's in store
Outweighs the hurt of life's sting

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He bring
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

I can't wait until that day where the very one
I've lived for always will wipe away the sorrow that I've faced
To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery
O, this is why, this is why I sing

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face

There will be a day he will wipe away the tears
He will wipe away the tears
He will wipe away the tears
There will be a day
Belinda said…
Everyone, Thank you. I feel as though I have received so many cyber hugs through the tender words. I too, am so glad you all knew Mum through this place on the net. Her sweetness will go on.
mercygraceword said…
Sorrowful yet rejoicing - thank you for your example in this, and for the precious stories you have shared with us.
Joining all those who are praying.

Angcat said…
I love you dear Belinda. Your tender journey with your Mum has blessed us all.
Praying for God's loving arms around you and Rob as you go.
Belinda said…
Thank you dear Deborah and Angela. Wow, that plane will hardly need fuel, so born aloft by angels wings and prayer. Your loving support is a precious gift.
Paula Walker said…
What a gift you gave us in sharing your experiences and time spent with your dear Mum. She was beautiful. Her face was 'lit' from within, etched by life's experiences yet unworried. Her tranquil eyes seemed to say it's ok I am looking ahead to the 'prize' of eternity with Jesus. She knew she had 'wings'... a lovely face that reflected God's image. Love and prayers Belinda. Go with God.
Patricia Elford said…
Belinda, just a comment. Found out during the past year that my grandfather's (Mom's father) family came from Biggleswade, Central Bedfordshire, UK, a two-hour drive from Alvechurch. Her Mother seems to have come from somewhere closer to Alvechurch, but I don't have the name of the place at hand. Interesting. You may remember from the Grandmothers' Necklace anthology that my mom was an orphan by age seven. I'm now in touch with some of the Biggleswade Haddows. p.s. I came up with a caption for the Frances photo.
Belinda said…
Paula, Your loving "send off" is so fully received! Thank you!
Belinda said…
Patricia--Wow! Great stock to come from!

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