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 gladness.es."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.