This is a true story.
A few years ago, we decided after much prayer and counsel to take my 81 year old mother off dialysis. We doubted that she would even know the difference. Over the previous two years, she had been quickly retreating from the world. I think she was preparing to die after her diagnosis of progressive Wagoner’s Disease.
It was hard to take. Yes, she lived a long life but to see someone like her become an invalid was an shock. She was the most active, alive, funny and godly woman you would ever want to meet. The picture here was taken a few years before she got sick. Not bad for mid-70's, huh?
I could go on and on about her life, her music ministry and her faith but take my word for it: She lived her life for Christ alone. She had an unspeakable joy about her, even through the tragedies of life, that is inexplicable apart from Christ.
The disease hit her like a ten ton truck and she changed from that vibrant woman I just described to a sick woman preparing me for her death. She even told me she wanted me to celebrate her passing because the Psalms say, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”.
By the time we decided to take her off dialysis, she had retreated totally into herself. We had not heard this formerly talkative mom say a word in months. Hospice told us it may take 2-3 weeks but that it was the least painful way to die...and with no pain. They took her off all medicines, too.
I stayed with her every night. The 3rd night into this process as I was reading aloud her favorite scriptures from Psalms and I John, she opened her eyes around 3 a.m. and smiled at me for the first time in months.
She started talking animatedly... just like her old self. I knew I was witnessing something very special so I grabbed my note book and started taking notes. I am not going to go into the exact words because I cannot bring myself to open that notebook yet. But I can remember the poignant ethereal quality of her speech. They were not words for this world.
She started talking about heaven as if it were a grand place she was going to spend a holiday. She looked at me and exclaimed with excitement, “Lin, I cannot wait to see sunshine again!” I thought this very strange since it was sunny during the day but I just listened to her. She was totally lucid for about 3 hours just talking about heaven, scripture and love of the Lord. It was as if she could not wait to get there. Several times during this period, she repeated the same phrase about ‘seeing sunshine again’. She spoke nothing about her 81 years here on earth. So I asked her about specific memories of her life and all she would say is, “Oh, I have been so blessed!” It was clear she had put the world behind her and was looking forward to eternity.
After those 3 precious hours, nothing. I knew I had been given a precious gift but I did not know how sacred until after she passed away.
The funeral home visitation was very crowded and I knew there were people I was not able to see. It seemed that people from every church were she had played came to visitation. There were many people I did not know… a testament to all the people she came in contact with in 65 years as a church musician.
At one point a man came in and introduced himself to one of my brothers. He said that 20 years ago our mother helped him compose some music for a demo album. After seeing the obituary, he said the Holy Spirit impressed upon him to take his latest CD to her family. He did not know why. So he gave my brother the CD and left. We have no idea who he is.
When visitation was over, my brother played the CD at home. He was blown away. The first song was about heaven and had these lyrics, ‘I will see sunshine in heaven’.
Coincidence? Or, the God of Comfort speaking to me?
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
17 December, 2006
This is a true story.