Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Time to Live and a Time to Die

I am so glad Bruce knew it wasn't his time to die.  It almost seems that God either honors a Christian's desire in this, or He gives them the desire to live if He still has work for them to do, or the longing to go when their time of departure is near.

With my mom, it seemed different, but now I wonder.  For so long she acted like she wanted to go home.  I remember talking to her on the phone one day shortly after Dad died.  She was crying.  "The nurse checked my heart today," she sobbed.  "She told me I would live to be ninety two."  Poor Mom! She wanted, so badly, to go home to be with Dad.

And yet she hung on. We hadn't thought she would even out live Dad, (see Funeral Party) and yet there she was still alive in spite of her cry for home.  We wondered what was keeping her here.

Meanwhile, Anita and her husband, Noe, and their beautiful new baby boy were waiting for landed immigrant status in Canada.  Because of the complications with his Honduran citizenship and his temporary status in the USA, he was not allowed to travel across the border, and if Anita left she might not be allowed back into the USA again to see him.

This meant that my mom, Grandma Susie, had never seen her newest great-grandson or her Honduran Grandson-in-law whom she already adored from a distance.  Finally, more than two years after Dad died, Noe received his papers and the family was able to cross the border.

Mom burst into joyful tears when they walked through the door.  This was the day she had been waiting for. God had allowed her this wonderful privilege.

Just shortly after that we got the call.  Mom was dying.  She was ready to leave.  Her one last earthly desire had been granted, and now she was about to have her heart's greatest desire fulfilled.

Throughout the vigil it was clear that she was happy to be going home.  She would get restless if the doctor suggested giving her medication to relieve pain.  She wanted no part of anything that might lengthen her journey or make it artificial.  Her last breath was the sound of victory. She was finally home.

The funeral was a beautiful celebration.  Bruce preached and the family sang and played instruments just as they had at the funeral party.
I stood talking outside our house for a while after almost everyone had left, but then I heard music coming from inside where my three brothers were gathered with my family.  I have never quite been able to explain what I felt as I walked in the front door and saw my family sitting around playing their guitars.  They were playing a Spanish song, and my Latin son-in-law, Noe, and my brother, Dave, the missionary to Latin America, were singing a duet in Spanish.

From one end of the continent to the other, God had created our family and was using Mom's passing to show me how He had knit us all together.

In spite of the sadness that is part of saying goodbye, I was overflowing with gratitude that day, not just because Mom was where she had longed to be, or because Noe and Nathanael had been granted the privilege of meeting Grandma Susie, but also because our Honduran son-in-law was becoming part of our whole wonderful family.

Thanks, Mom, for waiting in spite of your impatience.

To read more about Grandma Susie see my blog post: I wanted to me more like my mom, Grandma Susie
or to read my novels based on her life story see:

To read the last blog post see: Spring Storm
To read the last post in the life story series see: Place for a Christian School


  1. What a beautiful post and reminder that death is an appointed time. Sounds like you had a wonderful mother :)