My Mothers Death Took Away the Fear of My Own.
That seems counterintuitive. The death of anyone close should make you more aware of your own mortality. Enhance the fear, underlined the reality. But for me it was the opposite.
My mother began to decline twelve years before she died. In reality she had been declining since I was born, forty-three years before, when she had her first round of cancer. A second then a third battle ensued in her fifties until finally after beating cancer three times and loosing s thyroid, a breast and a part of her kidney, she was attacked by dementia. That disease the cruelest of them all.
Give me cancer any day over what we saw her go through with Alzheimer’s.
In the last couple years of her life, I became obsessed with her disease. I knew I couldn’t help her at this stage, but I was determined to help myself and my children should the same fate befall me. The fear of dementia and ultimately dying young from the disease now impacts in a positive way, how I eat and move and handle stress. But for those last long months it haunted me and created a fear nearly paralyzing. I dont want my kids to go through this, I never want to be like my mother was those last sixteen days; in psychological agony, unable to speak, tormented by anxiety and what appeared to us as possession.
One of those last long days my father cried to me that he just wished she would calm so we could talk to her about Jesus.
“Are you kidding?” I replied, “She would be talking to us about Him.”
Her faith and hunger for our Lord is the greatest gift she gave to me and to her grandkids through me. Just hours after we spoke, she did calm, and we were able, for the next six days as she died, talk to her about her Lord. We prayed her into His glory. Giving her the final strength, she needed to stop fighting and go home.
I thought I would rejoice. The morning before she passed, I cried, on my knees, begging the Lord to take her and relieve her from this worldly pain. What I didn’t know, was I should have been praying that once He did take her, I would survive the emptiness.
We do. We survive. And that often seems cruel in itself. Not to those we loose, as they are in paradise, but for those of us left behind with broken hearts in a broken world.
My desire to avoid the disease that took my mother is still strong, and I believe with every whisper and shout I hear from my Lord, that I will not go down that path. But, even the possibility no longer fills me with paralyzing fear, because I know how it ends. I know that when I do leave this earth, I not only get to be in the perfect arms of my savior but wrapped in the healthy strong embrace of the woman who loved me first.
One day I will be with her again. Not now, not soon. I have work left to do here. I have her grandkids to raise, her son and husband to love. I have a legacy to build as she did in me. But oh, how beautiful that finish line now looks, knowing my mom is there ready to grab me when I cross over.