I think I need to give into the fact that this is the current situation and it would make sense that when I write it would be fertile ground for sharing pieces of hope and encouragement just as much as any other set of difficult circumstances.
If I told you about how many times in the last 72 hours I saw and felt God at work in the most amazing, profound and stunning ways you would literally just be blown away. I do want to summarize and share some pieces of that in hopes that you would see Him today in a whole new light and be reminded, perhaps, of how big He is and maybe, like myself, have kind of put Him in a limited box or space from time to time. That makes me sick to my stomach, but after these few days I can see how I have done that before, again, still and even now.
Do you know that dying is hard work? I never really thought of that but watching it happen and how our bodies literally are either in fight or flight at all times is just amazing. We are created so intricately, so purely attached and sewn together by His hand that it is just almost too much. Watching someone inching closer to reaching for Jesus’ outstretched hand and her body say, not, not yet, is the most beautiful and awful experience all at once. As crazy as this all seems and sounds, there are people surrounding me during this time that have witnessed pieces of all of these things for themselves. Yes, there are days and nights when I am not sure if I am dreaming or delusional but I tell you what I think that God actually has given me a clear vision of some pretty fantastic things.
Watching a person fight like hell, watching how our body responds when it starts to die and yet goes into a place of fighting to hang on is so fascinating. Fight or flight. Hold on and let go. All at the same time. There it is again. The both/and.
Yesterday I know that I saw a glimpse of heaven, and that my mom saw a vision of the after. Not maybe the afterlife, although that picture was definitely shared with her but the after for her children and specifically for me. .
Our day started in a quiet space. I was up really early as sleep is just hard to come by at the moment. I had some nice classical church hymns playing and the blinds drawn. The princess suite (the area created for my mom to rest) was very peaceful and serene. While mom was struggling to utter more than one word sentences, struggling to feed herself (she still tries and then we take over for her) and all of this is happening, she starts to cry. When I asked her if she was sad she said yes. I asked her if she wanted to talk about what was making her sad. She said yes and proceeded to tell me she was going to miss me.
Now, about that time, we had some visitors coming to the door to see us and while my bestie went to find them outside and bring them in I was able to say all of the things I wanted my mom to hear before she couldn’t respond at all. She might be unresponsive at some point (we know it is coming) and although she may be able to hear us, I guess I just needed to know by seeing her face and whatever response she could give that she had in fact heard me.I told her I loved her and that we were sad to see her go, but it was much harder to watch her suffer and that I knew that Jesus was waiting for her. So we cried together and then one of my other dear friends and his wife came in right as I had turned the volume down on the sound system.
For awhile, we sat and talked about heaven and how awesome it was going to be. We visited and chatted and mom was still emotional, so I asked her if she wanted to line dance. She laughed. I changed the music to the kind of music she enjoyed and we listened to songs by Don Williams, Merle Haggard, etc. and a little sing along ensued. Stop right there. Maybe you are thinking that we have lost our minds, but I am telling you that humor and laughter is good and healthy as long as you counter that with feeling the emotions on the opposite ends of the spectrum and are not using humor as an avoidance tactic. I have experienced just about every emotion and feeling we could possibly know in hour-by-hour increments, minute-by-minute increments for quite some time now, so I am celebrating with the sense of humor, sarcasm and wit that runs deeply in this family.
As our visit started to wind down, after a whole lot of sharing faith, hope, experience and worship, I asked my friends to pray with me over my mom. And so there the 4 of us stood and we praised God and we shared our pleas for complete healing and a peaceful transition.
Do you know that I had thought about or dreamed about calling those very same people to come visit and pray with me? Do you know that I had not uttered a word about that and my person took it upon herself to call them for me and I had no idea. When she told me that they were coming out, I was stunned and there may have been more snot-crying. She thought I was upset, and I said, “No, you don’t understand. I either dreamed it or thought about it but I had already planned to call them because I had already seen us standing around mom just talking with our friend Jesus.” He knew what was going to happen and He had already shown me. She heard Him and she knew what I needed. That’s what love does. That’s how God works.
Not even 2 hours after what felt like maybe close to some final hours with the condition mom was in, to the time she started one of her comfort meds and I am sitting there watching my mom who could not communicate well, feed herself, or walk/bathe/clothe/toilet herself and had tremors so bad it rattled every hard surface she touched able to communicate with more than one word responses, feed herself, walk with her walker, toilet herself and even partially re-dress herself and her tremors were gone. For me, that was a brief glimpse of the complete healing waiting on the other side. She will be able to do all these things and more. Also, I am not even sure that clothes are an optional or mandatory thing in Heaven so who knows if that even matters.
We had a couple of what are we seeing here? Her time is coming closer and faster than we thought.I thought maybe we were being punked in the worst kind of way. Then we see a temporary comeback and then we slide further into another territory that is similar to where the whole thing started. For my mom, last night, we were in a cabin in Montana. She was so agitated and worried and restless which, if you don’t know, is part of the pre-dying phase, and it made the entire night really difficult to manage. But at least we were in a cabin in Montana.
As the night/morning wore on and I literally lost count of how many times we got out of bed and to the chair and back, something else happened that I had also seen or dreamed, and had shared with people.
While we were in that cabin in Montana, mom was worried about something and I literally met her there, and we talked about it and I assured her that everything was okay, the cabin had already been taken care of and that she had nothing to think about but resting and enjoying it. I asked her if it would help if I climbed into bed with her and just rubbed her arm. She said yes, and so I did. I climbed into that bed and did what God had shown me was already going to happen.
I am even more sure of who He is. Dying is a birth story into the next life. And so, these different ebbs and flows in the process are much like false alarms in the labor process until when God says it is time, the baby comes. We wait with anticipation and all possible emotions in the meantime as a new baby comes into the world, and the fight or flight instinct is very present there as well.
This is just a little snippet of a beautifully painful and joyful glimpse of leaving this earth, graduating into Heaven and all of the pieces of heaven on earth mixed in to boot.
Trust Him. Trust that He does know our every thought and need. Trust that He can see what we cannot see and sometimes, He shares a glimpse of what’s coming. Thank you Jesus!