My mom loved life. She loved to laugh. She loved being a mom. She took joy in the more simple things – beautiful birds, giggling children, autumn leaves, ice cream, toffee anything, football, a good bridge game, and babies of any species. She was conscientious and hard-working, yet happy-go-lucky, never sweating the small stuff. She was a woman of faith. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was a blast to be around.
She died on February 4th at the age of 91.
Mom had been in a local hospital for over a week and was then moved to their Palliative Care Unit. At one point a nurse said, “She’s a fighter.”
It was then that several relatives suggested that Mom may need “permission to go.” Since Mom and I had a very close relationship, I was asked to have that talk with her.
Mom had been in and out of drug-induced consciousness. Finding a lucid moment with her would be a challenge, and I knew I had to have that conversation very soon.
I prayed for the right timing and the right words.
I drove to the hospital very early the next morning, praying we would be alone, praying she would be awake, and asking God to speak through me. I wanted my words to be gentle, not alarming.
I walked into her hospital room and was thrilled to find her propped up, wide awake. I went to her bedside, sat beside her, and took her hands into mine.
“I want to talk with you.”
“I don’t want you to worry about us. We’ll be fine. It won’t be long before Jesus comes back for His Church, so we’ll all be together again soon. If Jesus comes for you, go with Him.”
She closed her eyes for a long time, and I thought, “Well, I guess that’s all I’m going to get from her today.” I stayed with her, holding her hands.
Suddenly, her eyes popped open, and she exclaimed, “You don’t really think I’d say no to Jesus, do you?”
I burst into laughter. That was Mom. Even in her weakest moment, the spark that had always characterized her was still there. As I laughed, she began to laugh. I placed my head on her chest, and we laughed together.
Finally, I said through my laughter, “No, Mom, I know you would never say no to Jesus.”
It was beautiful.
She closed her eyes again for a long time, and once again I thought we were done for the day.
But then she said, “I only have one question. Will Tami be that nine-year-old or will she be an adult when I see her?”
Mom was referring to her granddaughter who died at the age of nine, over 35 years ago.
At this point I fought back tears because the loss of that precious child had rocked our world. Mom had obviously never stopped thinking about her.
I told her that I did not know about ages in heaven, but I did know that Tami would recognize her, and she would recognize Tami. And their reunion would be beautiful.
“I think that’s right,” she said.
This time she closed her eyes for the last time. She did not speak again.
I think about that conversation continually. I was given a tremendous gift. Not only did God give me one last chance to laugh with Mom, but he allowed me to hear clear confirmation of her faith.
Having just celebrated our Lord’s resurrection, I am ever so thankful for His sacrifice and how that miracle removed the sting of death for those who trust in Him.
See you soon, Mom.
Joy in Jesus,
Jacquee Betty Jane Bertram Carter, 1924 – 2016