Sunday, December 19, 2010

May we cherish the moments we have with those we love and love them like there is no tomorrow!

Christmas Eve, 2006 would be the last time we would see mom this side of heaven.

As you might imagine, having to say goodbye to your mother on Christmas Eve, is a painful experience, to say the least.  Christmases will forever be bittersweet. 

My mother was a woman who was full of, smart, witty, talented, kind, generous, with a heart filled with love and tenderness.  Life was good because of was so good! 

During the last four years of her life, she resided in a nursing home. She was experiencing complications due to strokes and was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia which is a form of dementia due to the strokes she suffered. Ultimately this disease of the brain robs one of their ability to function in every way.

As time passes, the pain of losing her lessens slightly, but I will never stop missing her... I long to see her have a sit and hold her hear her voice again.  My mom's voice was beautiful...she had a smooth, articulate speaking voice and she sang beautifully as well.  In the last couple of years, she no longer could speak...but she could still sing...although without words.  She had received a nickname of the little birdie from a few of the nurses, because Annie's (mom's) voice resonated through the hallways!

When I would arrive for a visit, my mom would light up with an enormous smile and clap her hands and wiggle her toes with excitement!  It was a  merciful gift from God that she still recognized me and was so happy to see me each time I arrived!

We had a long, slow, good-bye. Since I understood the end was inevitable I see that as another form of mercy.  If I had lost her suddenly, as close as we were, I know it would have been even more difficult to say goodbye.  In all of God's wisdom, He prepared her path and prepared our hearts. 

I still remember her last was the softest, most gentle, peaceful  puff of air as mom ascended from her body into heaven.  I pictured the angels waiting for her with fanfare to celebrate her homecoming, and we all agreed that this evening....Christ's birthday...was the perfect time for mom to go home.  She loved the Lord...and a what better way for her to enter the gates of heaven than on Christ's birthday!  We knew she was finally whole again and celebrating in the presence of God. 

After my brother, sister-in law and I said our final goodbyes...I stayed behind to spend one last minute with her.  I hugged her still warm body, and I languished in the moment as it penetrated my entire being and made a lasting imprint on my heart. I breathed in that sweet, familiar scent of mom's skin and vowed to never forget it.  Oddly enough, to this day, when I think of that moment, I instantly recall her sweet scent as it is etched permanently in my mind and soul. 

So...yes...Christmas is bittersweet.  Bitter to say goodbye to the person who brought me into the world...and then to watch her leave it.  But sweet to know that this is not the end...Annie's (mom's) life did not end on Christmas entered into the master's plan of eternity with Him! 

As I celebrate with family, and we enjoy the same cookies mom made year after year, and celebrate the same traditions we have held throughout our lifetime, we also have a deeper connection as we glance across the table, with an unspoken remembrance of that moment four years ago when we kissed her goodbye. 

I feel almost privileged (if the right choice of words) that we experienced the very reason for Christ's birth, death, and resurrection in the most profound way that Christmas Eve...because to see our loved one enter eternity right before our eyes on this day was a powerful reminder of what it is all about!

With the joy of salvation and the promise of life eternal through Jesus Christ, we will see each other again...laugh together...sing, yes live together...On Glory's Side!

This is the song I chose to play at my mom's memorial service -- a sweet reminder:

And a few days later, I was inspired to write the following poem:

On Glory's side:

No tears appear on glory's side,
Nothing to fear, no reason to hide,
For glory is a safe and wondrous home,

All cares are vanished like a vapor,
And fears are swept off by the wind,
All questions now are being answered,
No more doubts and no more sin.

How beautiful is this sweet sweet glory,
How bright and full of life,
Love surrounds us pure and holy,
No more pain and no more strife.

Oh glory, how I ached for  you,
Before I really understood,
That glory is a wondrous home,
Of peace and brotherhood.

And so dear friends there is a plan,
Don't fear what lies on glory's side,
But grab hold of glory's hand,
And in God's care and love abide.

For tears are gone and joy remains,
On the side of glory,
The celebration can't be explained,
Or written in a story.

It's only when you've crossed the line,
Into glory's care,
That you'll finally understand,
How perfect it is there.

So grab hold of glory's hand,
And in God's care and love abide,
And trust the master's perfect plan
To find your home on glory's side.

(written by Lorraine Brown,  copyright 2006)


Stacy@hiswaynotmine said...

Grief is so unexpected at times, and comes in waves and billows over us, especially at those times on the calendar that mark the entrance to God's gates. I am so sorry for you loss. What a beautiful good-bye (or see you later) God blessed you with. May you savor those sweet moments with your mother as you look with expectation at the glorious reunion waiting for you.

Your poem is beautiful. May God continue to comfort your heart each day.

Much love,

Covnitkepr1 said...

I lost my mother in law 4 years ago the day before Thanksgiving. At the time, I found it hard to be thankful for anything because I loved her so very much. I still miss her. God blessed me in such a very special way to put her in my life.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Here's a fact I'm sure you already know: Earthly goodbyes are so very hard to deal with, but thinking often about the heavenly hellos helps with the pain.

I'm so glad that we follow each others blogs. My our God bless you richly and often. said...

Beautiful post!! It goes with the one I posted today...remembering others during this season, and I see Stacy has commented first, she is mentioned on my post.
I am so sorry for your loss, praising God for your memories and that you know the true meaning of Christmas and we can celebrate the birth, death and resurrection!!

Just a beautiful post!!

A multi-dimensional life said...

Stacy & Janette, thank you for your gracious comments. I've grown so fond of both of you!
Covnitkepr, so true, the heavenly hello's will happen! Bless you richly and often also!
Thankful for you all!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

It is always hard to lose loved ones anyday of the year but during the holidays intensifies the pain. I am glad you did have time to say your goodbyes. Thank you for sharing this with me.

Power Up Love said...

Nice post! It is truly exiting to know that your mother left you with "joy of salvation and the promise of life eternal through Jesus Christ". What an absolutely awesome inheritance to leave for any child. You are so richly blessed to know the King of Kings...

Anonymous said...

Okay... I did post a comment, but my tech skills must not have been working because it isn't here. So again, along with the ladies above I want to say thank you for your wonderful and inspiring post. I, on the otherhand am not so eloquent... words just fall out and that's it. Reading your work is a treat! Thank you for sharing, and for your caring! Marie Z.

Monet said...

What a beautiful post. Your words and your honesty truly touched me. We lost my father's husband suddenly last January, and at times...the grief can feel overwhelming. Your words blessed more people than you know. I know that you keep your mom's presence alive through your own acts of love, caring and generosity. Thank you for visiting my blog...I'm so very glad it brought me to yours.

mangiabella said...

oh lorraine, tears filled my eyes as I listened to this song ~ until I got to your poem, which moved me so deeply but brought such hope and such joy to hear you so eloquently describe what lies on the other side - one day EVEN DEATH will pass more mourning or pain or tears, for the old order of things will have passed away...thank you JESUS! I can't wait to see Him face to face and know that I have known Him all along...He is always familiar and yet a mystery that I never bore of unfolding.... and knowing what lies ahead...

A multi-dimensional life said...

Thank you all and bless you all abundantly!
Each of you are so kind and faithful and you all inspire me to be a better grateful to know each of you!
And Marie,you are cute... your words "fall out and right into my heart"! You are a blessing to me also! xo

Sarah said...

I too so love John Eldredge ...

Have a joy filled, love overflow Christmas and sing with me Happy Birthday Jesus!


Lindsay Rudolph said...

You have such beautiful memories of your mother. It's great to see you keeping her traditions alive and holding onto the time spent together. I am sure she loves that. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Unknown said...

Lorraine, thank you for sharing this post. My father lost both of his parents, one as a boy and the other some 30 years later, on the 19th of December, the day you wrote this. He's carried the grief through the holidays all this time.

Then, four years ago, the adoption of our daughter was finalized on December 19. Even now, God makes sure that new life overcomes death. He lives so we may.

Amy said...

What a beautiful and heart warming post. I can feel the never ending love you have for your mom. Amen to what you said about praising the Lord for the most precious gift He have given us for Christmas, His very own son. So we all can LIVE together on Glory's Side someday. :) Hope your Christmas has more sweet than bitter! Merry Christmas to you and your family. Also, thank you for your comments on my blog. Its always lovely to hear from you.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A beautiful remembrance from a daughter's heart... how I love my mother as well! So glad I still have her here, just over an hour from my front door. May the tender love of Jesus wrap around you as you pause to reflect her legacy.


Maurie said...

Thank you for the beautiful tribute to you mother. The way she lived her life certainly has spilled over into yours. Your love for song, your exuberance, your cheerful spirit sound like they reflect her. This Christmas season, I trust you will look heavenward and think again of how much sweeter glory is because your mama is there waiting for you!

Solid Rock or Sinking Sand said...

Just dropped in to wish you and your family a Merry CHRISTmas. God bless, Lloyd

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, this is such a beautiful post. What a wonderful tribute to your mom. Bittersweet is the perfect word to describe your feelings, the loss is painful but the sweetness assures you that you will be together again.

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