Monday, February 13, 2017
A Valentine's Day on Earth as it was in Heaven!
On Valentine's Day, 2004, my husband, took Mom his "usual" -- a single rose in a vase and her favorite box of chocolates. Mom had been living at the Grace Living Center in Jenks, OK for 4-1/2 months because of a serious fall.
When we arrived at her room, Mom was still in bed. Patsy, the South Wing Nurse on duty for this day, looked up as she was taking Mom's blood pressure and said, "Edna’s not feeling too good today." I could tell she wasn’t -- she didn’t respond heartily to our greetings as she usually did, and only gave a “little” smile at Ron as he reached down and kissed her, held out the rose and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, to my Sweetheart!" I leaned in close to her, caressed her beautiful face, and soothed her with words of comfort. I hadn’t seen “my smile” from her yet, so I did my usual coaxing, "Where’s my smile?" She gave a half-hearted little smile and mouthed the words, “I’m okay!” She had on her red plaid pajamas. I said, "I see you’ve got on your Valentine’s PJs on!” Kiddingly, Ron said, “Hey, Mom! Come on. Get up. Let’s go to the mall. We'll take your silver Cadillac (her wheel-chair!)” She always knew when Ron was jesting with her and today was no exception. She responded back by her typical sticking-out-her-tongue at him.
Everyone who knew her, knew how she loved to “kid” and “be kidded” by Ron. She and Ron had an unusually close relationship for the 40 years we had been married and five years before that. Ron would tell anyone, “Mom and I have never had a cross word with one another – well, except when I'd have to get after her because she would be doing the kids' chores for them.
Ron’s Mom, Lydia, always came by to see Mother every Saturday. This morning was no exception. She came in and greeted her dearest friend of over 45 years. It was these two women who diligently arranged, prayed, and continued to bless the relationship of Ron and I since I was twelve, and he was thirteen, How befitting for all us to be together on this special day. While all of us were together this morning, Mom kept trying to tell me something, but I just couldn’t make out the words.
Since I had been through many physical “ups and downs” with Mom over the years, I assumed this morning would be like those from before when I would see her feeling very low, but then she'd bounce right back in just a matter of time. We all were convinced that Mom had nine lives -- she’d been so close to death several times in the last few years, but would recover and be back to her full-of-life self, spreading her love and joy to everyone around her once again.
After only about an hour and a half, I received a call from Patsy saying, “Donna, I’m so sorry. Your mother just passed away.” Oh, the heartbreak I felt. The questioning ensued -- “Why wasn’t I there? Why did we leave her?” We immediately went to her and she was still in the same position as when we left. Nadia, one of the dear Aides from Russia, shared that she had gone in to see if Mom wanted lunch. Being Russian Orthodox in her religious beliefs, Nadia asked Mom if she could pray with her. Mom would always accept an offer for prayer. Nadia recounted her last moments with her. She had prayed a simple prayer. She said that Mom's eyes followed her gesture of signing her with the cross. Nadia left for just a short while and came back to check on Mom and she had passed away.
After pondering the events of Mom's final moments of life, I came to believe that with Nadia's gesture of signing Mom with the cross, that Mom was able to make her grand escape. I like to think, like Jesus Christ said in His final moments, “It is finished”, so did Mom.
After someone so close to us departs for their heavenly home, God brings comfort to us by giving us thoughts and images of what heaven must be doing to welcome them. Ron said, “Papa got his Valentine Sweetheart back today!” (Papa, my Dad and Mother’s husband of 34 years, had preceded Mom in death forty years ago.) My dear Mother-in-Law, Lydia, said, “Donna, remember when Edna was trying to tell you something before we left? I know she was saying, “He’s coming for me.” For me, having been privileged to call this beautiful, precious saint my Mom (I deemed her Saint Edna Pearl long ago), who, because of her prayers, steadfastness, strength, true unconditional love for me in all of my “growing-up” years, inspired me to be a the woman I am today.
I dreamed a few nights ago that she was with me and I was making cornbread for her. When I woke up from that sweet dream, I made myself some cornbread. I like to think she was enjoying it, too, from heaven's grandstands. On that Valentine's Day in 2004, I expect that God AND my dad had a mutual agreement “Let’s bring our “Best Girl and Sweetheart” home!” And they did. They both knew how much she wanted to be with them, so they gave her the BEST Valentine's Day that would last forever and EVER!
Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His faithful servants."