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“Get a teaspoon,” said Brenda.
We put a little communion wine in teaspoon, floated a tiny fragment of wafer in it, I tipped it into Mother’s mouth, and she swallowed.
The presence of Holy Spirit of God, filled with peace and joy and love, was there with us in bedroom that day. I looked at Mother, and she had what I can only describe as a white light on her. I have seen this a few times in my life, on people who were exceptionally close to God. It’s something you see with your spirit rather than your eyes, yet on this occasion presence of God was so strong that I could even see it with my eyes. Brenda saw it too.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror glory of Lord, are being transformed into same image from glory to glory.” That’s what we saw on my precious mother that day: glory.
On Monday visiting nurse handed us over to hospice program. Tuesday brought hospice intake nurse, who made me feel better about a lot of things. She said, “Let your mother decide how much she wants to eat or drink. Don’t push her.”
“Doesn’t it hurt for her to get dehydrated?” I asked.
“No. We’ve found that dehydration doesn’t bother a person who is shutting down.”
And she was shutting down; we all knew it.
Then Mother’s world narrowed to two of us, communing over yogurt. She no longer knew how to chew or swallow, but she knew which flavor of yogurt she wanted. And she knew me. She always knew important things.
I would take a teaspoonful of yogurt and tip spoon so it flowed toward back of her throat. Then there was a pause. A long, long pause. And then her throat moved. She had swallowed that bite.
Then we began on next bite.
All of this took time. One-on-one time. Which was what made her so happy.
That was how she spent Thursday morning, May 22, 2003, her last morning on earth.
“Do you want strawberry yogurt?” She shook her head no. She had by then lost ability to say “yes” and “no,” but she remembered nods and shakes.
“Do you want blueberry?”
She shook her head no.
“Do you want raspberry?”
Her blue eyes were dancing with happiness as she nodded her head yes. It was just her and me and our little game, and she loved it. I will always remember light in her eyes during her last waking moments on earth.
After she had eaten, I put head of hospital bed back so she could take a nap. She went to sleep, and at some point in her sleep apparently had a major stroke. I tried several times to wake her, but she was deeply unconscious, and I could not. Finally, at ten that night, I went once again to try to wake her. As I stood by her bed, I saw that her breath was coming more slowly than usual.
And, as I watched, her breath came more and more slowly. Then there was one tiny breath, and she was gone.
God took her without pain, without distress. She was deeply unconscious all day, and stroke could have taken her at any time, but she went in two-minute period when I was standing beside her bed.
I believe she now has a new prayer ministry. We used to pray Prayer of Jabez for one another: “That You would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory.” Mother fervently wanted to enlarge her territory: she was sick of sitting in that bed in that bedroom.
Well, now she’s in new territory.
I asked her once, “When you get to heaven, will you keep on praying for me?”
“Yes yes,” she said. “Yes yes yes!”
I’m holding her to that.
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