“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he now revealed him to you in these last days.” I Peter 1:18-20/NLT
It was the third week in February.
A fresh layer of snow covered the ground and the sun was shining, but it was cold in a brisk sort of way.
I pulled up to the nursing home facility and sat in the car for a few minutes. The call had finally come and I got on a plane and headed home — to northern Minnesota.
I had grieved over the years as I watched mom succumb to Parkinson’s disease. So I was ready to be with her as she passed from this life into the next.
I was calm as I walked down the hall towards her room. It was exceptionally quiet. As I pushed the door open into her room I was overwhelmed by a sense of peace.
Mom was lying on her left side. She felt warm and her breathing was quick and shallow. I put a cool cloth on her forehead. She was unresponsive, as I knew she would be.
“Hello, Gloria Jo.”
I had started calling her by her first name as an endearment as we both got older. She seemed to like it.
She looked frail. I was thankful for my nurse’s training and experiences. I might have been shocked by her appearance otherwise.
I came and went for a couple of days. One evening as I told Gloria Jo good-bye, I told her I’d see her the next day, she mouthed the word, “OK.”
That was the last spoken word I had from her.
I came in early the next morning. I was alone for a while with her until my brother arrived. He asked for some time alone with mom so I stepped out of the room.
After he left, I was alone again with mom. I sat on the windowsill in her room watching her breathing begin to slow down. I knew she was within minutes of easing into the presence of God.
As her breathing slowed then ceased, I watched her heart beating on her thin neck. It began to slow down, it got slower and slower until it stopped.
I had just witnessed my mother ease into the presence of God. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. I knew her body was whole again. I knew she was overwhelmed with pleasure. No more pain and suffering. No more tears.
“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4/NLT)
The best thing of all, someday I’ll see Gloria Jo again, happy, healthy, and whole.