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Mama's healing came at last

Putting pen to paper and thoughts into words can be painful at times. This is one of those times for me. Those that know me are aware that our family lost our mother, grandmother and unfailing friend recently. Mama took a bad and ultimately fatal fall on New Year’s Day, breaking nine ribs. Although excruciatingly painful for anyone at any age, rehabilitation usually brings eventual recovery to younger bodies. The emergency room doctors gave us ample warning that such an injury is devastating to the elderly, and although my head heard their words, my heart refused to process their meaning. Mama had fought many foes in her lifetime and won, and looking back almost a month later, I know now that I believed she could beat this enemy, too.
Reality has a way of stripping you of all fantasies however. The pneumonia they said to expect around the fourth day set up quickly and materialized in Mama’s left lung the day after her fall. Breathing treatments, physical therapy and intensive care were only torturing her and delaying the inevitable. Requests by the doctors to put her on a ventilator brought reality crashing down around us. We refused and began making preparations to bring her home.
Spending a day and a half getting Mama’s room ready for her homecoming was a labor of love. I cleaned and polished and rearranged. She always wanted to be surrounded by pictures of her loved ones, and I made sure every photo would be in her line of vision from her bed. I brought chairs into her room so that we could be as comfortable as possible while we sat with her. My son got her TV in working order in hopes that she could enjoy watching some shows. I hung her clothes in matching suits in her closet just like she always kept them before the dementia robbed her and us of the person we knew.
As the emergency personnel rolled her stretcher through the front door, Mama asked if we would be moving her any more. “No more moving, Mama,” I said to her. “You’re home to stay.” I was totally unprepared for her next move coming so quickly and this time I couldn’t go with her.
The family sat round the clock with her for nine days. Nine days of an emotional roller coaster ride that raised our hopes and spirits one day, only to send us spiraling into despair the next. We listened to her labored breathing and watched the rise and fall of her chest as if we could stop the life from draining from her body. Eventually each one of us in our own time came to the gut-wrenching realization that it was time for her to go. We had no right to ask her to stay with us longer. Asking her to fight when she had no fight left in her would only be selfish. She had earned her rest.
On Saturday morning, January 18th, 2014 my sister and I sat on each side of her bed holding Mama’s hands. We prayed for Jesus to lead her Home and we coaxed her to follow Him. Around 9:00, Mama joined Daddy and the rest of her loved ones in Glory. She stepped from a body wracked with pain into the presence of her Savior. Her healing came at last.
I have no regrets – only memories … memories of a Christian woman that loved God and her family more than she did her own life … memories of the incredible strength she possessed and shared with all who knew her … memories of her quick wit and wonderful sense of humor … and memories of Mama’s hopes and dreams for her children and grandchildren in this life and her desire to see them again in the next.
In the words of her favorite song, “One day beside her bedside I was kneeling, and angel wings were winnowing through the air. She heard her call for suppertime in heaven and now I know she's waiting for me there.”
I have no way of knowing when I’ll be Home, Mama, but I know you’ll have supper on the table when I get there.