Christmas this year has been a roller-coaster of a time, so I’m breaking it down into parts because, quite honestly, it’s the only way I can handle all that has happened.
On December 16 we received word that Nolan’s mom, Pauline, was in her final days. After a 50-year battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), her life on this earth was coming to an end.
Nolan had decided several days before that he wouldn’t make the trip to Kansas to try to see her again since we’d been there in August for her and Dad’s 60th anniversary. I called him that morning.
“Love, do you want to go?”
“Yeah, I really do.”
“Then you’d better get to the office and ask for time off.”
“I’m parked outside it now.”
Our son John, who works at the same company as Nolan, decided to go with him and the two of them left that day in hopes of making it there before she died.
They arrived on Sunday the 17th and saw Mom and Dad at the care home in Kingman where they were living. They were able to see and talk to Mom. Mom had been unable to really talk for several days, but the one thing she could still say was, “I love you.” When Nolan and John hugged her, she whispered it to them, too.
That evening at Terry’s they helped answer questions for the obituary and talked about funeral arrangements while they waited for another brother to arrive.
The next day the siblings who could be there were back at the care home. Nolan and John planned to leave the next day as Mom was expected to last a few days longer. While they were looking through some photo albums in the sitting room, Dad walked in and said, “Mom stopped breathing.”
That quickly, in those few moments while Dad was looking down reading something, the room had gone quiet and, looking up, he realized she wasn’t breathing. Quietly, peacefully, and without pain, she was gone.
Mom’s funeral was December 23rd with most of the family here for it. The family service Friday night and the funeral on Saturday were testimony to the love and dedication of Mom and Dad to one another for all of the 60+ years of their marriage. Dad’s loving care of Mom for all these years has been nothing short of heroic. As Mom would so often observe, many spouses of MS sufferers leave them, unable to cope with the growing disabilities of their mate. Such a thought never entered Dad’s mind. He and Mom were just as much in love on the last day as they had been on their wedding day.
At times like these it is appropriate that people express their sympathies at our loss and we certainly agree. Mom’s death has left a huge hole in our world. But our sorrow is tempered with relief that her pain is finally at an end. She is now free! Free from this world and its sorrows; free from the pain of MS; free from living with the effects of sin in the world. So, although we cry when we think of our memories that are never to be repeated, we rejoice at the thought of her finally with Jesus, her Savior and Lord.
And, so, the first part of Christmas 2017 was a reminder of why Jesus came–to conquer death. Mom is now living that reality.