My Mom passed away on October 15, 2011. The day before she passed away she would forever change the meaning of the word “WOW” in my life. It was late that Friday night when I finally arrived at Hospice care to make sure my Mom was O.K. It had been a tough day for my family. You know those moments when everything seems to go wrong. My Mom was tired of not being able to move, take a shower, wash her own hair, my Dad was going through his own illness by losing his ability to speak and eat regular food and my brother was nearing a physical and mental breakdown from all the pressure of caring for parents who had both been diagnosed with ALS. I was at a work lunch when I received a 911 call to come ASAP to my parent’s house.
When I arrived, my Mom was lying in the hospital bed crying. She thought my brother was trying to kill her. My Dad was exhausted and was having a hard time breathing. He looked worried because my Mom was not making any sense. He loved her and watching her die was his worst nightmare. My brother was in the garage having a cigarette trying to hold it all together. I could tell he was on the edge and I wasn’t sure how much more he could take. I remember praying with him, hugging my Dad tight, and leaning over the hospital bed trying to convince my Mom that we were not trying to kill her. We made the decision to call an ambulance and have my Mom taken to Hospice to be cared for to give the family a much-needed break.
The ambulance came, picked up my Mom, and I will never forget the look on my Dad’s face when the ambulance pulled away from the house. He looked tired…but more than that – he was defeated. Nothing he could do could change the things that were about to happen.
I felt tired, weary, pushed to the edge. On my way home, I stopped off at Hospice to make sure my Mom was tucked in for the night. When I arrived, she was exhausted, but happy to see me. The room had minimal recessed lighting. She was lying on her back in the hospital bed with her eyes closed. I remember sitting in a chair next to the bed, leaning forward with my hands in a prayer position. My head was bent, my eyes closed, tears were streaming down my face and I heard my Mom say something…Almost a whisper at first. She said it again…louder – WOOOOOOW. The way she said it sounded like she was exhaling a deep intake of air. Her eyes were open, but they were not looking at me. In fact, they were focused on the space in front of her face. She said it again…WOOOOOOOOOW!!!! I need exclamation marks at the end because I want you to understand that I had never heard the word spoken like this. There is no doubt I had heard this word before. I said it when I was excited or surprised. I had never heard the word used in such awe. The way she was saying it – was not an expression but a reality of a promise made and kept. Like she had read stories in the bible and now she was standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Moses, Matthew, Mark and Luke. All her hope, in that moment, was expressed in that one word.
Now she starts talking to me, but never looks at me. Her words are clear…Her eyes are fresh – her face and expressions looked so much like her before she got sick. WOOOOOW!!!! I finally had to ask – “Mom, what is happening?” She said, “I am being healed – go get the doctor – I can walk.” My Mom had not walked in over a year. I ran and got the nurses. The nurse said she did not think it was a good idea to get my mother up – even though my Mom was ready. My Mom’s response was – “No problem – I don’t have to prove to anyone that I have been healed.” The nurses left…I started looking in the direction my Mom was staring at. I could see nothing. I prayed to see what she was seeing, and I heard a silent whisper say, “You are still too earthbound.” I sat up in my chair and in a smaller voice I whispered, “Are you here God?”. No answer – just silence.
My Mom started again and this time she had my full attention. I knew something was happening in that room, but I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like that moment. She said, “Mija…WOW. It is so beautiful. Can you see it?” Reluctantly I shook my head from side to side, still trying to pray for one eye full. I even promised God that I would blink and then keep my eyes closed if I could just see a second of what she was seeing. I saw nothing.
She was so happy and enthralled with whatever she was seeing. It mesmerized her, took her to new heights. In a moment, it released her from her paralysis, her sadness, her anguish and placed her right smack in the middle of a greater promise. And then it was over. I waited several more minutes in hopes that there was more. There wasn’t. She looked like she had experienced pure joy. I had a feeling that everything she thought about Heaven wasn’t even close to the few minutes that she had just experienced. It was more than what she had expected. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 it says, “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” That night, the scripture came alive for me.
I tip toed to the side of her bed, take a towel and wiped the sweat from her forehead…I bent down to kiss her on the cheek and let her know I would be back. Without missing a beat, she said, “Mija…go home and rest. Come back tomorrow…I’m going home tomorrow.” My Mom died the next day.
So, thank you Mom, for allowing me to stand with you while you got to peak into heaven. I miss you and love you. Happy Mother’s Day Mom...