I am writing this blog on March 1, 2021. Thirty-two years ago today my mother went to Heaven to be with her Savior Jesus Christ. She died. I did not “lose” her. She is not lost. She is in Heaven. Of that I am sure.
Mother was a remarkable woman. In the 45 years I knew her on earth, she taught me many things about living. But the weeks before she died and the week that she died, she taught me about death. Perhaps those were the most important lessons of all. I have never publicly shared what I learned about dying from Mother but I am going to do so today in her memory. I hope what I am going to share with you, my dear readers, will help you as much as it has helped me.
First as background information, my mother died of heart trouble, specifically Mitral Insufficiency and Congestive Heart Failure. When my mother was a 17 year old college student at the University of Oklahoma, Mother contacted a virus, probably what we would call the flu, and she failed to leave campus and take care of herself. She continued with her classes until she became so ill her parents had to take her home to recuperate. The virus attacked her heart and caused a condition called Rheumatic Fever. She would live 63 more years and die at age 80 but her impaired mitral valve in her heart would kill her as surely as if she had died the month she initially became ill. She would lead a normal life and even deliver a healthy baby, ME!, but her heart was permanently injured. When her beloved husband, my father, died in 1982, her heart started going down hill, and, as I have stated, she died on March 1, 1989.
What were the lessons she taught me as she was dying. They were the following:
1. Death is as much a part of living as breathing is and you should not be afraid of dying.
2. Heaven is real and you can safely anticipate it with joy and hope.
About 6 weeks before Mother died, she became terribly ill. She was rushed to the hospital as she had been rushed many times before. She was given large doses of diuretics and the procedures that had helped her before. This time she did not get better. She was crying desperately and holding out her arms for the nurses and doctors and me to help her. She kept saying “This is terrible. Please help me.” We did everything we could but she did not improve. It broke my heart that we could not hep her. Finally after hours she started to improve and eventually, several days later, she became well enough to go home. About three weeks after she returned home, I said to her, “Mother, that was so horrible when you were crying and begging for help in the hospital!”
I will never forget the look on her face as she said, “You know, Hope, that was the strangest experience. I could hear myself asking for help and crying for help but I actually felt the best I had ever felt in my life. I kept thinking why can’t I stop begging for help when, inside, I feel so good, but on the outside of my body I kept crying and begging for help. I will never be afraid of dying again!” At that moment, I too, decided not to fear death. If anyone who seemed as frightened as she did, felt wonderful, why should I be afraid?
The other lesson I learned from Mother was another time before died, she dreamed that she was in Heaven. She dreamed she was in a place where the grass was the “greenest grass” she had ever seen. She was sitting on a bench and a baby lamb came up to her and she touched his nose and fed him a carrot. My mother grew up in a small town in Western Oklahoma. She never had lived on a farm and she had never touched a lamb’s nose as she did in her dream. She did not know that lambs’ noses are incredibly soft or that they loved to eat carrots. But she touched her Heavenly lamb and knew that lambs loved carrots — two facts that she had no way of knowing in her earthly body and yet she experienced those pieces of knowledge. Heaven is real! I never really doubted its existence but now I know someone, my own Mother, who told me what Heaven is like!
Thank you, Dear Lord, for giving me such a wonderful mother and father. Thank you, Mother, for teaching me two wonderful lessons about death and dying and the reality of Heaven!
Love from your friend Hope