My mother was dying of leukemia. My two older sisters, father, and I had shared the last three weeks in the hospital room with her. In two years, she had gone from a strong matriarch to a helpless invalid.
For the last three days, she had been in a semi-conscious state of moaning and lifelessness. She could no longer speak through her dry, swollen lips. Her eyes had the blank void of a moonless midnight.
On the night of the third day, I knew what I must do. I must cease being the selfish, clinging son. I sped purposefully to the chapel. There I gave God permission to take my mother. I could no longer stand to see her suffer, so I prayed for the permanent healing that only death can bring.
I returned to the room with a peaceful heart for I knew by the next morning my mother would also be at peace. I had the best night’s sleep in weeks. The next morning, as the sun broke through the window, I awoke. My first thoughts were, “It’s over”. But then a noise, a stirring directed my attention from the window to the bed. A small movement made me realize that my mother was still alive. It was all I could do to keep from screaming aloud, “God, how can You do this to me? I became a selfless son, and gave You permission to end this, and You still kept her in her misery.” But before I could have exclaimed this, I was shocked to see that there was more than just a movement.
My mother rolled onto her side, and looked into the glare of the newly risen sun. Then, as the sun made sparkling starbursts in her eyes, she licked her parched lips, and said “Gee, it’s going to be a beautiful day today”. Needless to say this got
our attention quickly. Being the youngest, and fastest, I was first to her bedside. “Mom, it’s me, Jerry, do you recognize me”? “Of course I do Jerry”, she replied.
We all took our turns talking to her. Other relatives came and were able to talk to her, as she answered not in her old voice, but rather in the voice of a child. The doctor’s explanation was that the brain stem was being destroyed, accounting for the sudden change. It was a joyous day of laughing, and celebrating life with our family. That night we all went to sleep peacefully.
The next morning, we were awaken to the stirring of angel’s wings, and my mother was finally healed of her suffering. She had awakened to the Risen Son.
The next few days were hectic with funeral plans. It was only after the funeral that I stopped to think of what had happened. If God had answered my prayer, in my time, in my way, my final memories of my mother would have been that of a helpless invalid, with void eyes, lying motionless in a deathbed. Instead, God answered my prayer in his time, in his omniscient way.
Now, my memories of my mother are of a day of laughing and rejoicing. Since that time I have had many rocky roads. Financial failure. A divorce. The loss of my father. But throughout it all, regardless of how stormy the night might be, I know that through God’s love, and perfect timing, I can awaken the next morning to a newly risen sun, or to the Risen Son, and say “Gee, it’s going to be a beautiful day today.”
by Jerry L. Haynes