My mom died seven years ago of aplastic anemia; it's like elderly leukemia. When her blood transfusion didn't work any longer, we brought her home on hospice. With no medications or pain killers, she basically wasted away for a couple of months until she died.
The week mom was dying the hospice nurse kept saying to me, "You need to tell her to let go." "I've done that," I replied. The nurse responded, "Go try and do it again."
So I went in once again on Monday morning and said to mom, "You need to let yourself go. It's okay to go."
Referring to my sons Mom retorted, "I'm not going anywhere without you and those boys!" "Well, I think you are .. because I think it's your time and not ours." Her bottom lip started quivering and I realized she was so afraid.
"Debbie," she responded, "that's easy for you to say because you're there and I am alone." I was shocked because she was a believer. "Are you afraid, mom?" I asked, "But we're Christians!" Well, it broke my heart and so I prayed, "God, reveal yourself to her so she can die in peace." It scared me a little bit too because I realized I wasn't at the place she was at and when your life is at the door, you are alone. Your belief system becomes very important then, and she was hoping that what she had believed in -- the Bible -- was all true.
The week went on and Friday morning I got a call from the hospice nurse. Mom was in her "rally," meaning she was nearing the end of her life. She wanted to see me. So I went to the hospital and the nurse called me to come into her room. Nothing could prepare me for what I saw when I walked in. Mom had all this energy. She was sitting up in bed straight, proud and strong, and was all excited. She had this giant, eerie smile on her face, almost like skin stretched across canvas because she had gotten so thin.
Mom said to me a word I've never heard her say, "Debbie, it's so fancy there!" She's never used the word "fancy."
"Where, mom?" I asked.
"Oh, sit down and I'll tell you." She began telling me everything she had seen and how it was time for her to go. She wasn't afraid any more and was ready to go. I knew at that moment that it was real. She asked me to get my sons and so they came. We sang some songs to her. She nodded and looked around the room as we sang, and it looked a little eerie.
Afterwards mom said, "You sound so much more beautiful with the angels." One of my boys said, "Grandma, it's just us."
"Oh no it's not!" Mom replied, "It's time for me to go .. I'm ready to go." It was time for us to say our goodbyes. I'm thinking, this same woman who told me Monday, "I'm not going anywhere without you and the boys" is going to have a tearful, emotional goodbye. But oh no! She had seen a glimpse of heaven, let me tell you!
Mom took my oldest son, Justin's head in her hands and said, "You've always been my good, blonde boy. Grandma has never wanted to leave you, but you know it tells in the Bible that angels will keep you in all your ways. Well, I've seen them and they're real! Now I don't have to worry and I can leave . . you'll be fine." By now Justin was crying. Then she added, "Just promise Grandma one last thing."
"Live like it's real, Justin, 'cause it is!"
She repeated these same instructions to my next son. Then it was my turn. I thought, "It's going to get emotional." But she was tired, so she pulled my collar close to her face and said, "Deborah, live like it's real, 'cause it is! Oh, yes, and the women you talk to, tell them everything they've read in the Bible, and everything they have believed, is real!"
Those were the last words my mother ever spoke to me, "Live like it's real - - because it is!" Those words aren't about death, they're about life and why we live today.
Are you living like it's real?
- Do you believe that it's real that God knows you?
- That He knows everything about you?
- He knows your shortcomings -- yet He still loves you?
- That He's able to fix you?
- Do you believe that He protects you, even though you can't see His shield about you?
- Do you believe He created you and made no mistake in creating you?
- And do you believe that He values those He created?
If we don't embrace this truth, then we live like we belong to ourselves, and in that place we:
- Fend for ourselves;
- Regret the past;
- Survive the present;
- Worry about the future;
- Live in constant concern over our life;
- Our circumstances are always a disappointment.
What this means is that we have lost our first love. Revelation 2:1-7 says:
1) These things says He that holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2) I know your works, your labour, and your patience, and how you cannot bear those who are evil. 3) And you have had patience, and for my name's sake have laboured and not fainted. 4) Nevertheless, I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love."
2006 -- What will it hold? We have control over very little but every day that we wake up we should ask ourselves whom we will serve, the direction we'll go, the attitude we'll take with us. Let the love of God so compel you that you no longer live for yourself, but for Him. Start the year off right. Come back to your first love.
Live like He is real, because He is!