This Sunday of Mother’s Day. This will be my second Mother’s Day without mom. She passed away in October 2012. It is a day I will never forget.
Mom’s mental state was far worse than her physical health. She had Alzheimer’s and had not known me for some time. She usually thought I was her brother Frank, sometimes her dad, but the last two years of her life she did not know I was her “little Timmy.” Mom was at the point where she pretty much sat and stared. If you spoke to her she would turn and look at you usually without talking. But, as I said, her physical health was rather good for someone 84 years old.
Because there were no physical signs that death was near Julie and I decided to take the long drive down to the gulf coast of Alabama where my son and his family were living at the time. We started our trek Monday morning.
I called every day, talking to dad and the nurses. The nurses reported to me that mom had been acting strangely, but in a good way. She was getting up and walking around on her own; something she had not done in a couple of months. She was saying “hello” to people when they entered into the room. I could not remember the last time mom spoke first to anyone. She wasn’t holding conversations but just her speaking to someone was an improvement.
On Friday the nurse said mom fed herself. This was a major development. A doctor explained to me once that Alzheimer’s works as if all your memories are written from left to right on a chalkboard, them someone starts at the right side and starts erasing toward the left. That is why many of the elderly will forget what you said to them 10 minutes ago, but they remember intricate details of something that happened 60 years ago. To them what happened decades ago are fresh in their memory but what happened a few moments ago is long past forgotten. Anyway, mom had forgotten how to use a spoon and fork months before but on Friday, the nurse said it was if she had never forgotten.
Then came Saturday; it was around two o’clock I received the first phone call. Mom had eaten her breakfast, did not touch her lunch and laid down for a nap. Her physical condition had worsened. Her breathing was labored and shallow, the nurse told me I needed to hurry and get there because things were not looking good. I explained I was over twelve hours away and it would be morning by the time I could get there. I told the nurse we would make preparations to leave but to keep us posted.
The second and last phone call came just before sunset. I was on the phone with my mom when she passed into eternity. She never said anything and I don’t know if she heard anything, but I heard her last breath. While listening to her struggle to breath I reminded her of the love of Jesus and that I loved her. I wish I could have been there, if we had seen it coming we would have never left, but the Lord did bless; when she died I was located in one of my most favorite spots on earth; on the dock at Camp Baldwin watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico.
When I sat down to write this my intentions were to talk of memories and share some scriptures about motherhood and so on but the thoughts kept coming and the fingers kept typing and before I know it; 600 words about the day my mom died. Maybe after a year and half I’m not over it yet.
At the time of her death my thoughts and actions went 100 percent into taking care of dad. They were married 65 years. Dad died eight months later.
If your mom is still living do something good for her, not just on Mother’s Day but every day. If nothing else, pick up the phone and call her. When the kids grow up and move out of the house there is nothing so sweet as seeing them or hearing there voice.
“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise)” – Ephesians 6:2.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind., and is considered by many as an expert on Biblical prophecy. He and his wife, Julie, have four grown children and 11 grandchildren. All Scripture references are from the KJV. Blog: www.preacherjohnson.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.