My sweet mama is dying.
Sometimes there is no poetry in a thing. It is just there–stark and naked and full of truth.
So many words but no rhyme at all.
I come to stay with her for two weeks. She talks of her own mama, gone over 40 years. In the night hours she reaches for things unseen, and words tumble around, senseless phrases called out in the dark. Memories and visions and fears all pressing in on her.
The rhythm changes everyday, and I marvel at the strength it takes to die. I had always thought the hardest part was the living.
But there is this valley to walk through. So dark and deep, and she keeps stumbling.
There is just nothing easy in dying, whether you’re 26 or 96.
I remind her what is on the other side.
We talk of heaven, and she can’t wait to be there. She asks me when the Lord will call her home, when her suffering will end. We talk of God and His sovereignty–how every breath is given by Him, the final one already written. How He will strengthen her and carry her to the very end.
It has been rich to be in this hospice time with her–a hovering place between life and death. Sips of cool water and loved ones gathered and night-time vigils. It’s a privilege to share in this suffering. Death, like birth, filled with such pain but with glimpses of glory.
And the hope of such glory to come. Enough to erase all the pain of this dying.
Today I am flying back home to my family for a few days, and I feel so torn between these two worlds. I say good-bye to my mama. I say all the words I know to say. I tell her not to wait for me–she will not be here much longer, but only God knows her time. Marissa seems very close in this place. When I hug her for the last time, it feels a little like I am touching both of them.
The sky is full of white clouds. There are times when I look out of the plane window and see the ground clearly and times when we are in the clouds and I see nothing at all. I know that once we get high enough, even the clouds will be clear.
My mama is almost high enough.
Soar gently, Mama.
Fly gently home.
Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4