Brace for the Final Kiss

loveMy sweet mother passed away on October 18th of three years ago year. I miss her and thank God for her role in my life.

Three years ago October 17th, I received a call from my mom. In fact, she called me twice, since I missed her first call.

Mom didn’t have much on her mind—she just wanted to tell me she loved me. And I assured her that I loved her too.

I didn’t think our conversation was out of the ordinary until the following morning, when I received an urgent phone call from my brother John. Mary,” he told me, “Mom’s in the hospital. She wasn’t breathing well in the morning, and Dad couldn’t get her to wake up. So he called the paramedics, and they took her to St. Ann’s Hospital.”

John called me a few hours later with a sobering update. “The doctors say she’s on the verge of dying—maybe in hours or maybe in a week. But there’s nothing more they can do for her.”

I packed up a few clothes and in a little over eight hours I was in Mom’s hospital room. It was 1:30 in the morning. Although she was lying unconscious and struggling to breath, her face glowed and her skin appeared remarkably smooth and clear, like that of a little child. Oxygen and morphine eased her pain and helped her find some solace.

But Mom was dying.

I felt so helpless. For long minutes, I had no words.

Finally, I pressed closer to the bed, caressed Mom’s face, gently arranged her hair, and grabbed her frail hand. Kissing her on the forehead, I said, “I love you, Mom.” And somehow I felt her loving me back.

I had no idea this would be the final kiss…but it was.

No sooner had I taken John home than we received the dreaded call that Mom was gone. She had passed into eternity mere moments after I kissed her goodnight.

When we got back to the hospital, Dad told us, “Mom had it harder than most, but she did the best she could. Now she can get some rest.”

Some rest. Truly that was what Mom needed. Finding deep rest for our souls is the great antidote to the suffering and pain that we experience in life.

In the weeks and months since Mom’s death, my mind has been a whirlwind of thoughts…pleasant memories of her life…how much I miss her…the brevity of life…and my own mortality.

Here are lyrics from a song that I wrote for Maryann, my sweet mother:

In the laughter of a baby…the sky so clear and blue…the gentle breezes blowing bring remembrance of you.

In the early hours at daybreak…with the passing of each day…in the quiet of the evening I can hear the angels say:

She’s in the hands of God now, in the hands of God, resting safely in His presence and His love.

With the changing of the seasons…realizing we’re apart…when I want to know the reasons for the void within my heart.

I can hear the angels say:

She’s in the hands of God now, in the hands of God, resting safely in His presence and His love.

I once heard someone say, “A goodbye is never painful unless you’re never going to say hello again.” Well, that’s simply not true. It has still been painful to say goodbye to my mom, even though I fully expect to say hello to her again in heaven one day.

But our heavenly hope does indeed help to make the loss easier to cope with. An unknown author made this profound observation: “Missing someone gets easier every day, because even though it’s one day further from the last time you saw each other, it’s one day closer to the next time you will.”

What a beautiful thought! Every day that passes, I’m one day closer to my reunion with Mom and other loved ones who’ve gone ahead of me.

What about you?

Think about friends and loved ones who have died. Have you taken time to put them “in the hands of God” and resolve their passing in your heart? If not, pause for a few minutes to do so now.


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