It had been a challenging week for dad and his care for mom.
On Thursday, some time early in the morning, I heard these words in my sleep: "How can I help dad to love mom more? How can I frame my words to him in such a way that he will throw stones at the enemy * and not at her?"
But then, the bedroom door burst open and dad yelled, "DAUNE, SHE'S GONE. IT'S MOM. SHE'S GONE." It was 5:25 a.m.
There were no need for any words to be framed because she was with Jesus and no one was going to throw anymore stones.
I can still see the scene and hear his words today.
Time stopped. But everything around me began to spin. 'What do I do? What do I do?'
There she lay. Slumped over on the pillow, as though she were asleep.
Dad was weeping, holding her in his arms. Telling her over and over, "I love you. I love you, Kathy."
As we sat at the table in shock, Caleb woke up to the sound of the firemen and police officers filing down the hallway to the bedroom. Tears were rolling down his cheeks, as he said, "I didn't say goodnight to her last night." Then it hit me: neither did I.
Isaac didn't wake up and I felt a prompting to let him sleep. But Caleb woke him and told him.
Because time stops when someone you love is gone, it's difficult to remember what has to be done.
My daughter found out her gramma died on Facebook. OH MY GOD! How could I have forgotten to call her? Waves of guilt and shame overwhelmed me.
...and because I misunderstood the police officer, I waited for the doctor's office to open to ask for a death certificate-when really all I had to do was call the funeral parlor and they would have come to pick up the body. I DID NOT KNOW THAT. So the police officer sat in front of our home until almost ten o'clock because they have to stay by law. I DID NOT KNOW THAT EITHER.
For over four hours, my mother's precious frail body lay in the bed and we sat in the dining room calling everyone and contacting appointments that needed cancelling, trying to make sense of this abrupt end and how we were going to possibly keep living.
But we have.
She walked through the doors of eternity on March 21, 2013, in no pain, and was welcomed into His arms.
Of this I am sure.
Only when one experiences loss, can they say with confidence, 'The LORD IS my strength. His joy is my strength.' For He has literally been carrying me for almost three weeks now.
Three days after mom passed, we picked up dad, who stayed at my sister's overnight.
From a bedroom, I received the news that dad wanted to leave Texas and go back to NY to live again, but he was worried I'd be upset with him for leaving. Only by God's grace was I able to say, "Dad, I want you happy. If going back to NY will make you happy, then you have to go." Yet in my heart, I am aching so badly that I want to scream, "NO, YOU CAN'T LEAVE NOW. WE CAN FINALLY DO THINGS TOGETHER THAT WE COULDN'T BEFORE!"
One cannot know the future...ever. But one can hold on to the truth that the future belongs to the Creator of the universe.
I am hiding in His shadow these days.
Dad leaves our home for good in ten days. I rejoice for him and am excited for the days ahead that he will have with his grandchildren in NY and his two other kiddos.
He has chosen to live. His heart is breaking daily, but he has a mission...a vision to live the rest of his days to the fullest and loving those he's been away from for over three and a half years.
I am so very thankful to God for the way He orchestrates the details of our life. Though they are painful, I have such hope and joy...joy that goes way beyond the pain, the sorrow of losing both of them within one month.
The day after mom left us, we were cleaning out the little dresser next to her bed when I found this:
I had poured out my heart to God the night she died, asking God to show me beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was with Him.
When I opened the box, there was the proof. The cross. The earrings.
She loved me. I know she did.
And I loved her. One day we will dance together and time will no longer matter to either of us.
Mom, I love you and I miss you. I look forward to seeing you whole.
Until then, I will dance for you.
* "Least Likely To Succeed"--the message we'd just heard the previous Sunday. Dad had gone to the front to get his stone to sling at Satan. I just found mine tonight and am throwing it at the enemy on behalf of my family, here and up north. Great message.