On October 26th, of last year, my family was called to my mother’s home. She was in renal failure and wasn’t expected to live much longer. Mom had suffered with Alzheimer’s for a number of years, but the past few months the decline had been especially rapid. Hospice had provided some quality care and prepared all of us for this time.
Over the next five days, I, along with my siblings and her husband of 12 years, watched and waited. Every day the nurses and aids came by apprised us of her status and predicted her overnight death. The caregivers told us to expect dramatic symptoms of erratic breathing “like a fish out of water,” and other gruesome physiological manifestations.
My family and I accepted Mom’s departure from this world when her breathing and heart stopped on at least three occasions during those days. Each time we thought she was gone, her breathing started again. Her final breath was the last of a series of shallow ones. With her last breath a smile replaced the once drawn lips as she stepped into glory.
In the next few days, my brother and I discussed the absence of gasping breath and painful contortions predicted by the nurses. Our conclusion was a simple but profound one. When the doorway of death is cracked open, the torment that awaits the unbeliever is revealed and they cling to this life, struggling for every possible breath. But when the doorway of death opens for us and the glory of God shines through to our face…it’s easier to release the things of this world and embrace the next. We then can step into glory with a smile on our face and lungs full of heavenly air.
Since my mother’s death the blog posts have been absent. It has been a setback for me. Expect the posts to this site to resume with greater regularity from this point forward, and look for some special guest contributors later this spring.