My Brother Writes . . . “Ready or Not”

From my brother, Mark, Jr.

Tonight I am staying with my Mom, and the night brings a mixture of emotions as I stand by this woman who has been such a good Mama to me and my siblings.  I’ve often said that our life and our family was far from perfect, and we deal with baggage we are not even aware of, I’m sure.  But we were and we are so blessed, and Mom deserves so much credit for the blessings we’ve had.  It feels sad to me tonight that I cannot do more for her in this hour that she would (and does) hate so much.  Death is coming way too slowly for Mom.  She never wanted this, to labor for each breath, to fight the pain, to spend the hours moaning lightly, and knowing that the end is inevitable, coming relentlessly to take her away, like it or not.  Like the children’s game of Hide and Seek, the count down is soon, and I can hear the words, “here I come, ready or not.”  I’ve tried to smile, to be cheerful, to speak words of hope, to tell her that she has been such a good Mama.  When she was still able, she asked me why I was grinning at her.  She told me I was speaking so loud, but she gave me sweet smiles and told me she loved me, too, when I reminded her how I felt toward her.  Mom and I shared those words often these past years when I was leaving her house, or going away, etc.  Her words came easier along those lines the past few years, and brought me comfort and blessing.  It is still good to be loved by your Mama, and to hear words of affirmation and pleasure from her lips.  I’m going to miss that…

So this night brings a bucketful of emotions.  I do feel excitement for her, delight to know that she will soon be free of this suffering, and that so much joy awaits her on the other side.  This is the hope we’ve built our lives on, and I’m grateful this hope brings us deep-down rest and comfort when there is nothing more we can do for our Mama.  With certainty and conviction, a knowing that surpasses the intellect and logic of the mind, and comes from deep within our spirit, we believe and we trust that His promises are true.  It’s our anchor for the soul,  The best is yet to come, and so much good awaits Mom, and she will be there soon, and we rejoice with her.

But there is sadness, too.  Life goes too quickly, and part of me wants to go back in time, to enjoy and appreciate again life the way it was.  I chose and try hard to live life without regrets and lots of “if only”, because I believe in amazing grace, and God’s ability to redeem messes and mistakes.  That is not the longing I feel tonight, to wish I could change things, and do better and be kinder, although there is that part, too, sometimes.  But there is a part that doesn’t want to let go of this person who has always been there, always been on my side, always wanted me and loved me, and made me feel I was doing good.  There is a part of me that doesn’t want to face my own frailty, to know that I’m now the next generation, that I’m running out of time, too.  Reading back over this just now, it is obvious that there are no words to really express the heart in a time like this.   Some things are just beyond words.

So thanks for your prayers and for your love and for your caring.  Thanks for being family.  It does feel good to have people who care in times like this.  We appreciate it.  And right now would be a good time to say a prayer for Mom.  Things are not easy for her.  Every move is labor.  She woke up just now and said “Hey!”  I reminded her of when she would tell us to save our hay, we might marry a mule someday…  She no longer can talk back and forth, and her words are hard to understand most of the time…

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