I knew it was coming when I left Montana in August after a visit with my failing mother. It was as they say, the perfect storm. When I last said goodbye to her I cried and sobbed out of control in the hallway of her resident home with my poor brother Ken who gently patted my back to comfort me. Nobody wants to cry like that in public. It makes everyone feel uncomfortable. Especially your brother! As weeks passed into September I could feel mom slowly slipping away as conversations with her became shorter and more difficult for her. She would quit talking and lay the phone down in her lap from fatigue after a few minutes and I would have to hang up. Candid conversations with my siblings about my mothers fast decline made me look at the calendar and wonder how in the name of God Holy Father were things going to work themselves out with my earthly plans? Many questions flooded my mind. When was my mother going to pass to heaven? Didn't God know my long prayed for granddaughter Mackenzie Jane was due in early October? Did God forget about the pain in my knee that I had been struggling with for a year and after 2 MRI's was finally diagnosed as a meniscus tear? Didn't God see the calendar days ebbing away and I'd met my deductible so surgery had to be this year? Did my siblings know my internal struggle with getting on a plane and flying back up to be with them and my mother for her final days and possibly missing my granddaughters birth? Could I honor my mother and not run to her side? Was my mother hanging onto life because she was waiting for Mackenzie's birth? Did I need to remind her I was a month late when she had me, and then I was 3 weeks late with my daughter Noelle and she was already a week late with her 8th great grandchild? What could I do from California when she was 1079 miles from me? I was slowly going crazy with the reality that babies are born and loved ones die and I couldn't do ANYTHING about it. I was in a constant state of planning in my mind for all the possible scenarios depending on which happened when and where. It was exhausting! Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to give birth and a time to die." I believed this but as the perfect storm was brewing in my life I truly and honestly was fighting a lack of faith for the first time in a long time. I was suffering because of my lack of peace as well. Sleep eluded me for weeks and I seemed very preoccupied with my circumstances. Several huge events were about to collide and the angst and anxiety were overwhelming my boat that was being tossed about in the storm. Just one thing had to happen and I could see it would all fall into place. I finally decided to trust the one who holds life in His hands. I prayed for perfect timing and asked others to join me. All the miracles began to fall into place. I was able to participate by phone in a final bedside service with mom. Brother Ron held the phone receiver up for me to hear. He said mom opened her eyes when she heard my voice. I was able to tell mom I love her the day before she died. She tried hard to mouth the words "love you" back. I declared to her that Mackenzie was going to be late and we would take good care of her. She needed to go be with Jesus and meet up with daddy and sister Cheryl. I'm not sure how I formed those words cheerfully and strong, but I did. I prayed God would receive my mother into eternity with mercy and love...and He did. My sweet mother passed into heaven early October 5th, 2016 while my sister Terri held her hand and had just texted me. A sense of relief washed over me knowing her suffering was over and her new life had begun. My wonderful siblings gave me several weeks before the burial and memorial service in Montana to greet our new granddaughter who arrived 8 days late October 18, 2016. I liked what my nephew Erik said, "it was like Grama Shirley and Mackenzie passed in the hallway of heaven." After Mackenzie's safe arrival we were able to travel easily to Montana for services October 27-30. We all cried, laughed, and loved for several days. I needed that warm blanket of love from my family. Mom taught us that well. Now I've spent 4 days resting, reading and sleeping in Lake Tahoe and resetting myself back after what was often a schizophrenic emotionally charged month. There was so much joy and so much sorrow as I held little Mackenzie and tearfully told her all about her great grandmother one morning at 3 am while everyone slept. Sorrow in knowing I can't pick up the phone and chat with my mom anymore. Joy in the assurance that my mom is in the presence of the Lord God. Heavenly rest for my mother, and some earthly rest for me. So now the final piece of the puzzle is being played out next week as I receive out patient surgery to repair my knee. Timing has been perfect. God heard all my prayers (and yours too). So somehow the storm gave me peace in the midst, and strengthened me, strengthened my faith, and my injured knee... imagine that!?
My mother Shirley holding her first granddaughter Noelle Marie.
Me holding my new granddaughter Mackenzie Jane.
Thank you for your love support and care these recent weeks. As we say at my house LYAAF (love you always and forever) Lorrie