My mother looked beautiful lying in the casket. I have never seen a body look beautiful, but she did. She had beautiful skin that at age 82 had barely wrinkled. The undertaker had done a fantastic job on her hair and make-up, and she looked more like she used to look before multiple conditions had taken their toll on her. She was finally at peace.
I miss her. Not the suffering lady in the nursing home–well, maybe I do. She told me so often these last days how pretty I am. (Hanging out in a nursing home daily made a nana like me feel like a really young chick.) Mother had never been able to say “I love you” easily, but this last year she told me every visit that she loved me. She wanted to give and receive affection in a way she had never been able to pre-Alzheimer’s.
I had not lived in the same town with my mother since I graduated from high school, but this last year, it was necessary to move her to my town where she could get good nursing home care. She was five minutes from my house, and I could check on her daily. She didn’t always recognize me as her daughter, but she knew that I was her “person,” and she wanted me. After all the years of a long-distance relationship — with visits, of course — I was now caring for my mother on a daily basis. And I became very attached.
God, I want to be changed by this experience. This season that began May 15, 2013, the day of my mother’s death, is a blank slate that you and I will write on together. And I want it to be beautiful. I want to live well. Jesus, take my hand and lead me through each step. I’m glad I kept that bathrobe of hers. I donated everything else. It will be comforting now to have something that she wore.
A mother has the most powerful connection of all, I do believe, in earthly terms. The one who gives you life, who lays your foundation, for good or for bad, remains a constant influence your entire life. My mother hadn’t lived with her own mother since she was 17 years old. My grandmother has been dead for 46 years. But in her Alzheimer-ravaged brain, her mother was the one thing she could remember well. She wanted desperately to get to her, to help her, to be with her. She asked about her every day. Home to my mother was where her mother was.
I believe God commands us to honor our mother and father for two reasons. One is because our parents are his choice for us. His Word says in Psalms 139 that he knits us together in our mothers’ wombs. To not honor God’s choice is pride, saying that God erred in his creative work. The second reason is because of this deep connection we have to our parents. We need resolution with our parents to be free. Honoring God’s choice brings forgiveness and healing. I believe to not do so brings a curse on you. Oh, this is so important.
I understand that some parents are not “honorable.” All parents are flawed by sin. Some are mentally, emotionally, or physically abusive. I’m not saying the impact of that doesn’t matter. But what is honoring to them is that you trust a very good and faithful God to heal you and enable you to forgive them. What is honoring to them is that you pray for them and desire God to save them and heal them, and that you want God’s best for them.
Father, thank you for giving me time to honor my mother and not taking her before you showed me what I needed to know. In your great mercy, you wanted me to know how much I loved her and how much she loved me. You gave me a chance to truly honor her, and I can move forward with no regrets. Jesus, I praise and thank you.