It is an amazing gift to receive so many letters from sons and daughters, husbands and wives about their loved ones’ dying time. People are eager to share what occurred at the bedside as a family member entered heaven.
Gailene wrote to me about her sweet mother, who after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma lived 25 years longer than the doctors said she would. While the disease spread throughout her body, she continued to live a happy, faith-filled life. Dementia took over in her later years but she remembered all the hymns, prayers and scripture readings she had loved so well.
Toward the end, Gailene wrote, her mother started talking more about heaven: “At first, Mom would talk excitedly about the prospect of seeing her own mom and daddy.” About a week before her death, the family was gathered around her bed singing hymns as she sang along or mouthed the words. “Sometimes she would smile and look past us,” Gailene wrote. “She was having ‘conversations’ with whomever she saw there and it obviously made her happy.”
Gailene knew that her mother was seeing loved ones or an angel waiting to take her home to God. “She rested peacefully,” she wrote, “and four days later, Mom slipped into the arms of Jesus while we all surrounded her. As difficult as it is to watch someone you love pass away, it made our faith deeper. We saw things so differently from our vantage point at her bedside. We understand now that our citizenship is not here on Earth but in heaven, and that we will see her one day soon again.” Understanding and being open to all that a loved one has to share as they are close to death leaves familes and friends with a great sense of awe and peace. Gailene felt very blessed to have experienced this journey with her mother.