Today’s story is written by a guest blogger, my sister, Gloria Jean. I hope you enjoy it. If so, please leave hear a comment.
I have been married for 32 years and have considered my mother-in-law and father-in-law as parents especially since both of my own parents passed away. I am a Christian. There was a time when I wandered away, but thankfully I made my way back and I am active in my faith and service to others. Because of this, I had a heavy burden on my heart for my husband and his parents.
I’ve had occasions to talk with all of them regarding their souls’ welfare. My mother-in-law’s response was that once you’re dead, you’re dead and that’s all there is to it. It was a belief that she passed along to her son, my husband, because he repeated the exact same back to me during our talks. When they were small boys, my mother-in-law had taken her two sons and visited several different churches of varying faiths before settling on sending her sons to a Catholic Church. She did not accompany them but wanted them to have that education.
When I would talk to her about faith, heaven, God and the hereafter, she would say to me, ”I know that you believe that when you die that you will go to heaven and see all of your family who have gone on before you and give them big hugs, but there has never been anyone to ever come back from the dead and told you that it is possible.”
I tried to talk to her about Jesus’ resurrection and subsequent ascension into heaven and in the Bible where it says that he has gone to prepare a place for us, but she would just shake her head and I knew that meant that we were done with the conversation.
In my prayers, I would always ask, “Please God. Do not take them in death until they have asked you for forgiveness and asked you to come into their hearts.” — them being my husband and his parents.
I knew his dad had some sort of faith because he would make me CD’s of gospel music and send me emails that were faith based. But I just couldn’t get any definitive answer from him because he would not go against his wife’s strong personality. In my Bible Study class, I would put their names in for prayer and shared with the group the prayer I had for them because of this heavy burden.
When she was 95, my mother-in-law was taken to the hospital. She had been there a few times over years, but always came out okay. This time they found that she had several serious issues that had left her unresponsive. When I would visit her I would enter the room and always be light and cheery and talk to her as if she were fine. I did this partly to lighten the mood for my husband and father-in-law, but underneath, I was worried.
Eventually they had to intubate her because she was not getting enough oxygen on her own or with the cannula tube in her nose. She was struggling and my prayers were becoming desperate. “Oh, Lord,” I would pray “I know the end is near, but please let there be at least a moment when she is coherent enough to look up to you and ask forgiveness before the final breath.” My heart was even heavier than before.
My poor mother-in-law continued to struggle with each breath. After talks with her doctors and with her husband, my husband asked the doctor to remove the intubation tube. We didn’t want her final moments to be so uncomfortable for her. They put on an oxygen mask but put it covering her mouth because she did not get enough oxygen in through her mouth.
The last night, before I left to go home, I walked up to her bedside, looked down at her and talked to her even though she seemed out of it. I had always heard that even those who are in a coma can hear you talk to them, so I did. I got closer, put one hand on her forehead and the other one on her chest over her heart, and I prayed and prayed and prayed.
When I was drained, I straightened up and took one step back, and then it happened. All at the same time there was a feeling that started at my head and slowly worked its way to my feet and simultaneously the same feeling started from my center core and worked its way outward. It was a feeling that is impossible to describe and a feeling that I never wanted to stop. As I was in the midst of this incredible feeling a still small voice said to me, ‘Don’t worry. I’ve got this.’
Yes, that is when the tears started. When the feeling had subsided and I had composed myself. I walked over to the bed, gave her a kiss, smiled and said, “I’ll see you later.”
We received a call at 7:00 am the next morning that she was not doing well and that we needed to come right away. When we arrived at the hospital, we were told she had passed away quietly, peacefully at 7:04 am. We went into her room and spent some time with her and made necessary arrangements.
Before leaving, I again walked over to the bed, bent down talked to her, rubbed her now cold face, then gave her a kiss, smiled and said, “I’ll see you later.”
That peaceful feeling that had encompassed me the day before was there only at a lesser degree and I could still hear that voice telling me, ‘Don’t worry. I’ve got this.’
‘Mom’ – Katherine (Kay) Brown
March 23, 1923 – July 29, 2018