Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Temporary Home

Catching the last few lines of a popular song by Carrie Underwood the other day brought me back to saying goodbye to my Grandpa in the hospital, many years ago.

While it was difficult to let him go, and I still miss him to this day, we'd watched him suffer from kidney failure and other complications for years.  He needed the peace that comes with leaving this earth.  At a certain point we even prayed it for him and gave him permission to leave, our family circling his bed in unison and love.

And I will never forget the serenity in the room when, after weeks of holding on but in a lifeless state, he raised his arm, smiled that unforgettable grin of his, and said, "Jesus."  There was no doubt Who was in the room with us -or where he was about to go.

I've had similar experiences with elderly loved ones.

I sat with my Grandmother the night before she passed.  Her children had been taking turns for weeks at the hospital and I offered to give them a break.  My goal wasn't just to let them have rest but to be there specifically to pray for her to have peace.  I knew the only way that would come for her, is if she left us.

Hers was the first I actively prayed for her passing.  Suffering from COPD, she struggled for every single breath.  And with each new shift, she was adamant the nurses rewrite in bold red letters "DNR" on her erase board.  When I left her that morning, I knew it would be the last time I hugged and kissed her goodbye.  My phone rang telling me of the news within minutes of making it home to bed.

And I had the priviledge to sit at mother-in-law's side, hours before she transitioned from this world.  Stage 4 cancer wrecked havoc on her small frame and I pained along with her as she tossed and moaned from her hospital bed.  Pulling out my Bible app, I began to read scripture aloud.  Instantly peace fell upon the room.  Again, where before there was only mutterings, the name of "Jesus" was clear upon her lips.  Her body was at ease and restful as her sons arrived to visit.

In all of those situations, though I grieved the loss of their presence in my life, I was at ease in knowing they'd moved to a better place.  To their Home.  And it is perhaps why I often don't feel sadness at funerals of those who have lived a long and good life.  I knew that for them, there was no more sickness, no more pain, only peace.

Though I knew the same for my son, the grieving process is so very different when losing a child.  A child's death is sudden, unexpected, even if they were ill.  In our case, it was a total shock.  And that made the timing even more difficult to let go and move forward.

He was so young....

There was so much life ahead for him...

Wonder what he would have become...

As a momma, you want your babies HOME with you, even long after they've grown.  A struggle I'm feeling in a new transition, as my baby is counting the days to be college bound.  His plans include being home less, which is a difficult adjustment for this mom.

It's an internal, magnetic pull to want family together in your home.

My favorite time of the day is the end, when we're all back and settled from our outside lives and gathered together under one roof.

Even back then, I desired this.  My last words to Austin were, "Be home...before midnight."
I just didn't expect he would arrive in his Heavenly home instead of ours.

With another birthday under my belt, I'm aware of a shifting.  I find myself studying older people, pondering on the life they've lived.  When visiting with people decades older, I'm now gauging their health against mine.  I know with each year, it is more important to have quality over quantity.  I feel a responsibility to be the best me I can be for as long as I'm here.

Yet I also realize a change in the pull to be home.  The older I get, the more I appreciate the gift that is each day but the more I'm focused on my someday permanent home.

It's not that I am ungrateful to be here but rather the opposite.  I realize how precious life is.  I'm filled with wonder at the beauty of another sunrise and the blessing it is to spend time with those you love.  I'm driven to fulfill my purpose for as long as God deems fit but drawn more often to things not of this world.  My soul is expectant for that day I will forever be Home.

In the waiting, my prayer is that I make the most of every moment and honor God in all I do.  Though this home is temporary, it is given to me with a heavenly expectation of purposeful service.


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