It is so hard to believe that 19 years have passed since my mother died. I lost her when I was 17 years old, and she was only 38. She died from cancer. She had lung cancer, that spread quickly throughout her body. She was diagnosed in May of 1995, and was gone April 9th, 1996. She tried chemotherapy, and radiation but they did not work. She was offered some sort of experimental treatment afterward, but declined it.
I was a senior in high school when she died, and actually got the news she had passed while in school one day. My Principal actually drove me home to be with my family after getting the call. My mom died at home in my living room. She had been receiving care from a home hospice program, so we had a hospital bed set up for her and she was on a morphine pump.
I remember my dad telling me to say goodbye to her, but I knew she was already gone and didn’t need to do that. It was so hard to see a woman so full of life a year ago, deteriorate into the skeleton of a woman she became. When she was aware of what was going on around her, I remember her feeling pain from even the slightest touch. I would never wish that kind of suffering upon anyone.
I felt that it was “better” for her to be gone after the suffering she had endured. I thought then, that she had gone to heaven to be with her mother who had passed before her, but now my feelings on heaven and hell have changed. I believe that we are asleep in the grave until Jesus returns. I don’t believe hell exists the way most people think of it either. I believe if we do not accept Christ’s gift of salvation that we do not go to hell for an eternity of punishment and torture. I believe that we will die a final death and perish, becoming forever separated from God.
I remember being angry that God would take my mother from me, but I don’t feel like that anymore. We live in a fallen world, and there are consequences to our actions in this life. I do not understand why some people live long full lives, and others are “taken” when we feel they have so much more life to live. I have lost 3 babies in utero, that never had any chance to live. I would absolutely say they died too soon. That is only my opinion though. I do not understand His ways.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55 8-9 NIV
At this time in my life, when I lost my mother I also gained the best gift God has ever given me. My husband was just a friend of mine when my mom died, and shortly after losing her we started dating. He proposed in December of 1996, and we were married in August of 1998. I have always said that he is my soul mate, and a gift from God. My life would have been very different if I didn’t have my husband. He kept me from getting into trouble for sure. I was a weak person who easily caved into peer pressure, and I didn’t have the best role models in my family to set me on the right path either. Due to what I was exposed to my whole life, I thought drinking, smoking and partying was the normal way to live. It hasn’t always been easy for my husband to stick it out and put up with me, but I thank God that he has.
I would have loved to have had my mom with me for all the big moments in life, but that wasn’t God’s plan for me. I have had to learn things on my own that a mother would normally teach her child, and I have missed sharing experiences with her too. I think not having her around will make me appreciate the time I have with my children, and make me more intentional about the things I share with them. I am creeping up on the age my mom was when she died, and it is hard not to get nervous about the possibility of dying young too. I know I have eliminated many of my risk factors by avoiding the lifestyle choices she had made, but it’s still in the back of my mind. I want to make sure my kids have good memories of their childhood and of me, but the most important thing is to teach them to follow the narrow road.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7 13-14 NIV
I think my mother would be proud of the woman I have become, but more importantly I want to please God. I know I have much to let go of in this life to be truly pleasing to God, and I need to take on some things too.