She was =
terribly ill for 18 months, and we’d all rushed to her bedside many =
times over those tumultuous weeks. Finally, worn out from the =
months of battling illness, she told us that the time had come. =
"This is too hard," she said. "I want to go =
home." She was 58 years old.
At the end, my father =
kept a vigil at her bedside, supported my two sisters and me.
Mama’s last night, my sisters went away from the hospital for a =
much-needed break. My father never left the chair at the side of =
her bed. I asked if he wanted something to eat, then hurried to =
the hospital cafeteria to fetch some food that I could bring back on a =
When I got back to her room, my father’s chair was empty. =
He had left her bedside. I could hear the shower running in =
the attached bathroom. And I knew.
One look at the bed =
confirmed my fears. My mother was gone. I’d left the room =
for 15 minutes, and in that time her eyes had fluttered open one last =
time, then closed for good.
After he finished his shower, my =
father came back into the room where I sat, horribly alone. He =
touched my mother one last time and said, "Well, we gave it a good =
fight, didn’t we?"
That was all.
I’d read stories =
over the years of how families joined together to make a beautiful =
occasion of the passing of a soul from this life to the next. I =
guess I imagined that my sisters and I would be sitting at my mother’s =
feet, collecting last bits of wisdom and sending my mom off with words =
of thanks and hymns of praise. Somehow I always thought that this =
would be a special, sacred time, when we would all feel the presence of =
the Lord and weep together.
As it turned out, my mom slipped =
away while I was out getting sandwiches. It was not what I had =
imagined. Most of all, in my imagination, the occasion of my mother’s =
death was a time that was far, far in the future. It was long, =
long after my mother had helped me pick paint colors and choose =
wallpaper patterns and sew curtains and all those little things that we =
used to do together. It was a time after my children had grown up, =
long after they’d taken swimming lessons and built pinewood derby cars =
and sung in concerts and learned to drive and graduated and gotten =
married. It was after they’d proudly presented my mother with =
great-grandchildren to love and spoil. It was always =
But as it turned out, my children were 2, 6, and 8 years =
old when my mother died.
It’s been 15 years since I got to wish =
my mother a happy Mother’s Day. Now Mother’s Day reminds me =
that things don’t always work out as we’d planned.
My mother =
wasn’t perfect, but she was beautiful. She was kind. She did =
her best to love us and care for us. I wish I could have learned =
more from her. I wish I could have asked her more questions. =
I wish I could have struggled through the years of bringing up my =
own children with her to love and support me.
Most of all, I =
wish I could just tell her ‘thank you’ =
[by Richella =
Parham, Mother’s Day 2014]
Dr Bob Griffin =
Knows Me, This I Love!"