I just finished reading a beautiful blog post by an old friend. It described her last days with her husband in a very moving, yet hopeful way. You can read her post here: http://widowlady302.blogspot.com/
In thinking of this type of death, I always think back to the great love of my parents. Their love was a God story from the beginning, and her death was as beautiful as it was horrific. We knew she was going to go for 11 months before the time finally came, giving us opportunities to love one another and tie up loose ends. This too, was a gift from God.
Mom and dad were unable to sleep in the same bed, so we moved a twin in beside her. The spent many long hours in the night, alone in their own room, just talking and reminiscing and loving one another.
Each morning, my mother spent in her room, studying her Bible and listening to music and coming closer to God with each breath. I often think of this time with envy. Maybe her closeness to God was because she knew she would meet Him soon, but she was a godly woman from early on, and I aspire to be like her some day.
One of the songs she listened to was a tape of me singing. One day, about 3 months before the end, she called me in and said, "Angie, I want you to sing this song at my funeral." How I did it, I don't know, but God gave me the grace, and it was the least I could do to honor my blessed mother.
She was at WalMart a couple days before then end and sang in church the Sunday before. I had gone home for the weekend when I got the call. She woke up in horrible pain and they had taken her to the hospital. A tumor the size of a football had grown in her stomach and broken in two. Even though she had hospice and planned to die at home, her pain was too much. She was placed in a large room away from others where we could all stay with her all we wanted.
This time is one of my worst memories, but it is also one of my best. In many ways, it was the completion of a love rarely seen. It took three days for her to leave us, but dad stayed by her side the entire time, talking, loving, crying, praying, and eventually, letting her go. A couple of times we all left them alone in the room so he could express his grief in private.
I've never seen my father sob before or sense, and it was an experience that effected me deeply. He told her repeatedly how much he loved her as he sobbed over their clasped hands. At one point, he said, "Marilyn, if I had it to do over, I would marry you all over again." Then he asked, "Would you marry me?" She squeezed his hands to say yes, giving him something to hang on to during the long, lonely days of his widowhood to come.
November 11, 2005, with almost all her family standing around her, she left to be with the Lord. This date again showed the love God had brought to these lives. November 11, was the day he finally met her for the first time after writing letters back and forth from Ohio to Germany for a year and a half. November 11 was also the day he had surrendered to preach.
She followed him willingly through the good times and the not so good times, leaving behind family and much more to be a helpmeet to him. Thank you Lisa for reminding me that real love doesn't cut and run when the going gets tough. Real love loves through it all, to the very end. My husband and I have experienced this type of love, the love that shows up, and I thank God for the legacy my parents have given, not only to me, but to everyone who knew them.