You do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13b-14 (NIV)
I stood by her bed, watching the labored breathing, her upper body moving slightly in rhythm with her breath. I gently wiped the froth that came up from her tortured lungs as her heart struggled to pump oxygen through her blood. She reminded me of a freight train straining up a mountain side, chugging hard, sending up black smoke into the clouds.
One more gasping breath and the heart stilled forever. Her skin took on a yellow-grey pallor, no pink at all. This was what death looked like as it claimed my mother's precious life.
Numbness gripped my heart. God helped me to force back the tears and steel myself to do what was necessary. My time with grief would come, but not now. Kissing her cold face, I told her I loved her one last time.
Jesus comforted me then with hope. He reminded me that I would see her again. She was alive—with him—as he He had planned from the beginning.
I imagined her wonderful reception at the gates of heaven, walking into the outstretched arms of Jesus. Behind Him stood her own mother, Ella Mae, who died when she was three. She had always longed to see her mother's face, but there had been no pictures of her. Her father, four sisters, and three brothers greeted her, smiles on their faces, arms open in welcome. Mourning had just turned to joy! At last, Mother was Home.
Father, may we have the hope of a glorious reunion as we go through this life and head toward heaven's door.
©2012 Evelyn B. Ryan