You know I thought the worse part was over after telling mom about the diagnosis but I was wrong… The next day mom had been pretty sleepy and not super responsive to anyone but she would wake up here and there. As the evening came and visiting hours drew to a close everyone headed home and I made my little hospital chair bed out and tried to sleep. Somewhere around 1am I woke up when mom threw a pillow at my head – she was awake and feisty!
She asked me to come close and just hold her hand so we just sat and all was clam again. She started mumbling for a while and I couldn’t understand her. When I asked what she needed the response was, “nothing Bethy, I’m talking to the angels.” They talked for about an hour before her eyes opened and she told me to call my aunt. Suddenly, my heart and my mind were running a thousand miles an hour. While my aunt drove, I read Psalms 121 out loud over and over again. At some point in that time mom told me Jesus and my grandmother were in the room too.
All I could think was that mom was about to walk into eternity while I sat and held her hand… You know how sometimes in those moments things come to mind that you would never think of? Well I realized I hadn’t seen a DNR (do not resuscitate) posted anywhere in the room. She couldn’t go home with Jesus without that in place! The nurse couldn’t find it and all I knew was that a copy was on the way with my aunt.
I will never forget two phrases I said to mom that night – “You cannot go with Jesus until Tempie gets here or, momma, they will bring you back. Do you hear me? You have to wait!” and then “Momma, the DNR is here, you can go, and it will be my greatest privilege in all of my life to sit here while you walk to your great reward.” Two things I never thought I would cross my lips… Two things no girl is every prepared to say to her momma, especially when her momma is her best friend and her person. I promise you Jesus was in that room.
As the night went on, mom kept mumbling and spending precious time talking to the angels. Eventually my aunt curled up in one of the make-shift beds and tried to rest. Every moment the room would get still and quiet I thought I heard my name, I thought she was whispering for me to do something, or answer a question. But my aunt was asleep… Who knows, maybe I heard random noises but maybe my sweet Savior, Immanuel, God with Us, the Prince of Peace was whispering my name to remind me that I wasn’t alone, that He was with me, and all this would happen in His time.
Through the night as Tempie and I were up we planned mom’s funeral, made travel plans, and decided who we needed to call and when. She taught me about letting someone go to their great reward about waiting to call the nurses, moving away from mom so she wasn’t physically holding on to something earthly, and how to simply wait – all things she learned from her momma dying while talking to the angels. (The women in our family do talk to a bunch angels before they go to heaven, I know that’s kind of strange but it’s who we are!)
When morning came and mom was still mumbling we knew she had to make a decision. You see, we were supposed to go to radiation that day for the mapping process in order to shrink the tumor (I named the tumor Towanda because why not?!?). At 7:30 that morning mom had to decide to wake up and fight or to wait until she went to Heaven. When my aunt leaned in she quietly said, “Triss, you can stay in bed and rest or wake up and fight. Today is our only chance to fight. What do you want to do?” My momma’s eye shot open and with more passion and determination than I heard in weeks she declared “I WANT TO FIGHT!”
That morning, out FIGHT began! That morning, mom decided to come back to us, to finish the work God had laid out for her, and to be about His business. From 7:31 that Tuesday morning my mom has fought with everything in her being and with all that God will supply. The journey is still going and I praise the Lord for that!!!
I will never read Psalms 121 the same again. We are told where our help comes from and that the Lord does not slumber or sleep. My heart so needed those truths to be spoken over and over again that night. Our help would only come from one place – the Maker of Heaven and Earth – the Inventor of the Medicine – the One who does not close His eyes for rest which allows me to close mine. We will and have already gotten weary from the fight but I can rest because my God is my Protector, my Cover, my Maker, my Help!