From Papaw today:
I have a little sticker on my computer with my scribbled words: "4:27 PM Wed. Jan. 13, 2010." I wrote them a little while after Jeannine and I wept and cried together by Mom’s bedside and lamented and cried out to God in agony of heart, seeing Mom take her last breath on this earth and she died with a peaceful look on her face. Today February 13, 2010 is the one-month anniversary of her death and entrance into eternal life. Mom tried several times in the several days preceding her death to comfort Jeannine and me with her sweet words. And she did! We need to remember those words, especially during the last week of her life and her thoughtful words during the last year when she knew she was going to die and wanted to write the deep expressions of her heart for her family’s sake. And we are so glad she did that. We have a great treasure in your Mom and in her words. She had an enormous impact on my life as well as yours and on her grandchildren and the many people to whom she ministered.
There are only 10 Commandments that form the base on which all ethics are built and one of them is this: "Honor thy father and thy mother." To honor your mother is to treat her with respect and love and devotion. It is to value her exceedingly high in your own mind. It is to be kind to her and to defer to her and to listen to her with the intent of complying with her desires insofar as you are able under God to do so. We are particularly privileged to have such a woman as your mother and my wife. She is truly God’s gift to us all. And the best embodiment of the scripture that says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18:22 NIV I am so thankful that all 4 of you and all the grandchildren honor Mimi in your hearts the way you do.
We have another ancient text that describes your mother, "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:25-28
Mom slept for at least 21 hours a day or more the last week of her life on this earth and would just awaken long enough to say something and then go back to sleep. Jeannine and I wrote down everything we heard her say in her weakened condition. Most everything was surprisingly clear. From time-to-time I will remind you of those few precious statements. Today I’ll mention just one + two things she wrote in her journal while she still had the strength to write them on paper.
A day or two before she died one morning she woke up briefly with a smile on her face and said, "I love you all! Goodbye." And she went back to sleep. And in her journal she wrote just a few weeks earlier describing her attitude towards death and dying, "This is something that I had to face head on. We will all be faced with death as God did not create us to live on this earth forever. After the fall death entered the world, so all will die–
"Some of us know we are dying sooner rather than later–Others die with no warning. I have had a lot of time to think about death and dying– I know that Jesus will come for me and take me to heaven where I will be reunited with family members who have gone before. I will no longer have the old sin nature, so my fellowship with our Lord will be perfect.
"Thinking of leaving those I love is painful, but I have to trust the Lord to be their comfort and to take care of them. It is wonderful that the Lord gave us memories so we can think back as well as promises that help us think ahead. If we know the Lord Jesus, we will be together in Heaven. . . .
"I know my loved ones will mourn, but I hope it will not be as the world mourns – but as people with confidence that their Mimi is in Heaven with the Lord.
"May the God of all comfort be our comfort - Let’s be grateful for all the good years together." (Minnie’s Journal, pp. 170-171)
And just a few pages earlier here is what she wrote:
"I hope my family will remember that I loved each one of them with all of my heart. I prayed for each of them and ask the Lord to give each of them a desire to know Jesus and to walk close to Him." (page 167)
Many years ago not long after we first moved to California in 1958, Mom told me that she was reading Psalm 37 and came across verse 4 which reads, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." She told me then, and she has told me many times since that "the desire of her heart" is to see her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren walking with the Lord. She loved 3rd John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." That’s what she desired more than anything else for her whole family–including her brothers and her nieces and her extended family.
Mom continued writing, "As a mother, I wanted to take good care of my family. Cooking for them, sewing special outfits and celebrating holidays was a big part of my life.
"Another important event to me was our evening meal together. This was a time for family sharing and relaxing. All the children enjoyed the coming together around the table - After dinner we read God’s Word together with prayers that God would give each child a hunger for God’s Word.
"May my family remember that my strength was from the Lord." (page 167)
Here are a few pictures to remember Mom today. She would want you to be joyful and think of sweet memories. Love,
I will forward this to the grandchildren also.