Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Long Goodbye....Mama

I wasn't sure I was going to continue blogging and I'm still not sure sure, but I'm half sure so here we go.....

Death is a curious thing.  I've experienced it with my parents in two ways.  Daddy died suddenly and mama died slowly.  Which is better/worse?  I don't know what everyone else thinks, but over the last few years, I have come to believe that as shocking as sudden death may be, watching a loved one slowly slip away is torture.  

Mama had been unable to walk and had periods of hallucinating for several years now, and had stopped really wanting to even watch t.v., but we weren't expecting her death to be imminent.

On Sunday morning, January 26, I was backing my car out of the garage on my way to Sunday School when I got a call from mama's caregiver.  Nikki is like a sister (age wise I guess I should say daughter) and in the five years she has worked for mama, she has only called me one other time to say she thought something was really wrong.  She just said please come..... so I turned right instead of left and drove to mama's home at the retirement center.  

As I started that way, I called the hospice nurse and then called my older brother.  When I got to her apartment, mama was completely non responsive.  When hospice got there, they said she probably wouldn't live through the we called our other siblings.  Monday, they said she wouldn't live through the day and Tuesday the weekday nurse just shook his head.  Mama died the following Sunday.  Eight long days we spent time with her and with each other.  We sang hymns to her and talked to her about going to heaven, about seeing Jesus, daddy and all of her siblings.  We looked through picture albums, we talked, we laughed, we cried.  Our sweet sister in law stayed at night so we could get some rest......but that rest included waiting for the phone to ring and thoughts of what was to come and how to handle the inevitable.

While we were waiting, I looked through mama's Bible to see if she had special scriptures highlighted and found the following scriptures she had written.  I hope you can click on the picture and read them......she titled these scriptures....."Things God wants us to do..."
And this is the way she lived.

The service celebrating mama's life was so like her.....from her own words to the words others had to say about her.  I kept thinking that the end of a person's life is not their life.  That person who has grown old and changed is still the young girl who loved life and her family and her God.  

I haven't the words to adequately describe mama to those who didn't know her, so I'm going to use pictures.

She was a really cute little toddler who wielded a mean sling shot

A bridesmaid

Having fun with a friend...

Wedding day

At the Grand Canyon.....I was holding the back of her sweater and she was saying "quit"....Daddy said...."one thing for sure, if you fall over, Nancy's getting that sweater!"

With the one she loved!

Mama loved the beach

She loved being our mama.....most of the time!

Mama was NOT that person in the bed at the end of her life.  She was a child of God, a fun loving girl, a daughter, sister, wife, mama, aunt and friend.  Mama loved to laugh and dance and go to the beach.  She danced at the USO as a teenager and on top of the Dixie Sherman Hotel.  

Mama's gone now.  Her apartment is cleaned out and is already rented to someone else.  She resides in heaven in the room Jesus prepared for her and where thanks be to our Savior, we will join her one day!

I got many cards and all of them meant so much, including one from a childhood neighbor and friend.  But one card in particular meant and will continue to mean so much.....this is what was written....

"Dear Nancy,  It was a privilege to know your mother.  When I first came to Wallace Memorial (our church), we were both members of the same circle and the Wednesday night Bible study.  Her life and witness was a blessing to me then.  I think her greatest accomplishment, however, was within her own family, raising another generation in "the fear and admonition of the Lord."  How wonderful it is to see so many of you in church every Sunday....and in positions of service within the church."  

I had no idea of mama's influence on this woman, but I probably should have because that's just who my mama was....she went quietly about her life influencing people through the way she lived.  What a challenge to all of us children to live our lives like mama!  

With her children on her 90th birthday

Mary Margaret Anderson Duncan
September 14, 1923 - February 2, 2014