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 day.....so 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 a 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

24 comments:

Sweet Tea said...

Nancy, I've missed you and was thinking and wondering about you yesterday. Now I understand. I really do understand because I have had to say " the long goodbye" to my Dad 6 yrs ago. It's very difficult and seldom a day passes that I don't think of him. Still, like your Mom, my Dad was blessed with long life, so I feel blessed to have had him for so long. I'm glad you had the opportunity to say your goodbyes and that your cup overflows with great memories. ((HUGS))

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

{{{hug}}} I don't care how much advance "notice" we get, we're still not prepared for our parents to go. My mom's was sudden and unexpected, even though she was very ill. In many ways, I'm thankful for that because with her illness, the end wasn't going to be an easy one. My dad, on the other hand, is hanging on ... his mind is still sharp but his body is just plain wearing out. I think you hit the nail on the head: torture.

I certainly hope that you will continue blogging ... I miss you. But I know that you will do what you need to do for your best, dear one.

Needled Mom said...

That explains your silence! I am so sorry that you have had to go through so much. Those long good-byes are just awful. My dad did that and each day we were told it could not last. The human body is amazing when it comes to holding on.

I hope that the wonderful memories you have of her will support you through the difficult times. Living her life as a faithful servant has rewarded her for eternity.

txcatlover said...

What a sweet and heartfelt tribute to your Mama. I too know about the long goodbye. My Mom suffered from Alzheimer's. May time give you more and more sweet memories of the earlier days when she was at her prime. Please keep blogging. You have been missed.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I was so sorry to hear about your Mama's passing. I know she meant the world to you. This post is beautiful memorial to her. I have loved seeing her pictures on your posts for many years now. I love her words to live by. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Pleased to see you here today....((HUGS))

debi said...

Nancy you have been missed so much by this blogger. I love your heart and your wit. It will be my prayer you continue to blog. I actually started blogging after losing my Daddy...it helped, a lot! Sometimes as you know, therapy for ourselves in print is therapy for another even if we aren't aware. How blessed you were to have lived a life under the influence of a Godly Momma! It' difficult living life without our parents, I miss mine daily. Thankful for the promise, we will be together again...for eternity!
Hugs and lots of love to you and yours...

Rebecca Jo said...

I'm so sorry... I had no idea she had left this world. My heart aches for your family. A mother holds families together in a way only they can. So glad you all were able to speak words of encouragement & peace to her even in those last days.
I know you have the hope of Heaven.. cling to that.
HUGS to you!

LBDDiaries said...

My mom passed away 2009 and while I still miss her I know she did not want to live a diminished life. While Dad's passing was sudden, like you, my mom's wasn't. The gradual is worse and even tho I was able to share some special time with her, most of it was sad and not fun. Your mom was so beautiful, inside and out! This was a wonderful tribute to her and please, don't quit blogging. The sharpness of the pain will even out to a "I miss her but I celebrate her life by living mine as she'd want me to" kind of feeling!

Cathy said...

We all remember Mama and all six of us have our own special memories! We love you Mama!

Tami said...

I have often thought of you and praying you were okay. I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I cannot begin to know how you feel. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Take care.

Stephanie said...

I am so sorry for your loss. The pictures of your Mom are truly beautiful. Sending hugs and prayers for you and your family.

Dee said...

Dear Nancy, this eulogy you have written for and about your mother is so lovely and touching and it brings to my mind my own mother who died at 58 and whose presence I still feel. Nothing really prepares us for that time when both our parents are dead and we are the next generation. They have always been the bulwark for us. But the consolation is that now she is even more aware of you and your needs. She is with you to comfort and help when times are hard and you need her wisdom. What a gift you and she were to one another. And that will continue to be true. Peace.

Trish said...

I am so sorry about your sweet Mama's passing. What a blessing to have had such a Godly example in your life. Thank you for sharing the photo's and her personal notes. I will be praying for you.

Trish said...

I am so sorry about your sweet Mama's passing. What a blessing to have had such a Godly example in your life. Thank you for sharing the photo's and her personal notes. I will be praying for you.

His Song to Sing said...

What a beautiful tribute, Nancy. Your mom was no doubt a very special lady. I've not experienced a "long goodbye" as both of my parents died suddenly, but I can relate to your feeling that it would be torturous to endure that journey with your loved one. I am thankful you have your siblings to heal with and special friends who I know are coming alongside you in your time of grief. The good memories will eventually win out over the pain because time does help ... I'm sure you've learned that with other life struggles. God be with you and your family.

Sweet Tea said...

Stopping by to check on you. Hope you're back to blogging soon.

Life happens said...

Oh nancy! Although my heart breaks for your loss I'm so happy to know that one day I will meet you and your parents on the other side! Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and the others left behind to miss her!

Dee said...

Dear Nancy, thank you so much for your birthday greeting. I don't know how to really use Facebook, so I wasn't sure how to say, "Thank you." I hope you are being gracious to yourself as you grieve the loss of your mother. Of course, she is never truly lost to you. She even now watches over and delights in you. Peace.

He Knows My Name said...

Dear Nancy. I am sorry to read about your mom. I just stopped in my blog, I haven't been there since mom and re-read everything including your sweet note to me. Thank you for that. I think long good byes are much harder for us and them. I needed some encourgement this morning before work (post mother's day blues) and chose The Hope of Heaven by Greg Laurie dated February 19, 2012 at Harvest Ministries.com. It really did the trick. We will see our mom's again. They are whole as I type. I loved your words and to see her note found in her bible in her own handwriting (even kinda resembled my mom's) was wonderful. Take care. xxoo janel

Chatty Crone said...

I am late. I am so sorry about your mother. 90 years. What a great tribute to her. It is hard to lose a mother. Very hard. Hugs.

Sweet Tea said...

Just stopped by to tell you that you are missed in Blogland. Hope you're enjoying Spring!

Dee said...

Dear Nancy, it's been nearly three months since you posted your lovely remembrance of your mother. I so hope that as you grieve you are holding on to the treasured memories you have of her and they are comforting you. Peace.

Justabeachkat said...

What a beautiful tribute!
I hope you will continue to blog. I've returned to it and I'm really enjoying it again.
It's nice to keep up on Facebook, but it's just not the same.
Hugs sweet friend,
Kat

LBDDiaries said...

COME BACK, COME BACK. I miss your posts so much. I hope you are healing and adjusting to life without your precious mama but I wanted you to know I DO miss you so!