I love cemeteries. They are quiet and peaceful. I think of the people resting there and hopefully they are completely at peace.
So Christmas day, my kids and I took a walk to Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor, Washington. The walk itself was brisk, both in speed and in the weather. After a few meanderings we found the cemetery. One grave I saw was of a three-and-a-half month old child, which brought me to tears. Then, a young man of 28, obviously well loved. More tears. As I walked, a group of people across the cemetery seemed to be having a party. They had their car door open, and Christmas music came from its radio. Perhaps celebrating Christmas as they remembered a life well lived.
The final grave I looked at is pictured here. “Christ is My Hope” was the epitaph. I can honestly say that is true for me.
I just now noticed that there is no date of death, and that the birth date was in 1915, which means the person is now 98 years of age. I am glad the person has faced the reality of death and has the hope of resurrection.
Just a few days later, we visited my uncle by marriage, who is now 100 years old. He still walks an hour a day using his walker. His mind is still pretty sharp. What an amazing man.
Still, we never know when we might go.
When dreams are dead
Men lose their heart,
And, like dead men,
They fall apart.
Their souls like stone,
Bear calloused wounds,
Let not dreams die —
Still deep inside,
Quench not the fire
Of hope alive.
Let Love somehow
Heal deepest wounds.
Let Jesus’ love
Break open tombs!
Then shout, and sing,
Our voices raise!
In humble praise!
Oh, so great a Savior
Who shed His blood for me,
Who loves beyond all measure
And hung upon a tree.
Who washed the feet of creatures
With dirt and sin defiled,
Who saw in me, a sinner,
A soul to save worthwhile.
Who in most-desperate persons
Sees holiness and good;
The thief, the whore, the tax man
With Him to heaven could.
O holy One and mighty
So great a price You paid.
Endured abuse from sinners
And in the grave was laid.
Oh, mighty, glorious Savior,
Who from the grave emerged
Victorious over satan,
And new my soul has birthed.
The song of the train’s whistle
Through my window:
It’s like summer in my mind.
Smiles break out
And there’s plenty to eat,
And plenty of time.
When the flowers bloom,
Grim faces begin to relax.
Death has been defeated
One more time;
The winter’s grip is passed.
Though it’s not summer yet,
I can live it in my mind.
Mom went to intensive care tonight, on a BPAP machine (helps her to breathe). She was having spasms due to lack of oxygen to the brain, I think. I’m hoping to drive to Kaiser Hospital in Roseville tomorrow to see her. Her health has not been well and it may be that all of us kids will be with her tomorrow. My husband Tom is on a trip, so please pray that everyone is safe in their travels, that God’s will be done regarding my mother, and that we will be a comfort to her.
On Sunday, she had an about an hour of wakefulness at one point. She repeated three times, “Heaven is the only goal”. Then she blessed each one of us kids individually, with a special word for each one. I’m so grateful we had that time.
10/30/12 Tuesday (don’t know where Monday went)
Tuesday was a very good day for mom, emotionally and spiritually speaking. A person from the local church prayed with her, as they do every day. Also, a priest friend of hers called from Africa! I held the phone to her ear and she smiled. She seemed much more peaceful throughout the day. she would smile at us with love when awake, but could only speak one word now and then. Her smile lights up the room! More smiles than I’ve seen on the previous days.
Her best friend from El Cerrito visited her. Tom decided the previous day to cancel his trip and arrived a bit earlier. A harpist [part of the Kaiser Roseville chaplaincy department] came and played for about 1/2 an hour! Lots of prayer and thanks for yours.
Mom was still with us in the morning. She developed a fever and a problem with one of her IVs, but they got all that under control.
She passed away peacefully at about 3:30 p.m. A hospital chaplain had happened (?) to come in and realized that she was passing. I was out in the hallway and they yelled for me. All of her children (four of us), two spouses and two girlfriends were there. Amazing that we all got to be there.
Thank you so much for your prayers for her and our family. I am joyful in the sense that she’s now free of any suffering and with Jesus in heaven, but sad about her leaving us.
How did I come upon this place,
This foreign land of foreign tongue?
Strangers, strangers, everyone —
I don’t fit in and don’t belong.
He sent me to a foreign land
To people that I did not know
His goal I did not understand
I had to plant new roots and grow
Doubts and fears — they crowded in.
My faith was fragile, but survived.
Mistakes, delusions, sometimes sin;
And still He kept right by my side.
My soul was bitter; my way was hard.
But oft’ a glorious light broke through.
He sent companions to my side;
His friends and mine His love showed true.
And now I know His purpose great
His plan He had to orchestrate.
This life is not for foolish pride,
But that His name be magnified.
Heaven is my real home,
“The only goal,” I said three times,
And sent my children on their way
With blessings in the Father’s name.
And so life’s circle has come full:
The morning, noon, then day is done.
The life that from the darkness rose
Goes back to meet the Father’s Son.