Our lives with little Jeffrey continued on, and sometimes we just felt as if we were on a roller-coaster. We’d have a great day thinking we saw some great progress in his little body, but then would come another day filled with sorrow as you watched other kids his age able to do so much more. As a parent, it was just so hard to watch.
To top it off, one day we got a call from Gary’s sister Linda who was now living in Virginia. As I mentioned in my post Light Shines Through the Darkness, Linda had been such a steady rock for us as we planned our son Matthew’s memorial service.
Linda had been struggling with many health issues during the previous years – her latest being kidney failure. I was home when she called one day. She told me she was in the hospital, her kidneys were shutting down, and she had decided to stop all medications, and wanted to go home to live out her last days. How long did she have? The doctors told her without continuing dialysis and medication she would only last 1 more week.
Gary and I decided we needed to fly out to see her before she died. My sister graciously took Jeffrey, and Gary and I flew out about a day later. We reserved a hotel room close to their home since Gary didn’t think he could stay 24/7 with her. His emotions were pulled as tight as they could be pulled.
We arrived, and a couple days later Linda’s health began to go downhill rapidly. We were happy to find out that Linda and her husband Ken had recently joined a small church close by. One evening their minister came to visit.
I personally had been struggling for quite sometime about Linda’s faith – did she indeed know Jesus? Gary seemed to think so, but sometimes Linda would start talking about all sorts of New Agey things, and I just wasn’t so sure.
So this evening with the minister, I decided to ask a couple questions about Linda’s faith.
When Linda had dozed off for a minute, I motioned for the minister, Gary and his brother Sonny to come into the kitchen. I came right out and asked the minister if she believed Linda had made a true confession of faith to Jesus.
The minister looked straight at us and said: Yes, I do believe that Linda will be all right. And besides, isn’t it nice to know that when we all get to heaven, we’ll have a second chance to ask for forgiveness of our sins and change our minds?
I was so shocked I couldn’t even respond – as were Gary and Sonny. We all just stood there speechless for a few minutes.
My downheartedness intensified the next day when one of their cousins came by to visit. I overheard her tell Linda that her and all the other Hindus in their church were praying for her. Linda thanked her profusely. Then a short time later, Linda told all of us that once she got to heaven, she was going to sit on a rain cloud and have it rain continually over the head of a certain individual. WHAT???
I offered to spend a night with her so that her husband could try and get some rest. I dozed on and off on the couch by her bed in case she woke up and needed anything.
At one point she did wake up, and told me she needed to use the bathroom. I helped her get on and off the toilet, and then got her tucked back into bed. She seemed to be pretty coherent, and in a good mood, so I felt that this was the moment I had been waiting for to ask her some pointed questions.
I started off vague, just asking about her faith in general. She told me that when she was a young girl she heard about a tent meeting being held in their small town. She asked her mother if she could go, and was given permission to attend.
She told me it was there that the message of salvation was preached, and at the end of the service she went up front to pray for Jesus to enter her heart. She told me she knew at that point that she was saved. She shared that afterwards, every Sunday she would get on a bus by herself and travel to attend church.
My heart started leaping for joy. This was the moment that I had been praying for, and was thankful that the Lord had given me the opportunity to find out where she stood in her faith.
I believe in my heart that right now she’s up in heaven with our boys, and all the other loved ones who have passed on before us. Thank you, Father!
Linda was still alive when we flew home, and we were told she passed away about a week later. How thankful we were for the opportunity that God gave us to go and be with her before her earthly death.