Okay, okay – I ended up telling Jeffrey that grandma did tell me she believed in Jesus, even though I wasn’t convinced (Time Ticks Away). Who was I to hold out on my precious little boy who loved his grandma so much?
Needless to say Jeffrey was so excited, and that warmed my heart…
However, I had shared my conversations with mother to my sister Sonja, so when we were over there a couple days later Sonja asked mother if she could read to her a couple of Bible passages. The “old” mother came back out, and she said to go ahead, but nothing was going to change what she believed.
Sonja read a couple verses in John about Jesus being the only way to God, and then ended up by reading Psalm 34. As I watched mother throughout this time I didn’t see anything in her that made me believe she had made a true commitment. Only You know for sure, Lord…
One day the social worker called to let us know that they believed mother’s last days on this earth were rapidly approaching. We were told that when a person nears the end of life, they begin to get the “smell of death.” She said you can notice this from their breath, which starts to smell kind of “sweet/sickly.”
The hospice worker continued to explain that near the end people tend to slip into a type of coma where they’ll appear to be totally “out” for awhile, but during that time they can still hear everything that goes on around them – they just can’t acknowledge anything. I wasn’t sure exactly what that all meant, but it was breaking my heart.
How long did they think she had left? Days to perhaps a couple of weeks…
They upped mother’s morphine dosage because of her pain, and then we all waited as she did, indeed, appear to drift in and out of a coma for a few days.
But then what happened? All of a sudden she appeared to get back to her old self – even getting out of bed and traipsing around her apartment!
We weren’t sure what to make of all this, except that we needed to remember that everything was in God’s control.
Sonja and her husband had scheduled a quick vacation months ago, and after speaking with the hospice workers, everyone decided it should be okay to go. If anything happened, they would come home as soon as possible.
But then just about a day after they left mother took a serious turn for the worse, and I was told that they were giving her only about 72 hours to live. I reminded the gal of the last time they’d told us the same thing, but this time she really believed it was close because they were now having to give her morphine every 2 hours.
Another interesting thing that the hospice worker told me was that she’d been talking to mother just the day prior, and she had told mom that she would be going to heaven soon. All of a sudden mother screamed at her NO!!!! The hospice worker tried to calm her, but it didn’t seem to help.
After hearing all this, I went over to her apartment to sit with her. As she slept I started reading through the “23rd Psalm” booklet the hospice pastor had left with her. However after reading through it, I wasn’t convinced the pastor knew the Lord either! Sonja had spoken to him briefly before leaving on their trip, and he had told her he was kind of a “Baptist/Methodist/Catholic.” What did that mean?
My sister had questioned him over the phone, asking him if he felt Jesus was the only way to heaven, and he told her he didn’t want to push one way over the other. GREAT…
As I sat there I remembered what the hospice worker had told us previously about how even when people appear to be non-responsive they can still hear everything being said around them. So I began to read through Psalm 23, as well as a beautiful poem I had pulled from one of Billy Graham’s Decision magazines about how Jesus is the “potter,” and that even though others might see us as worthless, He sees us as having abundant worth.
When I was finished, I kneeled over, took her hand, and told her I hoped she had the peace of Jesus in her heart. But even if not, she could still have it, because even though she might be unable to say it, Jesus can still hear her. I then slowly recanted The Sinner’s Prayer out loud and prayed that she’d respond.
I left that evening in tears, knowing that I must trust God and release her to Him…