Mother ended up passing away in her sleep just 2 days after we were told she had no more than 72 hours to live (The Roller-Coaster Continues). But here’s an amazing thing: I knew that she’d died even before I got the phone call!
The same thing happened as when Jeffrey’s twin Bryan passed away almost 10 years prior. At that time, the exact moment Bryan peacefully took his last breath, both baby Jeffrey and our 2 year-old son Matthew woke up (Peacefully Passing Into God’s Arms) in the middle of the night – Matthew sitting straight up in his bed. We had been spending the night at the fragile care house where baby Bryan was living out his last days.
And now, 10 years later – at about 4:20 a.m. – I all of a sudden heard Jeffrey yell out from his room – but he had been sound asleep! Right after hearing him yell, our phone rang, and hospice informed me that mother had passed away at 4:18 a.m. They said it was very peaceful, for which I was thankful.
But then things went wack-o…
Mother had previously arranged with the University of Washington to have her body donated for science, and she’d been adamant that her wishes be followed. We all knew about this, as well as hospice and the staff at the assisted living center.
Upon hearing of mother’s passing, I immediately called my step-dad Bill, and we met over at mom’s apartment. Sonja and her husband were rushing back from vacation.
Hospice had told us that they’d called the UW upon mother’s death, and they had agreed to not come and pick up the body until we gave the okay.
So after Bill and I spent a few moments with mother, I went home to rest a bit and find out if either Gary or Jeffrey wanted to come pay their last respects.
Then – a little before 11:00 a.m. – the assisted living center called and said they’d like the body picked up prior to starting their festivities that day as they had a big Norwegian Independence Day celebration planned at 1:00 p.m. As I heard that I found it ironic that mother had died on that day as she was Norwegian (Dad)!
Gary had answered the phone when they called, and he told them they needed to wait as Sonja was traveling back from vacation and wanted to view her mother. Okay, they said, no problem.
Meanwhile, little Jeffrey had stated that he wanted to go say good-bye to his grandma, so I had jumped in the shower before taking him over there.
However just a short time after Gary had spoken with the assisted living center, Bill called back all panicked, saying that the UW had just come and removed mother’s body!!!
I went ballistic…
I ran out of the house with my hair dripping wet and stormed up to mother’s apartment. The first nurse I saw I laid into: Who gave permission for mom’s body to be taken away?
All of a sudden I noticed people cracking open their apartment doors to find out who the lunatic was, yelling and screaming out in the hallway.
Finally I was told it was the director of the facility.
I WANT TO SEE HIM RIGHT NOW!
As the nurse went scurrying off, I went back into mother’s now vacant room to call the UW, telling them that they needed to bring the body back immediately! It was then that sweet little Anna that I had confided in previously at the facility came softly into the room (Time To Move Mom Into A Home), and started holding my hand… I was so thankful for her support.
Wrapping up this fiasco, the UW did actually return mother’s body to her room, and then as I started freaking out about her being all zipped up in a body bag, unzipped and unwrapped her face so that I could see her.
Just then Gary came with little Jeffrey. I wasn’t sure what to do! How would he react to seeing his grandma lying there like that?
But I was blown away…
Jeffrey – even though sobbing uncontrollably, wheeled his chair right up to her, and began stroking her face. To see his sweet inner strength was something I’ll never forget.
And God had an enormous blessing waiting for us. When my sister got home from her trip, there was a message on her answering machine. It was from the hospice pastor!
He relayed to Sonja that in his chats with mother she’d often talked to him about her faith, but that she didn’t want Sonja or I to know. However, the pastor said mother had been asking him many questions, and it was his belief that mother had made a true commitment to Jesus Christ before she died…
And this is what we continue to hold onto – the grace, love and mercy that can only come through Jesus. Never give up hope!