Recently I observed an encounter that dramatically impacted my life. The scene, between my wife and her mother, took place in a retirement home near Dallas, TX. As I describe this event, please remember this: say what you need to say, because one day you may not be able to say it.
Dr. Michele and I walked in a room where her mother lay. Her mother has suffered for over 15 years with debilitating conditions, both physically and mentally. I cannot imagine being in that position myself and often wondered the thoughts of this woman as she lay there not able to walk. Each time we went to visit, the topic of conversation was basically the same… Do you know who this is? How are you? I love you. The visits were obviously always a highlight even though they may not have been remembered long. I reassured my wife these visits, as difficult as it can be, were well worth the effort. We routinely ended each visit in prayer, thanking God for the opportunity of the moment and asking for His peace in the situation.
This particular visit, however, was different. There had been much weight loss since the last time. There was a different feel in the air. The conversation began as was custom but quickly changed tone after only a few minutes. I watched my wife began to tear up as she held her mother. Her mother became very lucid and the conversation at once seemed very clear between the two. There were words of thankfulness and gratitude as well as looks of mutual love and respect. I sat motionless to observe this moment. My wife’s sweet mother, unwavering in her faith, seemed to be saying ‘goodbye’ in her special way.
For me, this moment caused a pause in time. I thought how many times I had failed to recognized moments like this in my own life. As the meeting drew to a close, the customary prayer was offered. I held my visibly shaken wife’s hand as we exited the building down the long hallway. My wife looked at me and said, “I know that is the last time I will see my mom alive. I can see it in her eyes.” What a powerful statement!
Just a few days later, sweet Sara left this planet and changed addresses to eternally reside in the kingdom of Heaven. Say what you need to say. Never take for granted the moments or people. Every moment deserves your greatest and best attention because they will NEVER repeat themselves.
I offer this post in honor of my wife, Dr. Michele and her mother Sara.
Written By: Dr. Mark Sherwood