I have never been in the room with someone as they left their life on earth until that moment last Friday. I woke up at 4am, ready to go spend the day with my mom and mawmaw, not exactly knowing that day would be her very last. As I laid in bed, trying to go back to sleep and thinking about her, Proverbs 31 kept coming to my mind. I read it as I tried to go back to sleep. Then I started texting my mom to ask how the night had been. My mom had stayed by her bedside all the night, since my mawmaw had asked to not be alone in one of their last conversations. She then had been unresponsive, yet my mom kept her promise and did not leave her alone from that time on.
If there was a heartache one could endure on earth, my Mawmaw saw it. As an adopted child in the 1920s/30s, she had a storybook bad experience with stepparents, both of whom ended up dying at different times. The loss of not knowing her parents, knowing she was adopted, then being mistreated would be a heavy enough load for many. She married at 16, had three children, then endured one of a mother's most horrid nightmares by losing a child at the age of seven. I know that she must be rejoicing and enjoying that reunion more than any other one possible! She also lost her husband as one family member said "in the prime of their lives." Truly, to lose your helper and love in your 40s must have been difficult! She never remarried, though good opportunity presented itself. She faced, survived, and lived a long time after having colon cancer in her 80s! Alzheimer's set in during the last few years, and her health deteriorated, though she only lived in an assisted living home for the last two years...from February 2011-now.
In spite of all she endured during her long life, the only way you would know most of it, is if a family member shared. She was definitely not one of those people to spill their troubles and woes upon your first meeting her. She became the exact opposite kind of mother than the kind she had (from what I've heard), and well, especially to us grandchildren, she was really good at spoiling children! She cared so much for everyone and didn't want anyone to ever "go to any trouble" for her. She considered herself the least, so I know she is being rewarded in heaven for her humility and meekness, with treatment that only God's children will ever enjoy.
When the doctor did the last exam, then informed the family that her time would be coming soon. "Just a couple of hours," it was like a dream. Her two daughters (my mom and aunt), and her son (my uncle), each took time to sit with her and say any final words and thoughts. My mawmaw passed with my mom holding her hand and singing along to an old gospel song: "I Will Meet You in the Morning." It was peaceful, poetic, and sweet.
Before that, when they let me have a moment with her, I rubbed her shoulder and got out my iPhone...and opened up the Bible app that I'd read that morning. It was still open to Proverbs 31. My mawmaw read the Bible. She read the Bible all the time...as evidenced by the worn out and falling apart Bible we displayed at her funeral. I decided to read these words to her in our last sit down together on this earth. I don't know if she could hear me, but I did try to read them loud enough:
[b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I have done many studies of Proverbs 31, but for some reason many of them stop at the next to last verse. So when I read this last Friday, the last verse really caught my eye.
We will certainly honor her for all she has done, and will make sure that she receives much praise at our city gates...when we sit with our family and children, they will hear us praise their grandmother for the wonderful woman that she was. And as much as she wouldn't let us do for her or give to her on this earth, she now can't refuse the reward she had coming, she can't say no to Jesus! ha ha!