the signs...

it is time for good-byes. when mama opens her eyes for brief moments, we speak from the overflow of our hearts...

“i love you mama. i love you so much, you look so pretty.”

i have no other words, i don’t think i have the right words to say to her, to my father, to my sister or brothers.  i rub lotion into mama’s hands, i sing along with the old hymns that are playing on the CD player in the room. “marching on to zion, beautiful beautiful zion”. ironic that she is marching on as i sing.

how do i thank her for all that she gave to me. i don’t know how to express those perfect words that would say all i want to say, all i need to say. to thank her for the ways she is still giving in bringing us all together in these last few days, making us eat every meal together (my how she would have loved that) with no complaining, no pretense, just being together and sharing memories mingled with sorrow for what we know we are losing.  so i fumble through my mind,trying to find some phrases, words, Scripture, song that will somehow express what I feel, this overwhelming gratitude. gratitude for all she has been, for the legacy of love she is leaving us all. 

“The more I study gratitude, the more I have come to believe that an authentic, deeply held sense of gratefulness toward life may require some degree of contrast or deprivation. One truly appreciates a mild spring after a harsh winter, a gourmet meal following a fast….Some blessings are not known until they are lost.” {robert emmons}

then as i am leaving the hospital to go home to meet my children at the bus this afternoon, i am searching for the four letters that will tell me which way to get out of the maze that is the parking garage: E-X-I-T.

exit. you go this way to vacate the premises. are you looking for a way out of this maze? follow those four letters...

a bit ironic, so ironic that my tears begin afresh. the exit sign shows me the way out. my tears fall for release much like my mother’s body yearns for her final escape.

the waiting seems endless. we find no satisfaction for our heart’s desire here on earth, it is somewhere else beyond our grasp. it is just beyond that exit sign.

our hearts all wish to depart this world, shed this mortal coil, head towards the exit sign, grab our own personal flight home to Him and to finally know our heart’s true desire. at the end we will find that it was an exit that we were searching for all along. 

my mom searches on for her own personal exit, readies herself for the flight to glory with slower breaths and a faster heart race. she must be yearning to get there. to see Him, to let go of our hands and grab on to His. we will not rush her, we will not detain her. we will remain with her as she searches for the exit sign... only to find a most glorious Entrance on the other side.

“What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,

And I look upon His face,The One who saved me by His grace;

When He takes me by the hand

And leads me through the Promised Land,

What a day, glorious day that will be."

one day, as i find that exit sign, i know who will be waiting for me on the other side. she will be there... and i can’t wait to see how good her hair looks....