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MAMA'S LAST DAYS

She was a tough Kansas farm girl rendered frail by cancer. Her daughter seized the chance to lavis attention on her, learn that love is an action word that honors the King of love.

“You’d better come now.” My sister’s phone call was expected. My precious, 86 year-old mama had approached the end of her fight with cancer.

Upon my arrival, I hugged my sister, her weary smile betrayed exhaustion and stress. “How long do you think she has?” I asked, dreading the answer.

“Her body is shutting down, one system at a time. There is no way to know how long that will take. It could be a couple of days, or a couple of weeks,” my sister said, her eyes watery.

“I want you to know, I’m here for both of you. Just show me what to do, I know you’re spent. I’m going to be with mama until the end.” With heavy heart, I hugged my dear sister again, aching to relieve her burden.

I had visited Mama every couple of months, but it still surprised me to see how she seemed to shrink with each visit. Tears poured from my eyes as I thanked God for this one last chance to hold my mama and love on her. Tiny and fragile, she looked at me with faded gray eyes and said, “You’ll always be my baby.”

I read to her, sang to her, rubbed lotion into her leathery skin, wrote letters for her, washed her hair, fluffed pillows, and played vintage records.

I’m a crier. Everyone knows it. Not Mama, though. She was a tough, Kansas farm girl. Having grown up in the dust bowl, she survived cricket plagues, watched her own mama die at age 15 and out-lived her six siblings. She raised three of five children alone while my dad was gone for years fighting overseas.

For the next three weeks, I sat with Mama. I gave her morphine as her pain increased. I kept meticulous track of her medications. I read to her, sang to her, and rubbed lotion into her leathery skin. I wrote letters for her, administered sponge baths, washed her hair, fluffed pillows, and played vintage records. I sat at her feet and listened to old stories—sometimes a jumble of bits and pieces I couldn’t quite put together.

Time with my mama on this earth was quickly drawing to a close. I wanted to lavish upon her every bit of the 48 years-worth of love she’d showered on me. I poured myself out in prayer and song as I cared for this diminutive, frail woman who’d given me birth, kissed my boo-boos, spanked my bottom and helped me navigate the tangled paths of life.

I’m reminded of a woman who lavished love upon Jesus in the best way she knew how (Luke 7:36-38). She washed His feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair. She then poured out a bottle of very expensive perfume, drenching his feet. She could’ve sold that bottle of perfume for enough money to move away and start a new life. Instead, this act became a manifestation of her love for the Savior.

Why does it take losing someone to realize how precious they’ve always been to us? In the midst of the mundane, do I show my love to the One I love most? Is there something special I can do to bring joy to my Savior today? Can my love for Him be recognized by what others see in my life? I want to lavish my love upon Jesus. I want to find ways to show Him the depths of my love. We aren’t given a prognosis of how many days we have left on this earth, so let’s begin today to find ways in our daily life to lavish our love upon Him.

Kendy Pearson resides in Dundee, OR

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