Menu Close

What I did with my summer 1: Mom’s Homegoing


Well, this has been a remarkable five weeks. I thought it would be good to share a more or less chronological account of ‘what I did this summer’ for those who may not have heard the details – and for my own benefit.  I’m going to structure this as several chapters, each a separate blog entry.

I was hoping to put a number of pictures with each chapter, but for the sake of getting this done before it gets too far in the past, I’m going to leave that for the end.

Chapter 1: Mom’s Homegoing

It began, of course, with the decline and passing of my Mom.  She had reached a certain level of contentment at the nursing home, but continued to decline mentally, and eventually physically. She began to lose the ability to chew, swallow or grasp.

On June 17th, Mom had a brief black-out, and it was discovered that her blood oxygen was down to 70%.  This may have been congestive heart failure or a heart incident of some kind, but the immediate diagnosis was bronchitis and aspiration pneumonia. Mom responded well to antibiotics for a few days, but then continued to refuse to eat, even with help, even after that round of antibiotics was complete. She became almost completely unresponsive to the world around her.

At this point Gail and I guessed that Mom was in a final decline. But I misjudged how steep that decline might be and left on Tuesday, June 24th for the Evangelical Free Church of America National Conference in St. Louis. My plan was to be there for only three days.  But on Wednesday, June 25th, Mom had another incident. Though now unable to talk and laboring to breath, she had obvious significant chest pain and nausea, possibly brought on by another major heart incident.

So I was in St. Louis, and Gail had to go through that very difficult day without me.  Fortunately at the end of the day hospice stepped in and the use of morphine provided significant relief from the pain. After a short time on morphine Mom no longer needed it and slept peacefully.  Early in the morning on June 26th, about 3:30 a.m., Gail got a call from the nursing home indicating that Mom was slipping away.  Gail went to her bedside, where she seemed to be at peace, and read Scripture to her for several hours. At about 8:00 a.m. she went to be with the Lord.

Fortunately, despite the fact that I didn’t think anything would happen while I was gone, I had taken the time to say a prayerful good-bye to Mom before I left for St. Louis.  So as Gail and I talked to by phone several times that morning I was relatively at peace with Mom’s passing.  At the conference, we voted that morning on the new statement of faith. I stayed until the vote was counted (it passed), and then left and caught an afternoon flight to Houston, so that I could be with my family that evening.
My focus over the next several days was the preparation of a memorial service for Mom which was held on Tuesday, July 1.  I really wanted to share are Mom’s life, but even more to share a word from the Lord which would show how he was glorified through her life.  On Saturday morning as I was thinking and praying about this I felt like the Lord spoke to me to the effect that Mom’s ordinary life made her a trophy of his grace.

The next several days were spent planning the next several weeks.  We were waiting for Abbie to have her baby, and she was already overdue.  But I knew that I needed to coat at Dallas on July 6 because I was starting a doctor of ministry course at the seminary on July 7.  Gail, of course, wanted to be there when the baby was born and was scheduled to drive to Dallas as soon as Abbie went into labor.  Then, after my week in Dallas was over we would have to go to Connecticut to inter Mom’s remains and then leave on our family vacation.  But we’ll have to save those stories for the following chapters.