It is very hard to lose a parent, but to lose one near a holiday is doubly hard. Losing my mother five days before Mother’s Day, 2003 could have been devastating for me, except for what happened right after her death.
My mother had been in declining health for some time due to a debilitating lung disease known as bronchiectasis. This disease causes the airways of the lungs to become abnormally enlarged and stretched. They lose the capability to get rid of mucus, which in turn creates a haven for bacterial growth. The result is increased lung infections. Mother fought a good fight, and, with the help of good doctors and antibiotics, managed to keep the disease at bay for many years. Just six months before her death, though, she was hospitalized with pneumonia. Even though her health was precarious, she managed to claim victory over this illness one more time and return home.
Mother was a prayer warrior, and all of her children and grandchildren knew whom to turn to for prayer when there was a need in their lives. If I faced fog on the road during my morning commute to work, I could be sure my mother had prayed for my safety when she looked out her window that morning. I will never know on this earth how many times my mother interceded for me in prayer, and I believe untold times her prayers were answered. So on that warm morning in May when God called her home, just five days before Mother’s Day, I had questions, like “Who will pray for me now?” and “God, why did you take her just before Mother’s Day?”
As for the question of who would pray for me, I have learned in the last few years since my mother’s death that there are many people that pray for me on a regular basis. I have aunts, cousins, nieces, and my sister among others, all who take my name to the Lord in prayer for safety, healing, and any other problem that might be plaguing me at any given time. We don’t have to live on earth alone, there are prayer warriors coming before the Throne of God at all given hours of the day or night. I’m sure there are people praying for me—and you—that we don’t even know about. Likewise, I also pray for others. Sometimes I know these people and their needs, and other times I just feel a little nudge from God or the Holy Spirit to say a little prayer for someone. When I wake up at night and can’t sleep, I usually pray for others, starting with my family and their immediate needs and working down to those names God gives me to pray for.
As to the question of why I was not allowed to have one more Mother’s Day with my mother—God had an answer for that, too. I heard Him speak to me in my spirit shortly after Mother’s funeral, with the words “Would you rather Me to have taken her six months ago instead?” That is when I realized that every day we had with her those last months was a precious gift. The date the previous fall, when she was so sick and in the hospital with pneumonia, was as far removed on the calendar from Mother’s Day as was possible. Instead of taking her then, though, God had given us extra time with her, and allowed her to reach a milestone of 90 years of age. His timing was not our timing. There was “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
I can honestly say it no longer bothers me to think about losing her so close to Mother’s Day. Instead, I remember that gift of extra time we had with her. I realized something else also: His gift to my mother was letting her spend that Mother’s Day—and the rest of eternity—in Heaven with her mother.