Paradox

My mother passed away today.

At 12:20pm, with my dad by her side, her labored breathing ceased, and God spared her yet another second of pain. I had been by her side, in her bedroom, only minutes earlier, stroking her arm, pressing a cold, wet wash cloth to her forehead, telling her how much I loved her and assuring her that God loves her too. That it was OK to go.

These last few days have made it clear that her time was coming, that she was eager for it to come. “I don’t understand why it’s taking so long,” she said to me on Sunday afternoon. Earlier, she recounted to me and my dad a conversation she’d had with my youngest brother a couple weeks ago, when she said she had lived a full life and she was ready to go. She wanted to be sure we weren’t doing anything to prolong her life. We assured her that we weren’t; we were only doing what we could to make her as comfortable as possible.

Hospice is an amazing organization. What a blessing.

So this afternoon, as I was unloading the dishwasher in my parents’ kitchen, my mother’s life ended. This particular chapter of it, anyway. And I am amazed, even though I’ve heard about this from so many others, by the overwhelming peace and relief I’m experiencing in the midst of the profound sadness. It is one of so many paradoxes that comes with saying goodbye to someone who wasn’t really here anymore anyway.

God bless you, Mom. I love you so much, and so does God.

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