Monday, August 24, 2009

Bed Dancing and Glimpses of Home

Friday morning, a week ago, before Mom passed away on the 17th, I was getting ready for the hospice aid to arrive when I noticed Kenny Chesney singing on TV. I'd muted the channel earlier because Mom was sleeping but since she loved Kenny, I turned it up. Mom immediately started shimmying from side to side in bed, smiling.

I asked her, "What on earth are you doing?" She just smiled that sweet smile and said, "I'm bed dancin'."

We just laughed and danced together for a minute. She was such a hoot and such fun. She always was. That's one thing I love most about the relationship we shared...we loved to laugh together, and we laughed together a lot!

View from Mom's gravesite at Georgia National Cemetery. Beautiful, isn't it? She would've loved the view. Of course, she has a much better one now.

I remember Mom awakening from a nap shortly before she passed away and, with anticipation in her eyes, she told me and Dad, "I feel like a big surprise is coming!" She giggled and wiggled her eyebrows. We told her, "Well, there is a big surprise coming." "When is it coming?" she asked. We said, "If we told you that then it wouldn't be a surprise."

I've no doubt that the anticipation she was feeling was for her forever home. God was drawing her closer to Him even as she was drifting farther away from us.

As my daughter and I drove back to Nashville on Saturday afternoon, I snapped this picture as we neared our turnoff from the highway toward home. Love the sunlight steaming down.

I want to share a bit of advice that helped me so much in recent weeks and months as I helped care for Mom (and that might help you, too, if you're in a similar situation as I've been): The person dying gets to choose.

Two friends who had already lost their moms, who have walked this particular road of cancer with a parent, told me that early on and I took it to heart, and it made such a difference in the final weeks and days. It gave me a peace and a "release" in that my role was to aid Mom in her journey that God was leading her on, not to help determine the path she would take. God was already working in her to lead her steps on that particular path. My role became to help her take those steps, and to do so quite literally when she could no longer walk on her own.

Another photograph taken moments later before my daughter and I arrived home.

I treasure every moment with Mom, every overnight hospital stay, every "early wee hours of the morning" chats when she couldn't sleep and we'd sit up and talk. Every one of those times is written on my heart and has changed me and my view of this life, and I think for the better. When my time comes to cross over from this life to the next, I'll do a better job of it because of watching Mom go before me.

Mom's favorite book of mine was Remembered, and there's a passage from that book that she and I read together most recently. I had no idea, when writing it at the time, how closely it would describe my feelings right now:

"Death is but a pause, not an ending. When the lungs finally empty of air and begin to fill with the sweetness of heaven's breath, one will realize in that moment that though they have existed before, only in that moment will they truly have begun to live."

Mom has truly begun to live, and though I miss her in a profound way, and will for the rest of my life here, I'm thrilled for her and for where she is now, and for the day I'll join her there.

Thanks, everyone, for your emails and cards. My inbox and mail box overflows, and your prayers and support are making such a difference in the day-to-day. Bless you!

Much love...


  1. What an awesome post, Tammy! I can see that God is answering my prayers for you. I love you, Susanne B.

  2. Beautiful pictures and beautiful words.

    My MIL said after the funeral for my FIL: "Every time I think about where he is, it makes me smile." What a blessed reassurance is the fact that they are now truly living with their new healed bodies!

    Hugs and blessings to you!

  3. Your earthly time with your mother may have ended, but the love has not ceased. I find past tense so discouraging when it comes to death- don't you? You may not see your mom's love, but you will always know it's there, riding on the very wind. I looked at a picture just today I was hanging of my grandfather (now with your mother with Jesus) and his smiling face as he leaned over my car seat. He may not be here with me, but I know he still loves me, death could never change that. Something to watch when you are feeling up to it, "A Walk to Remember" it's hard and tough to watch, but it speaks from a deep and abiding love. A fair warning though- there is quite a bit of language, but it's profound message rings true of loss- and love.

    God is with you, continue to embrace Him and He will guide you down this difficult trail.

  4. Beautiful Tammy. Though this time is painful, the experience and closeness you shared with your mom will add a deep layer of richness to your life. I can see it already has. With love, entwined . . .

  5. Tammy,
    How very sweet and precious...may the Lord continue to bless and keep you as you go through this time. You have such precious memories, I grieve with you, but I also rejoice with you in the assurance that your Mom has beheld the precious face of our Lord Jesus.

  6. Amen to all, and blessings, friends, for walking this road with me. We have so much to look forward to!

  7. Tammy, that passage from Remembered takes my breath away. So very true. It's hard to even believe your mom is gone from this earth, but oh the joy she knows now! Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend.

  8. Thank you for sharing that with us, Tammy. Your recent walk in life has taken you through a new portal--one that will only increase your faith and help you on your journey. Blessings & love to you, dear friend.

  9. Thank you for sharing these thoughts (and wonderful pictures!) with us, Tammy. You are an inspiration to so many, I am sure. ~ Something I've learned now that both of my precious Parents reside in they still live on and "talk" to me in my heart! So often I can just "hear" what they're saying to me in a certain situation, and it gives me a special warmth and keeps them ever close to me while I remain on this earth. ~ REMEMBERED is my very favorite of your books, too, and that passage you shared is so true. ~ May you feel comfort and peace.... Much Love, Patti Jo

  10. Deb, thanks for all your work on Remembered, babe. You're the best writing partner a gal could have. Debbie, amen to having a new perspective on life. And the afterlife. And Patti Jo, I'm feeling that comfort and peace, lady.

    Thanks, friends.


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