White-knuckle gripping the steering wheel, I battled my way down Highway 316 during the early morning hours of March 3, 2012. I felt more like a boat captain fighting against the pounding waves of an angry sea than a bleary-eyed, vulnerable son trying to get to his dying mom’s bedside.
I’d made that drive to Athens many times before, but never in, or under, conditions like this. The winds howled and pushed from all sides. The violent rain flooded both lanes making it almost impossible to see the lines on the pavement. The unrelenting storm raged and pressed the entire 30+ mile length of the trip. But as I pulled into the dark drive of St. Mary’s Hospice, it suddenly stopped. The contrast of the eery quiet and calm are still vivid in my mind.
In her final moments on this earth, tears began to roll down my mom’s cheeks. As the attending nurse confidently assured us she wasn’t in any pain, like an involuntary reflex, I proclaimed to the room that they weren’t tears of pain or sadness, but of pure, heavenly happiness. Happy tears. She was seeing Jesus face-to-face. And she was home.
Established in 1955, today would have been my mom’s 64th birthday.
But even before I was born, God chose me and covered me with His marvelous grace. Then it pleased Him to reveal his Son to me, so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus.[Galatians 1:15-16]
On her birthday, because of Jesus, I proclaim and celebrate that she’s home – and though we are separated temporarily by the barrier of this earth, I know that we’ll be reunited.
I certainly miss my mom, but it’s not on her birthday, or Mother’s Day, that I miss her the most. It’s in the random, mundane moments of life when I catch myself wanting to ask her a question or recalling a funny memory. However, I no longer grieve like someone who has no hope.
Happy Birthday and Happy tears, Mama.