My dad passed away in January of 1991 after a myriad of medical problems, problems that plagued him for many years. When he was gone, we never expected my mom to live for very long, primarily since they had been married for so many years and like so many, didn't really have an identity separate from one another.
Surprisingly, mom lived another ten years and not pleasant years, for the most part, having had a long battle with manic depression. All the drugs and therapies were ineffective and she would suffer long years, sometimes, with the depressive lows of this insidious illness. This was the pattern of her depression, short highs and long lows. I'm convinced that the only way we, as a family, could deal with this, was with the strength of our faith and the fact that my sister and I were there every day, caring for her and leaning on each other.
Our constant prayer was that when it was time for her to leave us it would be during one of her highs, when she was, by her description, "feeling good!" Without going into any detail, suffice it to say, our prayers were answered. She died in her sleep, at home, and with all of us able to say our final goodbyes. We couldn't have asked for more.
This, by the way, is not a sad accounting of events, though it is sad to lose a parent at any time in our lives, but rather a memory of a loving family and the matriarch who will always be remembered for the wonderful person, mother and grandmother she was. The first Christmas that we spent without her I wrote a poem written as if penned by her hand.
CHRISTMAS TIME IN HEAVEN
By Patty Lynn
It’s Christmas time in Heaven, your dad and I are fine,
No, that’s an understatement, we’d have to say, Divine!
Please don’t be sad this Christmas, because I can’t be there.
I live within your hearts, you see, that bond we’ll always share.
I wish I had the words to tell the wonder of this place,
But words are insufficient when I look into God's face.
The ravages of age are gone, I feel so Heavenly,
And thank you all for making life the best that it could be.
I’m fin’lly here with daddy, I missed him so, you know,
And now I have Eternity and daddy’s hand to hold.
Yes, we’ll be watching each of you as day to day you strive…
To live your lives in Jesus name. In Him may you abide.
And when it’s time for you to come, we’ll both be waiting here...
To greet you as you reach the gate, so please, don’t shed a tear.
Remember all the moments when we laughed and sometimes cried.
You made my earthly life complete, despite a bumpy ride.
I know the last few years were rough; I took a lot from you,
But love like yours was Heaven sent; now I send mine to you.
So when you hear the church bells chime proclaiming Jesus’ birth,
Remember me but fleetingly; I’m no more of the earth.
I’m here in raiment sparkling white with daddy by my side.
I live a most Eternal life, in Him I’m glorified!
I send you all my wishes for health and happiness.
You are my precious children, how could I wish for less.
It’s Christmas time in Heaven, God bless you ev’ryone.
My journey there is over, a heavely home I've won.
Live ev’ry day as if your last, stay confident and strong…
Until at last we meet again to sing a Christmas Song.