SK and I drove across the state today. We pulled into our western Washington driveway about 3 PM, were greeted by dogs with tennis balls in their mouths, trying to jump into our laps in the car, lick us, and bark all at once.
Yesterday, sitting at lunch, my niece said, "You know what will happen? You'll get all the way home and that's when she'll die." Well, it turns out that my very tall, newly-married niece is also prophetic. We should have put her powers to work several days ago...but, apparently she wasn't feeling it then. She was, however, absolutely right about Mom's exact time of departure from this earth and home-going to heaven. Just as those tennis-ball toting dogs were jumping in glee at SK and me, the angels in Heaven were doing the same with Mom, to welcome her. Yes, just after 3 PM, Mom finally went home.
When I said goodbye to her last night, I told her I'd see her in God's throne room, but until then, to worship well for me, and, to say hi to Daddy for me. I patted her very dry forehead and kissed it softly, just as RE and BB and I had done every time we left her for two weeks. Last night, of course, I knew I'd never see her on this earth again. But what I rejoice in as I write this is that the next time I see my mother, she will be complete. Not merely back to the full-voiced, clear-minded woman she was at the height of her brain-power on earth, but to the person God always intended her to be before the human frailties, the insecurities, fears and worries overwhelmed her essential made-in-the-image-of-God self. I wonder who she'll be. I wonder what a wonderful world she's discovering this day in paradise with God, her parents, my dad and the host.
And, mostly, tonight, as tears fall, I keep repeating an old spiritual (and my middle sister tells me it's exactly what's been running through her mind as well): 'Free at last, Free at last, thank God Almighty, [she's] free at last."