Monday, January 9, 2012

Gone from our sight

My beautiful mother passed away quietly in the early morning hours of December 29, my sister, Christine, taking her turn by her side.

The ensuing days are a bit of a blur. Arrangements were made, things somehow got done. Words of comfort and the love of family and friends surrounded us and kept us going.

My mother was a nurturer of relationships far and wide. And so from as far away as Denmark, Sweden and Norway, we heard from cousins and friends, providing flowers, cards, and phone calls, sharing memories of her many visits to her ancestral homeland along with words of kindness, sympathy and cheer.

My nephew, Josh, read the following verse, written by Henry Van Dyke, at the funeral service. It was found in a booklet the hospice team provided for us. It brought us comfort then and now, these days of mourning, reminding us that she is gone only from our sight. She lives on in our hearts and in all we do as her children.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then, someone at my side says,

"There, she is gone."   Gone where? Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone," there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
"Here she comes!"

And so heaven welcomed her that wintry morning, and we rejoiced at her homecoming. Only sad for us, not for her. She is exactly where she wanted to be, in the arms of Jesus. She kept her eyes on her goal those eight long days at the hospital, until the time was just right.

Never wavering. Never doubting. Nothing left undone, nothing left unsaid, in this world.

So we say, "So long for now, Mom."  But just for now.