Last Wednesday, December 9 at about 2:30 pm, God granted Mama's wish to spend Christmas at Home with Dad.
As she peacefully napped in her recliner after eating lunch, Jesus quietly picked her up and escorted her to Heaven.
Even though Mama had been in very frail health for awhile, I was stunned to receive the phone call...but yet relieved and thankful that her suffering on earth is now over and she is whole, healthy, and vibrant once again, reunited with the love of her life.
This was their last Christmas together, in 2014. Dad was in the throes of Alzheimer's and Mama was struggling to care for him. I think back on those months...Mama shielded us from so much, we had no idea what she was truly going through.
When I snapped this photo, none of us had any idea it would be their last Christmas together, and in June 2015 God called Dad Home.
For the past 5 years, Mama carried on as best she could without her husband of 60 years by her side. I know she was lonely at times, and as much as we tried to fill in the gaps none of us could fill the void Dad's passing left behind.
Eventually, it became obvious to us that Mama could no longer live alone in the farmhouse. In May 2019, although reluctant to leave her home of 60+ years, she knew it was time and moved into a senior living apartment, and after months of cleaning out the stuff of those 60+ years, in March of this year we helped her sell her home.
Mama was happy at Forest Ridge, especially enjoying the social aspect. This photo was taken this past February 10 on her 84th birthday, her final birthday celebration on earth.
The very day after we closed on the sale, Mama fell in her apartment, breaking her right upper arm and setting into motion a dizzying sequence of catastrophic events. Between March 31 and November 24, a span of 8 months, Mama had 10 significant falls resulting in fractures to both arms, both hips (resulting in 2 separate surgeries and hospital stays), and her pelvis, as well as multiple contusions, skin tears, cuts, and horrible bruising. She was determined to get up on her own and do things her way, even when her ability to do so was long gone, and although the nursing home staff tried they could not prevent her from continually falling, a source of a lot of frustration for us.
Mama kept bouncing back from each injury, but the emotional trauma accumulated and in the end just was too much for her tired body to overcome.
The hardest part for us was not being able to be with her because of the Covid restrictions. When we had the opportunities, we took full advantage of them and broke a few contact rules along the way. Although Mama did not understand all surrounding the pandemic craziness, she was always very compliant and agreeable and completely trusted our decisions, for which we were very grateful.
Mama did not beg to leave the nursing home, but she did often ask when was she going home. We questioned her about which "home" she was talking about...North Carolina, the farmhouse, her apartment at Forest Ridge? She'd give us this look like we were nuts and then said, "No. Home." She couldn't wrap her mind around it, but I truly believe God was already giving her glimpses of her Heavenly Home where Dad was waiting, and she was more than ready to go there.
Mama always knew who we were, even to the end. That last time Barb and I (along with our husbands) saw her was a window visit on the Saturday before she died. She was content and smiling, blowing us kisses and telling us she loved us. Such a precious sweet memory of her bringing her shaking fingers to her lips, kissing them, and blowing kisses our way!
None of us had any clue that just 4 days later God would call her Home.
Yes, we are grieving. Our life will never be the same and we shall always cherish our beloved parents and the wonderful childhood they provided us. But it's hard to be sad when we realize that Mama's suffering is over and she is whole and happy again. So through our tears we celebrate with Mama, that she is where she longed to be...
...Home for Christmas.
If you want to read Mama's obituary, here is the link: https://www.culbersonfh.com/obituaries/Lois-House/