There are those who would say this is too personal and too private to share with the world. But, I must write it. It is too precious to hoard. If it were up to me to pass out trophies, my mother would be a Champion!

The last night of her life, mother didnít want me to leave (as
with every other night since she had entered the rest home).
 But, I went, again, with the automatic promise of returning.

The next day, at noon, I came to feed her lunch. When I
entered the room, it was a different look I got from her. She scrutinized me as if in a microscope. Every hair was examined, every pore of my face. In an instant, she had it done and I felt
 it very profoundly. A smile spread across her face and her crystal blue eyes were shining!

"Oh, honey! You look just like my little girl!"

"Well, I hope so, mother. I am your little girl."

She clapped her hands together like a child at first sight of the carnival. She held them there, smiling all the while. "You are? Oh, Iím so glad!"

I began getting things ready to feed her. But, feeling those
eyes, I turned to her. She was as earnest as a lover, looking directly into my eyes, "If you only knew what you mean to me!
 I love you!"

"I love you too, mother, and if you love me, youíd better take
 a little bite."
She tried, but only about 3 bites and a swallow or two of the chocolate shake they had brought. She told me she was full,
and sick at her stomach. Her digestive system had been upset the day before. But, I was expecting it to be better today.

She started to be sick at her stomach and I took a lot of
phlegm from her. The medical nurse came in with a light
 nerve medicine.
I walked to the nurse's station and told them she was still
sick to her stomach and wondered if they wanted to give
 her something for a sick stomach.

I walked back to her room and told her I was going to check on my husband, who had just received a pace maker/de-fibralator (placed in his chest 4 days before).
She smiled, again. I told her to rest a little so she could eat
some supper.

Then, I left, came home, fed my husband, and began the
 errands that had been delayed because of his surgery.
There were bills to pay, a few groceries to pick up.

I got home, went to put the water on the yard, and was just connecting a sprinkler to the hose when my recovering husband called from the back door, "The manor wants you to call." It
 was nearly time to go feed her supper. But, I laid down the
hose and ran in to the telephone.

Then, I heard the words that stunned me, "Sheís gone ..."
"No ... you donít mean ... Iíll be right there."
Running out of the room crying, I went straight to the car... "Sheís gone, sheís gone! ..." I never expected to keep her forever. But, I had a different idea of how it would be.

My father had died 8 Ĺ years earlier and she had developed Alzheimerís Disease, the most cruel enemy of a human mind.
She had fallen several times in the last few weeks. But, even though her Osteoporosis was measured off the chart, nothing
 had broken. I had envisioned that was how the end would
come; a broken bone, a hospital stay, pneumonia. But, this
was so sudden! The noon time had been so sweet! If ever I
saw blue eyes sparkle, this was the time!

They had the door closed. I pushed it open and entered. She
lay on the bed, with clear blue eyes looking as if they could still see me. I just ran to her and took her face in my hands, "Oh,
you darling mother! You sweet, sweet, mother! You are so precious! I should have come back sooner! I love you, you, precious, dear lady!"

I had to cry a little longer. My son arrived, a medical
technician. He reached over and, very gently, closed the blue eyes. I knew I would never seen them again, on this earth. I
just fell to pieces.
Somehow, I managed to call my sister. Somehow, I called the mortician. Somehow, I took care of the mirage of little things
that must be done.

During all this time, I couldnít keep from remembering the last hour we had together. What a blessing she gave me! And, I knew, too, that I would always see those beautiful eyes.
 I really couldnít ever forget them or the beautiful words ...
 or the wonderful examination of my face.

I thought of all the times she had been brave ~ in a way I have never had to encounter; trying to still be "friendly", like she
had been her whole life, when all the words are taken away
and you canít recall the simplest things or the simplest past
 times ... even trying to assist a fallen room mate, forgetting
that you canít stand alone. Faking it so you cover you disease,
 as if it were disgraceful. What a heroine you were!

It wonít be long, just over the hill, weíll have our reunion day.
I already know.
What she will say? I already see the sparkle. I really do understand, now, how faith in Jesus pays off. When the test is there, He really comes through. I praise Him for the merciful
way it happened and for the faith He built up in my heart
 through the years.

Her room mate told me mother had gotten sick to her stomach. So, she called for the nurse. Mother was in her wheelchair
and, when the nurse was delayed, her room mate decided to
go find a nurse. But, mother followed in her chair, by her
 own power.

When they reached the lobby, mother became sick, again. The nurse noticed and quickly took her to her room. By the time
they got mother laid down, she was gone ... that quickly. Before
I could be called or drive the 6 blocks, mother was already in Heaven. She was already surrounded by loved ones that she
had been asking for, for years! Those dazzling beautiful blue eyes were already beholding the face of our Savior!

 Joan Clifton Costner
Copyrighted. All rights reserved.

Mother was 89 Ĺ years old. She died at 4 P.M., July 7, 2003. Her funeral was held Thursday and, to me, it was the most beautiful ever. We laid a beautiful Child of God to rest who,
 now, can remember her Savior's name!

The Library