Fish Out of Water- Chapter 8
Thursday, July 4th, 2002
I woke up about five in the morning and drove straight to the hospital in Seattle only stopping for gas and a bite to eat, but I wasn’t really hungry. I drove south on the 75, cut West on the 20, and took the 84, to the 82 to the 90 West which dumped me right into Seattle. It was about a 500 mile drive and it took me less than eight hours to get there. I really couldn’t believe I was driving to Seattle. I couldn’t believe I was going to the hospital to say Good-bye to my mother.
It was hard to pray that day. Yesterday, everything in the world felt great. I felt such peace about my life and my future. I felt forgiven and healed, but twenty-four hours later, I felt forsaken. Why would God spare my life and take away my mother? Why now when I needed her most to teach me more about the gospel? Was I being punished for all of my sins? I didn’t understand.
After being alone in the jeep over six hours my mind drifted and I decided it couldn’t hurt to pray. “Father, I don’t understand. Help me to understand. Help me to know that you are still real and that you really care for me. Help me to feel you are aware of me and you are not just punishing me. Don’t leave me alone right now. And if you saved me, why can’t you save her, too?”
I didn’t feel the answers like I did yesterday. I didn’t feel him close. I felt distance from him. I just didn’t understand why he would do such a thing?
The sky was blue and practically cloudless. It didn’t look much like the Seattle, Washington I knew. Some summer days could be very deceiving. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon, when I pulled into the hospital parking lot. I went into the reception desk and asked where mom’s room was. She was on the fourth floor in room 402.
I rode in the elevator with a man with carrying two dozen roses. He looked like he was a few years younger than I was. His smile beamed and I hated him. I really did. I could see a light dancing in his eyes. Enthusiasm and happiness were oozing out of him, and it disgusted me.
He looked at me, oblivious to the horror and inner turmoil I was going through. The man stuck out his hand. One of his sleeves on his white wrinkled shirt was rolled up and the other sleeve was down and still buttoned. His blue tie was loosened about his neck and his black dress pants looked as if he’d been in them for three days. “Hi. I have a son. I am a father.” He shook my hand enthusiastically.
I wanted to say. “Hi. I am a son and I don’t know how much longer I’ll have a mother.” But I didn’t say it. I hated him for the joy he was feeling, but not enough to put a damper on his day. Though, I really don’t think he would have heard a word I said. “Congratulations.” I said, forcing a smile.
He played with the long stems on the red roses. They weren’t pretty nor romantic, not in my book. I thought of the funeral arrangements that I might be seeing. Why do people waste money on flowers? Why didn’t they send the flowers to the people while they were still living? Why didn’t people offer to help with funeral cost or the unexpected medical expenses? No, people don’t think, they just spend money foolishly on a stupid flower arrangement that will only be looked at for a few hours at a funeral and then perhaps at a graveside ceremony. What a foolish token of remembrance. People do stupid things all the time, just because it’s tradition.
The other man got off on the third floor. He practically leaped out of the elevator, when the elevator doors opened. Me, well, I hesitated when the doors opened on the fourth floor. In fact, the doors almost closed before I hit the open door button and stared down the wide corridor. They try to make hospitals look peaceful, by painting the walls blue and by putting pictures up of beautiful places. This hospital was no different. It was painted in a blue, similar to the sky but lighter. A darker blue paint was painted on the molding that outlined the doors and windows to offices, and the floors were large white linoleum squares.
I stepped out of the elevator and walked slowly down the corridor. Big gold framed pictures hung about ten feet apart. The first picture on my right was of Mount Rainer on a perfect day. That didn’t seem like a real shot of the mountain, it was deceptive. Rarely, did the mountain stand in the middle of a clear blue sky, sparkling in the sunlight. It didn’t matter. People wanted to be deceived. They wanted to believe that hospitals were places of peace, but deep down inside everybody knows that hospitals are places of pain, heartache and death. No amount of blue paint can blind man’s eyes from that awful truth. Sure enough, some kids just come to get their tonsils taken out and some kids are born here, but I can guarantee most of the rooms are filled with patients who are filled with pain and fear death, or they wouldn’t have come. I felt the fear of death in the air and I knew it. I knew it well.
I’d blocked out many of the memories of when Mom was in the hospital before. But walking down the hall, I remembered. I remembered the IV’s in her arms, her pale face, and weak thin arms, lying outside of the ugly brown thin blanket on the hospital bed. I hated this place. The surgery and treatments were painful. I knew it, but mom just smiled and said, “I’ll get better.” The doctor’s were not as optimistic as mom. They said that the cancer had progressed and that it would be very risky. Mom would thank them, but insisted that she would get better. I thought it was just her way of dealing with everything, but looking back I think she knew something I didn’t. She didn’t just have faith she would make it through—she knew it.
And here I was, back again, walking down the familiar hall of death and pain. Once again, the fear pierced my heart. What if she was already gone? I looked at the numbers 406 on the room on the right. I practically ran down the hall, turned right and there it was room 420. The door was half way open. I knocked on it lightly as I pushed it open.
Dad was there sitting next to mom. His legs were stretched out and his back was slumped into the chair besides the bed. He sat up when he saw me and then he stood up. Dad looked like dad. He was in a pair of jeans and a cotton short sleeve blue polo shirt, and he was wearing a pair of white tennis shoes. He looked clean and neat, as if he was going to a fourth of July picnic. “Well, I think I’ll go stretch my legs and grab a bite to eat in the cafeteria. Do you want any thing, John?” He asked as he passed me.
I shook my head and stared at my mother. There were two pillows under her head and the head of the bed was propped up a little. She opened her eyes and saw me, she smiled and her eyes lit up. I inherited my smile from my mother. It’s the kind that is as wide as your face. I don’t know how she could smile at a time like this, but she did. “I knew you’d make it,” she said. She picked up her arms and held them up to me, like she did when I was a little boy.
I walked over, bent down and embraced my mom with all of my strength. She felt thinner to me, weaker. She kissed my cheek and whispered, “It’s going to be alright. Everything is going to be fine. You know that, don’t you?”
I pulled away and looked down at her. Did she really think she’d make it through again? From what dad said, she hardly stood a chance of making it through the next two days. “Mom, really let’s be realistic.” She was always faithful and optimistic. It was dad that was a pessimist, he liked to say he was a realist, but I knew better. I think I took after both. But today I was feeling more like my dad, a little too realistic.
I sat down on the bed and took her hand in mine and she just stared at me. It was an unusual stare, the kind most women give when they are looking at a new born child. It was a look of awe and wonder, as if she had just been handed a precious gift or ruby. She reached up and grabbed my shoulder and pulled me down and kissed me on the lips and hugged me again! “I’ll miss you, John.”
“Mom,” I said as my throat started to tighten and it felt as though someone was shoving a golf ball down my throat. “I don’t know what to say.”
She kissed my cheek and squeezed my hand. “John, you’ve brought me so much joy in my life. I’ve loved being your mother. There was nothing that filled my heart with greater purpose and love.”
A tear slid down my face and I looked away. “Mom, don’t.”
She reached up and touched my cheek and moved my face back so she could look me in the eyes. “I know, John. I know you’ve come unto Christ. I know you’ve come back to church.”
“Mom, what are you talking about? You couldn’t know!” What was it about everyone else knowing what was going on but me!
“Oh, son but I do. There is something I never told you.” She continued to smile but her blue eyes filled with tears. “I asked God, when I was really sick and dying if he would spare me my life until you had come back unto the fold. He promised me, that I could remain here on earth until you found the path that would lead to eternal life, which would lead you home. I didn’t know it would be so soon, but I am so grateful.”
“Mom, I don’t understand.” I said staring at her.
“This week I felt the cancer returning with great force, but in my heart I knew that my greatest desire, for that which I have prayed your entire life was being fulfilled. I knew that you were gaining your own testimony of the truth, because I was growing weaker. I don’t know what has happened to you. But I know that you now are on the path that will lead to life, to really living. You’ve got yourself a ‘life’, haven’t you?” She said laughing just a little and then coughing.
Her head jerked forward as her chest tightened and she coughed. I could see her weakness and the yellow tint to her skin. She looked as though she was on borrowed time. How could she have been fine a week ago and now, she was minutes or hours away from deaths doors?
I nodded my head. “Mom, I am sorry. I am so sorry that I caused you so much pain by wandering down my own path.”
“John, we each have our own journey in life. We each have our own obstacles that we must face. You’ve had your share of difficulties and I understood why you didn’t trust God. But what brought you back? Besides my prayers, that is?” She paused for effect and then added, “I am dying to know!” This time she really started to laugh.
I didn’t find it comical at all. Not at a time like this. I just stared at her, like she was going out of her mind.
“Lighten up,” she said squeezing my hand.
“Mom, this isn’t easy. I don’t understand why God is taking you away from me, when I need you most to lead me, to guide me and teach me more about Him. I don’t know why He is punishing me?”
She shook her head. “But, John now you have the true guide in your heart. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He will guide and direct your path. He will testify to your heart of what you must do to return to the loving arms of the Father. You don’t need me. It was I who selfishly wanted to know that you were on the right path. And I know with all my heart, through the spirit that you will be fine.”
I shook my head in disbelief. “Why can’t I have you and the spirit?”
“You’ll still have your dad.”
“I’ve never had a dad.” The words came out and I saw the pain in my mother’s eyes.
“John, I loved your father very much. He is starting to become again the man he once was, the man that I fell in love with.”
“Mom, how can you say that? Dad will never change. He gave us food to eat and a roof over our heads, but other than that it wasn’t exactly the Brady Bunch.” I stood up and I walked towards the window. “How can you love him, when he never loved us?”
“Son, there is so much you don’t know. Please open your heart and forgive him. He…”
I turned around. “Forgive him? Why? He should be the one dying– not you!” It was harsh I knew it was, but I really wished it was him. I could handle dad dying, I would be relieved in a way. But I wasn’t ready to let go of mom and I didn’t understand why she would have to die now, just because I had gone back to church.
“John, sit down. Let’s talk. We don’t have much time.” Her voice was soft and kind. She had a gift for being patient and kind even in moments such as this. I turned around and sat in a chair. “Will you move it over so I can see you?”
I moved the chair over, so I was sitting more in front of her, like we were sitting across from each other in a booth at a restaurant. She reached out her hand and I gave her mine.
“I remember when you were young, how you loved to hold my hand when we’d walk to the park, or go to the zoo, or grocery store. You were a very loving child. There was so much love in you. You were sensitive to the feelings around you. When you were little, only two years old, your father and I had a fight and I was very upset and he left in a huff. You pulled yourself up on my lap and gave me a big hug and you know what you said?”
I shook my head no.
“You said, ‘I love you mommy and so does daddy. He’ll come home.’ I didn’t think he would ever come home. I didn’t know if I wanted him to come home. But in your eyes I saw his love and I knew you were right. And you were. He came home. Just as he came home, I knew you’d come home. I just wanted to see it. I wanted to see you walking in the light of Christ’s ways. It was a selfish desire, but God granted me my dying request to know with a certainty that you would be saved. You’ve come home. Please tell me what happened?”
“I thought I was going to die. The doctor told me I had less than two weeks to live and all of the sudden I wanted to know God mostly because I was scared to die. I don’t know mom. It all seems like a terrible nightmare. I just want to wake up and find out it was a nightmare.”
“But John you have woken up. It’s not a nightmare, its life. It was intended to be hard. We are here to prove ourselves, to show the Father that we are willing to serve Him, obey Him, follow after Him and submit ourselves unto Him and His will. I am not scared of death or of dying. I will only miss being here with you and miss holding my first grandchild.” Then the tears began to flow as she talked. “Of course, I want to be here with you. I want to see your children on Christmas morning and at baptisms and at all the family events. I want to be with your father.” She stopped crying and she looked me in the eyes and spoke with a gentle force. “I know that he will come home. He, too will come unto Christ, but that will be in his time and only through you and your love. He needs to know you’ve forgiven him in order to forgive himself. John, promise me you will forgive him.”
“Mom, I can’t yet. I don’t feel it. I won’t lie to you. I can’t.”
She kept staring at me, and tilted her head the side. “Promise me that you’ll pray to forgive him.”
I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to promise my mother something I wasn’t sure I could do. Without her here, what reason would I have to come back to see him? What would we have to talk about? Maybe we could go fishing every few years, but how could I have a relationship with my dad? It hadn’t happened in almost 30 years and I didn’t expect it would ever happen.
Mom started coughing again. They were hoarse and rough coughs. Each cough looked as if it was choking her and strangling her to death. After she coughed she leaned back down against the pillows and let out long breaths of air. “John, I am not asking you to forgive him, before he walks back in the room. I am just asking you to pray to forgive him. Please. You both need each other. You are all he has. I know you will have a family of your own someday but please don’t abandon him.”
“He abandoned us.” I said quietly, under my breath.
“No, he never did leave us completely, there were times when his heart was far from us, but he never physically left. His heart is returning and it will return if you accept it, John. Please pray.”
“I’ll try mom, but I can’t guarantee anything.” I said shaking my head.
“Do! There is no Try!” Mom said as she attempted to sound like Yoda from Star Wars. It was a futile attempt. Her voice was too weak, besides she was only good at imitating animal sounds, like cows and chickens.
I shrugged my shoulders. She knew I’d have to agree. She was on her death bed. How do you refuse your mother, her last request? “Fine, I’ll pray, but look how long you had to pray for me and I’ve only begun to walk back.”
She shook her head. “Every prayer was worth it, to know, to really know that you will find joy in this life and stop hiding from God.”
“Oh, he found me alright. He might as well as hit me over the head with a baseball bat. I think God has a sick sense of humor, giving me cancer at 29 years of age.”
My mother’s eye brows shot up. “Cancer?”
“I had a brain tumor. At least that is what the Doc said. I never saw it, just felt it, but I don’t feel it now.”
“How long have you known?” My mother asked.
“I went to the doctor a week ago, because some wonderful old lady made me promise to go each year and get an exam! The doctor called me back the next day told me I had less than two weeks to live.”
“You were visited by the angel of death.” She said staring at me.
I looked at her, shrugged my shoulders and said. “You could call it that, I guess.”
“But you’ve been healed? How do you know?” She said asking me. It wasn’t that she doubted I was healed, it was more she wanted to know how I knew that I was healed.
“I got a blessing yesterday and I was told I was healed.”
“And you believed it?”
“After everything I’ve gone through in the past week, yes I did believe it and I wanted to believe it! Besides, I haven’t felt any of the pain, or thrown up in about 36 hours or so.”
“John, tell me about your week, please, tell me how you came to get a blessing.” She looked like a little girl begging for someone to read her favorite bedtime story. I told her about everything, even about promising to get married if God granted me my life. She laughed when I told her that. I told her about meeting Savannah, Jack, Louise and the missionaries! Telling the story brought back the feelings of peace. It felt good to let someone know about the joy that had replaced the pain.
Her grip on my hand relaxed. “I am the happiest woman alive.” She winked at me and said, “You be good to Savannah and patient with her. She will bring you much happiness in your life. That is my last advice to you my son. Oh, and be patient with yourself as you learn the gospel. The Father teaches us line upon line. Don’t be tempted to feel that you should know more than you do.”
I couldn’t believe we were sitting and talking about her dying. I felt like I was just talking to her on the phone at the end of the week and I’d be able to talk to her next week. I shook my head, this was unreal.
After about an hour, Dad poked his head in the room. Mom nodded at him and he came in. He talked about some game on TV and I excused myself to go for a walk. I needed a little time to let everything soak in. I walked back down the blue hall, towards the elevator. I wanted to get out of this place. I wanted to drive out towards Mount Rainer and climb her. I wanted to get out of this world and avoid the next few days.
The end was not far. I knew it. I don’t know how I knew it, but something told me that she wouldn’t make it through the night. She only lived to see me and to hear what had brought me back into the light. That’s all she was living for. She’d been living to see me come home.
Too be honest, I was relieved. I hadn’t seen Mom look so peaceful since I was a kid. There was a confidence about her and a peace that I had rarely seen. She wore the look of faith. There was something in her eyes, so similar to Savannahs, Jack, Louise’s and the elder’s eyes. It was as if they knew something the rest of the world didn’t. Mom knew her life was spared and that she’d been living on borrowed time. She knew her time to go had come. She wasn’t angry with God, she accepted his will and said her good-bye’s. What a different approach to death? She walked in faith right to the end.
I didn’t have the faith a week ago, when my death sentence was given. I only had a particle of faith sitting in the room listening to my mother. But I wanted to believe that she’d prayed me back. Was it because of my faith that my life was spared? Or was it because of my mother’s faith that I was really allowed to live?
I made it outside and walked around the building and my cell phone rang. I was hoping it was Savannah, but it was a Utah number that I didn’t recognize. I answered it, “Hello. This is John.”
“Hi. John. How are you feeling? Is there anything I can do for you? Where are you?”
It was Doctor Smith. I should have recognized his number by now, but I think he called from a different line each time he called.
“I am at the hospital in Seattle.”
“Oh, that is wonderful. Are they going to operate? Are you comfortable? Did it get worse, is that why you are there?”
“Doc, it’s my mother, not me.”
“It’s the cancer. It’s everywhere, she won’t have long to live now.” I said this time knowing it was true.
“But John, what about you? How are you?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Do you believe in miracles?”
“In my profession you’d be a fool not to.”
“Are you religious?”
“You mean to say in all your visit’s you’ve never seen the Book of Mormon or Ensign out in the waiting room?”
I laughed a little. “Even if I had, I wouldn’t have paid attention to them.”
“I guess I’ll have to get some more and put them on every table. Have you been healed?”
“I believe so.”
“Well, why don’t you know so?” The doctor asked.
I hadn’t even thought of it. Maybe I just wanted to believe it and didn’t want it not to be confirmed. “I don’t know.”
“I think I know someone in the area. Let me make a call. I’ll call you right back.”
He hung up the phone without saying good-bye. I sat down on a white cement bench and looked out onto the water. I wanted to believe it. God had the power to heal. I was healed, but what if the tumor was still there, the same size, smaller or even bigger? What if it was gone completely?
The phone rang again. “Hi.” I said.
“My son in law works in that area. And he just happens to be working today. He was supposed to be out with us at the Lake, but an emergency came up. He can arrange for you to receive a Cat Scan. Here is his number.” He gave me the number and I agreed to call it. He asked me to visit him at his office when I got back in town.
I called Dr. Lang’s office and was practically standing in front of it. We met briefly and he sent me down the hall. He told me that they’d have the result by about 8 o’clock that evening, and he gave me a number to call.
I went back up to my mom’s room. She looked so peaceful lying on the bed, grinning with her eyes closed. Dad motioned for me to go outside. I stepped back out of the room and waited for him.
He started walking down the hall. He didn’t say anything, but I figured he wanted me to follow him. “We should be out at the lake.” He said with little emotion in his voice.
“Uh huh.” I said.
“Well, anyway,” he said as he increased in speed. “I’m going home. I’m getting sick of this place. If I stay here too long, I’ll end up dying too.”
I just nodded my head.
“Do you mind staying with her? I’ll call you later tonight and see how you both are doing?”
“Sure. Whatever you want.” I said.
Dad got in the elevator and I walked back to mom’s room. Dad didn’t even say good-bye to mom. Didn’t he understand she probably wouldn’t be here when he came back? He would probably just go home, watch a game, go to sleep and not even think about her. Why would he leave her, when she only had a few hours left? He should stay here. He should be by her side.
I walked around the square like corridor a few times before my heart rate fell back into a normal range. I didn’t want to think about dad and I didn’t want mom to know that I was disgusted by his selfishness. So, I walked a bit and put on a smiley face.
“Mom,” I said. Hoping that she would still respond. “How are you feeling?’
She blinked open her eyes. “Wonderful. I am so happy, John.”
There was a brilliance in her eyes, that I had never seen before. It was difficult to describe. It was a look of peace, complete peace.
“I don’t want to say good-bye, Mom. I am not ready. I know I have to, I am just not ready.”
“I’ll never be far. The world of spirits isn’t far. They are very near us. I know that now.” She said smiling. “I’ll be watching over you, your father and your little ones.”
“Mom, I love you.” I walked over to the bed and then I laid down on top of the blankets next to her. I put my head on her shoulder and she wrapped her arms around me. And I cried. “I love you and I don’t want you to go!”
“Son, I love you. I’ll always love you. We’ll be together forever, we won’t be separated for long.”
“I’m just not ready to let go, not yet.”
She ran her fingers through my hair and kissed my forehead. “My sweet little boy. You don’t have to let go. Never let go. It is only my body that will rest for a season. My spirit will live and soon they will be reunited, never to be separated, that I may have a fullness of joy. But, my boy. I don’t want to be alone in the presence of my God. I want you there, you and your family and I want your father at my side. Do you understand me, John? I want to be with your father forever. Tell him that when the time is right. Tell him I want to be his for time and all eternity.”
I was crying like a little boy, who had lost his first dog. I didn’t care. I didn’t care who saw me. I knew this was my last day with my mother and I wanted to be as close to her as I could, because I didn’t know the next time I’d be able to see her.
“Mom, I am so sorry for the pain I have caused you. I haven’t always been the best I could. I should have…”
Mom put her finger on my lips. “Don’t. You were always there for me. You were always by my side, and when dad had a difficult time you reached out in love to me. You helped me remember why I loved your dad so much. You too are so much a like and I love you both with all my heart!”
“I should have visited you more, there is so much more I could have done.”
“Listen to me. I love you. You were everything to me. You were one of my best friends and I loved having you at my side. You had your own life and I understood you needed to learn to how to fly. There are different season’s in life. Your life is about to start and so is mine in a way.”
I took in a deep breath from my nose and let it out slowly and the tears stopped falling. I pulled my mom in closer in my arms. I felt a peace. Mom was right, my life was about to start. For so long I’d been running away from life, but now I was choosing to live life, the life God intended me to live, the life I wanted to live.
I laid there in silence, watching her chest rise and fall, listening to the beating of her heart. I knew there were only so many beats left, but that was okay. She would be in God’s tender care. He’d take better care of her than dad did. He’d watch over and care for her.
“Tell me about this ‘spirit world’, tell me about where you are going.”
“Well, in the scriptures it is described as a place of peace and rest, a place of joy where we wait for the resurrection. The spirits of the just are in spirit paradise and there are other’s in spirit prison. Many of the spirits of the just go and teach those in spirit prison about the plan of salvation, about faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the holy ghost. Those that accept it, wait for their work to be done in temples. The temple is a beautiful place.”
“I’m sorry we were never able to go together.”
“But we did, when you were in Young Men’s I went with you to do baptisms.”
“That’s right, I almost forgot. It has been so long.”
“I’ll be there in the temple when you are sealed. I’ll be there. You’ll feel me there. You’ll feel me many times in your life. I promise you.”
I let out another long breath. “Mom, I never did like Casper the friendly ghost and I don’t know if I really want you to come and call me to repentance every week.”
She laughed and then coughed again. I sat up on the bed, letting her sit up, until the coughing subsided. “There is no need to call you to repentance. You are on the path of continual repentance. Besides, there are other spirits to do that. I want to be there at the good times, the special times and I will. God would never deny a mother, the opportunity to see her son married in His Holy House.”
“Now, don’t go planning my marriage mother. I just want to go on a real date with this girl and take her out to eat and not worry about dying every minute I am with her.”
“That sounds like a good plan.” She said smiling. “John, marriage can be wonderful.”
I raised one eyebrow and gave her that ‘whatever’ look.
She smiled again. “Marriage is of God, it is designed to bring men and women together in a perfect partnership. There were times of great joy in my marriage to your father…before he fell away.”
“Fell away, what are you saying mom?”
She sighed and said, “Your father and I were sealed in the Seattle temple. He made some foolish mistakes when you were very young and he’s never forgiven himself. I’ve forgiven him, over and over. But he lacks the faith to believe that he can be forgiven.”
“Dad was a member of the church?” I couldn’t believe it. I’d known the guy for thirty years and I never even imagined that he was a member.
Mom nodded her head. “He is a member. He just hasn’t gone back to the temple since we were sealed.
“It’s not important. You can talk to your father about that later. It’s just important to remember that I forgave him and that I am I so happy we are sealed together for time and all eternity. I want him to feel the peace I feel, the peace you feel. I want him to be happy again. He was so happy when he was younger.”
“Did dad go on a mission?”
“No, there was the draft in the late sixties and he wasn’t able to go on a mission. His mother was a member and his father wasn’t. But they died when you were very young. He wanted to go on a mission. But not many young men were able to go with the Vietnam War going on.”
“Dad was a member.”
“John, he still is a member. He never took his name off the records.”
This had to have been the most wild weeks of my life! I would never have believed any of this, if I hadn’t been experiencing it with my own eyes, and hearing it with my own ears. This was crazy.
“I’m tired. May I rest a little? Will you go get me some chocolate pudding? Yes, that sounds good. And it will give me a minute to rest and to pray.” She shut her eyes and I stood up helpless. Would it be that fast? Would she just go, while I was fetching her pudding?
She opened her eyes. “Don’t worry. I’m not going yet. It’s not time. Just get me some pudding.”
I decided to call Dr. Lang on my way to the cafeteria. It was almost eight.
“John, yes. I was just reviewing the Cat Scan. Would you like to see it for yourself?”
“What is it doctor?”
“There is nothing here! Hardly a trace of evidence that there was a tumor there.”
“I’ll send it to my father-in-law. He’ll like to have the evidence.”
“Thank you.” I said.
A sweet spirit pierced my heart with yet another confirmation that everything would be okay. I didn’t understand it. My mother was dying. I was alive and my dad was a member of the church. Somehow, walking in a daze I found the cafeteria and there were a few bowls of chocolate pudding. I bought two and took them to my mother’s room. I felt like a little kid sneaking candy into the movie theatre.
Mom and I talked for another hour, after she ate her pudding. She told me stories about when I was really young. Looking back, I should have taped her voice, telling me about myself. I would have liked to have had her voice recorded. We laughed as she remembered wonderful things we had done and about 9:30 she said, “John, I need to go. Will you tell your father good-bye? Tell him that I love him and remind him when the time is right that I forgave him a long time ago!”
The golf ball came back with great force. I kissed her forehead and she smiled. “I love you.” I said in barely a whisper.
“I love you forever and always,” she said and she closed her eyes.
I sat down next to her, holding her hand gently in mine. Within the hour she had slipped away from me and my world, and into the world of the spirits.