If anyone should ask me and my family, the answer would be that it was the worst Christmas we ever had.
In preparation for our family Christmas, my 93-year-old mother had made our traditional cranberry salad, butter scotch brownies, fudge, two fruit cakes and three dozen of her prize-winning yeast rolls and was in the process of setting a beautiful table for thirteen, when she had a massive stroke. We were there in the room. She was walking and talking ---and then she fell face down on the floor.
Over the past few days she received excellent care from paramedics, life-flight crew, and Lakeland Regional Hospital staff and was surrounded by family.
At the same time, it was the best Christmas, in that many prayers were answered.
There is no recovery from a stroke of such magnitude. On Christmas morning, we were all 10 allowed in her ICU room to speak to her, though she only responded with one hand that firmly gripped. We believe she knew we were each there.
Our dear mother went to Heaven on Monday. She went peacefully, precisely at 1:00pm, in keeping with her love for numbers.
We know she felt the prayers of many and she died as she lived: with great grace and dignity. We are thankful that her suffering was minimal and for all the many years that we had with her. It is very, very hard to let her go, but we are all at peace. We know that she is having a wonderful reunion with her parents and seven siblings and many friends who went before her.
Our mother was an internationally published poet.
On June 18, 1973, Mama wrote the following poem about death:
Think not of death as going from the kitchen to the attic
Where things are more jumbled and confused than they were.
Think of death as going to the living room
Where loved ones are waiting and others will join you later for love and laughter.
On April 18, 2004, she wrote:
I am Spirit;
My Spirit lives in a shell called body.
When the shell is gone, the Spirit remains and is free of the body,
Including sickness and death.
I took this picture in August:
God blessed us with the best! Love you, Mama!