The moving account of a daughter who was there when heaven opened up and began to welcome her beloved mother home.
I am so grateful for your book Glimpses of Heaven. A friend gave it to me a few years ago and in early June I decided to read it. I know now that it was the timing of our gracious and compassionate God; I had no idea that one month later, I would be sitting at the bedside of my dying mother.
We received a call from my dad and sister that Mom’s kidneys were failing. The family had three to four really good days to visit with her, to give and receive love, and to say goodbye. She looked at me in a way I had not seen before. Later I recognized "the look of knowing" you speak about in your books. She never told me directly that she was dying—other than that look.
It was heartbreaking to hear Dad say his goodbyes to her. He's a strong military man who does not share his feelings easily. He'd tear up and say, "Thank you, Betty, for being such a good wife for 57 years and for giving me good kids."
I was able to stay nights with Mom when she was moved into the hospital's Comfort Care Unit. One evening I noticed her staring hard in one direction and wondered if she was seeing someone I couldn't see. That evening she said very matter-of-factly, "You know, I see people." Because your book prepared me, I was able to say, "Mom, that's normal. If you want to go with them, it's OK." It was a privilege to be there when heaven opened up and began to welcome her home. What a gift!
She rallied that night and was quite talkative! We had many conversations and at one point she said, "We should have popcorn!" It was surprising because she'd refused food for days. Later she told the nurse, "We're having a girls' night. We're talking." It is a precious statement I'll always treasure.
Nurse Catherine and respiratory therapist Kathy were gifts as well. One evening Dad and I discussed joining the family for dinner when Kathy came into the room. She knew that we didn't want to leave Mom. She encouraged us to go, promising to stay close while we were gone. When we returned we thanked her and talked about Mom’s rally. Kathy told us that was Mom's goodbye gift to us.
Catherine, who was with me the last two nights of Mom's life, was wonderful. She helped prepare me for the physical changes her body would go through. A couple of minutes before Mom died, my heart suddenly lightened. She took two more gentle breaths and then she was gone. It is my belief that my heart lightened when Jesus was lifting her into his arms, and she breathed her last breath cradled against his heart.
Betty Jane Anderson's 82-year journey on earth ended on Thursday, July 28, 2011. It was extremely peaceful.
Thank you again for the part that God ordained for you to play in my life and in the life of my family. I am grateful, indeed. I look forward to meeting you in heaven and introducing you to my precious Mama.
Deb (Anderson) Weaver
I have read your letter many times. It is a beautiful affirmation of your deep love for your mother and the love poured out on her by your family. How good God was, to allow you all the grace to see his hand in so many ways and to take your mother home so gently. The experience of seeing others waiting for her that she enjoyed is such a wonderfully common gift that God gives to us. The gift is for both the one he is taking home and for those who will stay behind for now. It has given you and yours a peace that defies all understanding.
Then too, your mother was surrounded with God’s love in the people and circumstances he placed on her path. Catherine, her nurse who stayed with you those last nights. Kathy, her therapist who stayed while you all went to dinner, as well as the myriad of doctors and nursing staff that tended her every need.
You will find much peace in your life because you have loved so well.
Trudy gets so many questions from Guideposts readers, we decided to make her answers a regular feature on her blog. If you have a story about a “glimpse of heaven,” please share it with us. Send it to [email protected]ts.org.