As you read this, we are on our way home from the East Coast, where we’ve traveled twice in the past two weeks.
On Oct. 31 we got word that Jeff’s mother had passed away. While she hadn’t been in great health, the conversation the prior week was about moving her to assisted living, not end of life issues. She lived in Pennsylvania, in a small town a 3 hour drive from any major airport. Jeff’s sister also lives 3 hours away by car. My mother-in-law was widowed from her most recent husband and lived alone. Which meant we all had to get there, make arrangements, and begin to take care of things. We scheduled her service for the following weekend.
This past Friday, all our kids and I flew up and drove in. (Jeff was already in the area on a previously scheduled business trip!) My sister-in-law’s family also drove in.
As we got together and talked, we realized it had been 15 years since we had all been together—the last time being my niece’s baptism the summer after her birth (Yes, she turned 15 this summer.), so it turned into quite the family occasion.
We had a lovely service of remembrance where we involved all the grandchildren. Our nephew Tedd, quite the musician, played the prelude and “Be Thou My Vision” on the keyboard. His sister, Karlee, played “Amazing Grace” on the flute. Our son Nathan played “It is Well with My Soul” on the keyboard, while our son Aaron said the opening prayer and our daughter, Elizabeth, read a passage from the Book of John. Then Jeff did the eulogy. He did a great job of both honoring his mom and presenting the gospel.
After that, it 2 1/2 long days of work. The work of sorting through a life in possessions and finances. To be honest, it wasn’t a pretty picture. And there will be lots of stress to come in the next few months as we try to get things sorted. But even in that, we have felt the presence of the Lord and the prayers of our friends and family. We’ve also seen the hand of God working in so many ways, both before and after her death. We are very close to Jeff’s sister, so there is no stress there. And we are so very, very grateful for all of that.
If your parents are still living, give them a call just to say hi. Hug them tightly next time you see them in person.
If you are a parent whose age continues to creep upward, please keep an updated list of all your passwords, accounts, and financial obligations. And clean out those closets and cabinets! I promise your children will love you even more for your thoughtfulness in making their job easier at the end of your days.