My sister and I went shopping last night… again.  It is after Christmas, the sales are beckoning as though we are drowning and they can save us… and Mom is gone.  That is why we have been going out to eat, sometimes twice in one day, and why we’ve been shopping together, a lot.  We are at loose ends; we need to be together; and we have been given our freedom.

For the last five years Mom was steadily going downhill, getting more frail, more feeble, needing more help.  And Mom wanted her daughters to be the ones to catch her on the slide down.  Not some strangers in a freezing nursing home (I mean they probably keep it 75; Mom’s was not one degree less than 95).  Mom trained us from birth that she never wanted to go to a nursing home, her biggest fear in life, although she had many as she grew older.  So when the time came for the care Mom needed, my sister and I were there.  And so was my brother as often as he could be, and my older sister was the one who came and stayed continuously at the end, seeing Mom right into heaven.

But the day-to-day care for the last several years was Dar’s and mine.  And, really, more hers because Darla lives in the same town as Mom did.  So when Mom fell, the little box that sat on the shelf where all the photos of the smiling children and grandchildren were kept, the little box from the “I’ve-fallen-and-can’t-get-up” organization, relayed the message to Darla, and Darla came with whomever she could get from her work to pick Mom up, dust her off, and put her back to rights.  Soon, we were going after work and on weekends, staying till we got Mom into bed for the evening, making sure every light was off, every ceiling fan shut down and the air conditioner turned off, and everything locked up tight.

Then she fell and cut her forehead wide open on the carpet.  It was time for the outside help that came to Mom’s house during the weekday while we were at work.  They would stay till 4:30, and then we stayed, again, till bedtime.  Those were good times.  Times we got to talk and share and eat ice cream or sherbet together.  Times we learned a few things we didn’t know about our mother, about us, about family.  We talked about God and Heaven.  My mom loved Jesus and His Word and lived her life as best she could for His honor and glory.

One evening I noticed Mom was yellow, so we went straight to the hospital.  The time had come that she didn’t need to be by herself at all anymore.  So we started staying the nights then, taking turns by the day or couple of days.  Get at Mom’s around 4:30 in the afternoon and stay till morning.  If Darla and I wanted to do anything, we got extra sitters or worked something out with Ben, our brother.  But it was rare that we got to spend time together as we had done in the past.  After all, we were and are best friends.  It’s tough giving up your best friend, seeing her a few minutes here and a few minutes there.

Mom died, giving up the struggle and succumbing to the arms of the angels as they whisked her away to Heaven.  And set us free.