Two years ago, I entered into the most sacred three months of my entire life. My beautiful mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer at 62 and was given weeks, to perhaps a month or two, to live. She was gently told by doctors that there was nothing they could do. Upon that moment, our whole world froze. We as a family were thrown instantly into a state of existence that is truly unexplainable and unmatched. Within days she decided to give living one last-ditch effort and headed to a healing retreat center that would teach, equip, and administer a more natural, diet-based form of cancer reversal. We all knew it would be a sheer miracle if this actually worked with how advanced and widely spread her cancer, was but every one of us gave each day she fought all the faith and positivity we could muster.
A month and a half into her fight, she was growing very weary, weak, and tired and one sunshiny afternoon she informed my dad and I that she was at peace and simply felt ready to “go home.”
The days that followed were the kind of sacred that makes you shudder, take off your shoes, stare in awe and remain utterly speechless. Words held so little meaning and touch, smell, sounds and one another’s presence was all that satisfied. Because of what she did with her diet, the pain had subsided, the vomiting ended and she was peacefully wasting away in her own comfy bed, in her own home (her favorite place to be), surrounded by all who loved her most.
She was dying. We were grieving. But in her dying, she was healing. Beauty was rising from the ashes. Her soul was preparing for its eternal home. Our family had been through a lot of heartache through the years, and we were given the gift of reconciliation and healing in those last days and weeks.
To pull up into mom and dad’s driveway was almost like entering a portal to heaven. I never could get there fast enough. The whole world fell away when there and sacred was the sun that shined through the windows, the air we breathed, the smell of her hair, the sound of her voice, the conversations, the naps together and every single moment we had with her.
In her last days, my three brothers, my dad and I surrounded her 24 hours a day. We traveled with her on this side of Heaven on her sacred walk to the gates of her eternal home. One hospice nurse told us that often people die the way they lived. Mom was a fighter through her life; she was many other things as well, but she was a fighter. She left this world in much the same manner. She fought and grasped for life. The pain and the release were beautiful. Sacred.
In her last hour she fought the hardest, crying out for help. She was scared. She was going home and ultimately at peace, but the process was scary for her. The most sacred moment of my life thus far (next to the birth of my two children) was the moment that I pressed my cheek against that of my mommas and proclaimed into her ear, from the depths of my soul, “Fear not, mom. Fear not.” As I spoke those words she took her last breath and met her Maker and Savior. I tell you the truth; I too was not here on earth in that moment. I was in a sacred space and time that I never wanted to end.
I often go back to that place on her bed, hungry for sacred. Longing to feel even just a hint of sacred.
My mom passed in the middle of the night. Hours into the next morning, it was time for me to get in my car and drive home to my husband and children. To leave that portal that had become my parents’ home and know it would never be the same was one of the stranger moments of my life. As I sat in morning traffic I saw people driving to work. They were drinking coffee they had just bought at the drive-thru. They were on their phones or biting their nails. Everyone and everything was “normal.” I, however, still felt as though I was in another time and space, and did everything in my human power to hold on to the feeling of the sacred.
To this day, I find myself hungry for sacred. It is where heaven meets earth. God’s nearness is palpable and the mundane has no meaning. Life is wonderful and life is hard. But in all things there is the sacred. May we never miss the sacred, be it big or small and, most of all, may we hunger to be fully present in the gift of every sacred moment we are given.
Thank you Jamie. I cried while reading this. I so often remember being with my grandpa the weeks leading up to his death. I cherish those sacred moments. There is nothing like moments of birth and death to quiet us and make us realize how real God is and how close He is to us. Heaven is near. Bless you (-and miss you!)
Beautiful, beautiful words! Thank you for the gift in this post!