Thankful To Be In the Room, Thankful They Are A Part of Me
“No eye has seen no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9b
In my early twenties, I experienced an imaginable pain. My mother got very sick at the age of 48. The doctors told us that she had pancreatitis but assured me that she was not in danger of dying. I was so happy to hear these words, but they would quickly turn to be untrue. I went in to the ICU section where her room was. It was so difficult to see such a sweet, kindhearted, selfless person in so much pain. Later on that day, my sisters, dad, and aunt were told that when a biopsy was done, her doctor had nicked a bowel which caused my mom to be septic and was poisoning her blood. She was misdiagnosed as having pancreatitis. A pastor came in and asked if he could pray. It was just the pastor and myself. He asked my Mom, “Do you know Jesus? If you do, squeeze Susan’s hand.” She squeezed. “Do you believe Jesus is God’s son? If you do, squeeze Susan’s hand.” She squeezed. “Do you believe Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins? If you do squeeze Susan’s hand.” She squeezed. Through all of this, she never opened her eyes and couldn’t say a word.
My mother didn’t talk to me about Jesus very much, but I knew that she was saved because of the way she lived her life. She gave and had a heart like Jesus. All during this time, I felt so guilty. I was the middle daughter and the hardest one to raise. I took her for granted daily, messed up, and never got to apologize for all of the messes I made. Through all of my selfishness, she always loved me, stood up for me, and prayed for me. No one has ever loved me like my Mama and I know that he has forgiven me because that’s who she is. Early one morning, on September 18, 1996, still dark outside, we were called to Mama’s room. We all held her hand, talked to her, hugged her, and cried at her side. My Aunt Tricia saw that my Mom was trying to hang on, not wanting to leave her 3 girls, and she sad, “It’s okay Brenda, you go on, we love you.” Then she passed. Even though it was the most horrible moment of my life, I was so thankful to be in the room when my mom met Jesus.
My Granddaddy, Buster Payne, who was my Mom’s Dad, was the best storyteller. He had so many stories of his life, I never heard a story twice. I have so many memories of him rocking at the Boligee camp house, telling his stories, showing black and white photo’s, talking to his “pretty black kitty cat”, and giving advice on the importance of saving money, which he was a pro at. He had the best memory of anyone I know. I loved getting to sit by Grandaddy in church. The sound of his voice singing the old hymns like “When We Get To Heaven,” “This Is My Story, This Is My Song,” and “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go” are forever etched in my heart. He was in the Merchant Marines and survived many things, even being torpedoed! I can still hear him saying one of his favorite sayings, “Me oh my, I smell apple pie!” Later on, Grandaddy was diagnosed with cancer. During October and early November, Grandaddy’s body was getting tired of fighting. When I would go visit, he would tell Aunt Tricia for me to bring him a frosty from Wendy’s. The night of November 5, 2012, I witnessed something that was so special. Grandaddy hadn’t been able to sit up or eat. He was just laying there struggling to breath. As my Aunt Tricia, my cousin, Nikki, and myself sat with him crying and talking to him, Grandaddy sat up straight in the bed, with his eyes wide open, looked up in the air in amazement, and gracefully laid back as he passed. I was so thankful to be in the room. Grandaddy saw something in that moment the we couldn’t see. It was truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.
I am so thankful that God allowed me to be in the room and witness these moments, even though they were so tough. I am so thankful that my mama and Grandaddy are a part of me and that I am able to use the things that my Mom and Grandaddy taught me about life, working hard, loving others, showing others undeserved grace, forgiveness, to be the kindest person that I can, sing often even if you can’t really sing, and SMILING through the pain. I am so thankful that I can reach inside and find these things when I need them. These things were not only passed down to me from both of them, but to both of my sons also.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:16
Counting My Blessings,