Something was intruding on my dream; there were distant rumbles of thunder coming from an approaching storm, but that was not it. This was more of a high-pitched scritch, scitch, scriiiiitch that repeated itself every few minutes. My heart started pounding, and I knew it was happening again. SOMETHING was in the room. I could hear it shuffling over by Randy’s bed. There it came again, that scratching squeak like somebody dragging their nails over a chalkboard. I lay there frozen in fear of the unknown THING that was creeping up on my bed ever so slowly. Just then the lightning cracked, and I saw very clearly outlined, a wierd shadow of the beast that had come to get me.
This wasn’t the first time that this had happened. Usually if I called for Mama, she came and made all the bad stuff go away. This time my little 5-year-old mind had conjured up a monster that was so evil and big I knew there was only a few seconds left before it got me. I sucked in a lungful of air and gave out a piercing shriek for Mama that let everybody in the family know about the monster. Daddy even knew about it and came flying into the room ready for combat. Mama was right behind him, and when she saw I was not being dismembered or being dragged out the window by the thing, she told Daddy to go back to bed.
After she explained that the scratching sound was a limb on the metal roof, and the shuffling was some paper blowing from the breeze, and the huge beast was only the curtain’s shadow cast by the lightning, my heart got back in my chest and slowed down. Randy was happy that I was quiet again, and Mama knelt beside my bed and prayed to God for the spirit of fear to leave me alone. When Mama prayed, God listened, so I relaxed and drifted off to sleep, calm and serene in the love of Mama and God.
Through the long years after that, there were a lot storms in my life, and each time she assured me that God was watching over me, that all would be well, and that I just needed to pray. As we both got older, I realized she had her own storms in life and helped her pray about those. Last year Dad’s death made me realize the final chapters of Mom’s life were also being written, but I was totally unprepared for God to take her home.
Several of us were talking to her, but then she asked the guys to leave the hospital room. Three minutes after I left she was gone. I went off to a chair in the corner of the waiting room to re-group and try to understand what had just happened. Dad wouldn’t ever let us boys cry so I always pushed emotion way down where it would not get in the way. This time I thought, “Ok, it’s all right to let it go, nobody cares, and this particular storm is overwhelming”. I looked for the sadness to come up and felt some nibbles of it, but I knew Mama was exactly where she wanted to be and that wasn’t a sad thing. I just felt miserable, mostly because I did not get to tell her goodbye.
Then it came to me – I talk to Jesus all the time, His Spirit lives inside me giving me access to eternity. Of course, I’m thinking, I’m in good shape here so turning within, I told Him: “Jesus, she’s right there with you right this minute. Please tell her that I really enjoyed the day today, that I really do love her, and that I will never forget the things she told me about you. Tell her that I’ll do what she asked me to do, and I will always pray, always seek to live in Your Kingdom.” That really felt good. But the good didn’t last long because right behind it came my humanity and deep grief – Mama was gone.
It was then that I realized the little boy was still there way down deep inside. I was scared and alone, and just as the dark clouds started to roll over me, I felt her come beside me and put her arms around me. She whispered: “It’s all right; everything is going to be just fine; I love you, too; don’t forget to pray…” I could feel her smiling, and then she was gone. I just love my Jesus; He’s so good.