Remembering Mom’s Passing Gift
The following was written March 7, 2011. I share it today in memory of my late mother who went to be with the Lord September, 2013. A few words have been edited to reflect the passage of time, otherwise it is as originally written.
It’s interesting what we remember and when we remember certain things. I was sitting beside my mother’s hospital bed, gently stroking her forehead and brow. Barely responsive, with tubes to hydrate her and wires connecting her to machines that monitored her every vital function, she was literally passing before my eyes.
Mom was fighting to hang on, and as I watched her struggle, I wondered how I would feel, what void would be left when she passed? Many thoughts involving death crossed my mind that evening, including those of my own mortality. I wondered what it would be like when my own time came. Would it be similar to what mom was experiencing? Who would be around me, or would I be alone?
As I thought about eternity, and in “Whom” I had placed my faith pursuant to same, I remembered a question a self-professed atheist had once asked me: “Isn’t taking solace in nothing – nothing?” My response to him had been: “That, my friend, is a question you must answer for yourself.”
As I watched my mother clinging to life, I realized I wasn’t afraid of death. I realized I am prepared because, when my last breath is taken here on earth, my first will be taken with, and in the presence of, my Lord. I was taking solace in “He” who keeps my soul.
Here’s my point. I was experiencing one of the most profoundly personal moments of my life. I was facing finality. Death had been making the rounds on my mother’s floor in the ICCU that evening – but the sting of his presence was gone, because my fear of the unknown was gone. By faith, I had made a cathexis, not only in eternal-life assurance, but also where and with “Whom” I would spend it.
As I looked at my mother, I knew that I wasn’t remotely ready to die, but more importantly, I realized I wasn’t afraid of dying. It was one of the most deeply moving personal experiences I had had with Jesus since becoming a Christian. I knew that I could say with confidence that I wasn’t afraid of dying, that death truly wasn’t the end – it was the beginning.
My mother didn’t pass that night and, contrary to the opinions of her ghoulish, impersonal doctors, I gave explicit instructions for her to be treated as aggressively as necessary to give her every opportunity to live.
As I [wrote] this eight days later, I [realized] that in the [then]-waning moments of her life she [had] been blessed to share one more pearl of understanding with me. God used her to reinforce that I needn’t be afraid, that my faith, my “solace” is in “Something and Someone” who is real.
The day following that evening was my cousin’s funeral. He had passed just a couple days prior. I would be unable to attend his funeral, because that same day I was scheduled to debate Al Sharpton, Marc Morial and Walter Fauntroy at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Only four people knew the drama being played out in my life as I arrived in D.C. and prepared for my debate. As I would later say, I fully expected to receive a call during the debate informing me that my mother had passed.
Some would later comment on the strength it took to get through that day. I say, it wasn’t strength – it was assurance. It was the reality of that assurance that God shared with me through my mother the night before.
Don’t get me wrong – I was feeling the weight of her impending passing, even as I [remember that moment] now. I didn’t want to lose my mother here on earth yet. I wished I could turn the clock of her life back to a time when she was vibrant and strong. It was and is painful looking at the face of someone so dear, which then showed all of her 92 years. It hurts as I now realize that the one thing I regret most and cannot change in my life, is not sharing more time with her. She deserved more from me. She was always there for me no matter what.
But, thanks to God’s working through her, the words of Fannie Crosby’s hymn – “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine … echoes of mercy, whispers of love, I in my Savior am happy and blest … watching and waiting, looking above” – have a more personal meaning than ever before.
I’m glad for every additional day mom was with me here on earth, but what a comfort to know I’ll see her in eternity. And mom, allowing that you do pass before me – when you get to heaven, please find grandmom and tell her I look forward to worshipping God throughout eternity with you both. I love you much, young lady.
Postscript: My mother would pass away nearly three years later just months before what would have been her 95th birthday.
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here