A Letter to Mama in Heaven

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Oh Mama… are you watching from heaven? Your sweetheart, your husband of 61 years, isn’t doing very well. He got so sick. And he was refusing to go to the doctor. We were so scared. Then finally he agreed to go the emergency room. It was just in the nick of time. They said he would have died that night if he hadn’t gone to the hospital.

Yesterday he was moved to rehab. But he’s still so weak. He was strong for you, Mama. Just a few years ago he was still helping you walk down the hall. He was still cleaning you up and bringing you food and helping you eat.

He was still cuddling you and telling you how much he loved you. He was still singing “You are My Sweetheart” to the tune of “You are My Sunshine.” He was so strong, Mama.

Now he is weak. He has a hard time feeding himself. He has a hard time sitting up. He has a hard time being alive.

He told me last night he wished he had died when he got so sick. Then he could be with you again. Then he wouldn’t have to go through all this. Then he could be in Heaven with his sweetheart. He loves you so. He told me not to be selfish, wanting to keep him here.

I guess I am selfish, Mama. I’m not ready to have you both gone. His mind is still strong, even though his eyesight, and hearing and body have become so weak.

But he still knows me. And he knows the memories we’ve made over a lifetime together. The memories that melted away from you in your last years with us.

I know you will both be together someday again. I’m so thankful you both knew and trusted Jesus, so we have no doubts about this. I don’t fear Daddy passing. I’m just not ready for it yet. 

And maybe I don’t have to be. God numbers our days. He is in control. And Daddy was a strong man. If he’s willing to live he can get strong again, with God’s help.

I want more time with him, so I can make sure he knows how loved he is. For so many years we were focused on you, Mama. Daddy was too. We were all concentrating our energies on taking care of you. And I’m so glad we did. And we have many precious memories because of it.

But then you passed on and we’ve all been mourning you, Mama. And I still haven’t given Dad as much time as I’d wish, because I’ve been grieving and weak.

Now he needs me. And I want to bring him comfort and strength. And I want him to know how very loved he is. But this whole thing is so hard, Mama. It breaks my heart to see him suffering and weak and struggling.

Yet, I feel your love with us. Your sister has been calling from across the country, to check on Dad. And Uncle Walter too. And something about hearing their sweet southern accents brings you close, and it’s like a soft mama hug.

Their calls remind me of all the love you gave for years. I think of all the evenings you spent making long-distant phone calls, checking in on your people. And now they are checking in on us. And it almost feels like a call from you, Mama. The love you gave out so generously is returning to us. And it is a gentle comfort.

And so many people are praying for us, Mama. And God is sending tender mercies. He blesses us with something every day it seems… a card of encouragement, a home baked treat, a meal, flowers, some messages, help with caring for my mother-in-law, a friendly visit, kind doctors and nurses…

And God blessed me with the most amazing husband. When I was too emotionally and physically exhausted, Jeff had me stay home and spent the day at the hospital with Dad himself! He does so much to help!

I’m trying to notice the little daily mercies and thank God for them. They don’t solve the crisis, but they remind me of God’s presence and love. And since God is with us, and His grace holds us up, I know we will be okay.

Are you watching from Heaven, Mama? We are doing our best to take care of your sweetheart. Until he holds you in his arms again.

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13 comments

  1. Keeping you and your beloved father in my thoughts and prayers. May God strengthen and comfort you! My parents are approaching 80 and I’m dreading the time that I lose one or both of them. I show them as much love as I can every single day. And I thank God that he had given us so many years together 💗 Thanks for your words, I always enjoy reading them.

  2. You touched my heart. My situation is so similar — my father caring for my mother when she had Alzheimer’s, so tenderly and faithfully that there were times I wished everyone could see it, because that’s what love looks like. And now, I’m caring for him and it’s so so hard.

    This is a lovely piece. Thank you for writing it.

    1. I’m sorry, Sally. We have so much in common. I just came home from visiting my dad at the rehab facility. It’s breaking my heart all he’s going through. And I realize now how comforting it was when I took care of Mom and left, knowing that she always had Dad right there with her. I’m praying for God’s grace and peace for our fathers and us!

      God bless you, Sally!

  3. I am sitting here with tears falling because this describes my life right now. Mom suffered with Alzheimers and dad would go every day and sit all day at the nursing home with her. Mom has been gone 9 years. Dad is 92 and he tells me every day he wants to go be with Mom, he loved her so much. I moved my dad close to me last year to take care of him. I have been sick for a week and have not been able to go see him, he calls me everyday (sometimes more than once) asking when am I going to go see him because he misses me. It is breaking my heart that I can’t go right now because I know he is so lonely. Thank you for sharing your heart and saying so eloquently what we feel.

    1. Reba, I know it’s so hard. I was sick for two weeks and couldn’t see my Dad. And then I got well just in time for him to go the hospital! I was thankful I was able to be there when he really needed me anyway.
      It is so hard to see our loved ones lonely and suffering. But it sounds like we are both blessed with special dads who loved our moms so beautifully. Praying that God gives us all grace in this stage of life, too. God bless you, Reba. ~Cheryl

  4. A beautifully written letter to your Mama, and wonderful tribute to your Dad. Reading it through my tears, I was reminded that there are so many people walking this same road in life. Thank you for giving a voice to so many through your writing. Your writing gives me the incentive I need to keep blogging about my own journey with my sweet Momma in the hopes that it will lift and encourage someone else, as you have me. I’m taking time right now to lift you up in prayer, asking Him to prepare your heart for your Dad’s homegoing and to give you sweet joy and precious memories as you await that day. God bless you, Cheryl.

    1. Thank you so much, Barefoot Lily Lady! Your encouragement means so much to me! And I love that you are encouraged to continue your own blogging! Than you especially for your prayers. they have made a difference! I really thought we were losing Dad, but he has regained strength and is in rehab now! He still has a couple of surgeries to go, but we are so hopeful now! God bless you!!

  5. What a hard, hard season you are going through. My heart goes out to you. I am and have been going through similar experiences and it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. God Bless you.

    1. It is so hard. My heart goes out to you, also! I look for God’s grace every day, and He is faithful even as I pray through tears and heartache. God bless you, too!

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