When my daddy passed away five years ago, we gave our family the gift of Hospice care. We chose inpatient care because I wanted my mother to be a wife and partner to my dad, rather than a caregiver. This meant they could spend time together holding hands and loving each other, rather than her needing to attend to his physical needs. I am so glad we decided to afford them the sweet, precious moments to say goodbye.
A few days before Daddy became unresponsive, he began having conversations with people we could not see. He’d fidget with his clothing, or pull at his hospital gown. He would even stare off into space as if he was looking at something. He was at the point of sleeping most of the day with very little awake time and couldn’t respond with words. One night, I sent Mother home and stayed with Daddy. As I sat by his bedside, I could see his lips moving very slowly, but with no sound or distress. I leaned in and said, “I wish I could see what you see. Is there someone here with you. Do you see Jesus?” He didn’t reply, but I feel in my heart that his week had been full of visits with important people, perhaps those waiting for his earthly body to catch up with his heavenly one. We encouraged his conversations and the belief that he could see things we didn’t.
About a year ago, a dear friend from church, Dana, was experiencing the decline of her mother’s health, specifically to dementia. While my dad didn’t have dementia, I felt like there had to be a similarity in the things our parents were seeing. I shared with her my conversation I had with Daddy, and encouraged Dana to take the time to do the same with her mother.
A beautiful thing happened. Her mother responded with a clarity she hadn’t been able to show Dana in some time. This past June, Dana’s mother passed away. Dana emailed me the most beautiful poem she had written for her mother and with her permission I am sharing it with you. Thank you Dana for blessing us with your words.
Glimpses of Heaven
Dementia got its grip on Mother
Conversation exchanges were now rare.
Memories and thoughts seemed stolen from
the one I held so dear.
Ask your Mother what she sees when off into space she stares
A wise suggestion from a friend with experience
You might be surprised what you learn when
visiting with your mom again.
Praying to God for the opportunity to see the one who gave
birth to me just one more time
“Permission granted,” was His answer
“Go seek and see what you find.”
Once the noon meal was over I noticed her staring off at the wall.
The chance to ask the question arose.
So, even somewhat frightened I asked, “Mom, are you looking
“Oh, I see a beautiful place” with a look of astonishment on her face.
“And there are lots of people there
and they ALL seem to be okay!”
Realizing that this illness had robbed her of nothing
But only given Jesus His space to show Mom glimpses of Heaven
Preparing her for His grace.
Dana Cook – 6/19/16
Dana is working on developing a webpage to publish this and many other poems she has been called by God to write.