Today I will close the final chapter on my Mother's life. Today I will close on the sale of her home.
Mother passed away CHRISTmas day, 2015, yet in many ways I began to say goodbye to her long before that. When a person has dementia, you begin to lose them a little bit at a time. Until you have experienced the devastation of this disease, it is difficult to comprehend how much memory loss affects a person's life.
At first it is just little things, like remembering where they put things....which we all do from time to time. Or forgetting what someone said or what stories they have told, thereby causing them to repeat themselves again and again. But then it begins to affect more serious things like how to perform certain tasks such as paying bills and cooking a meal. It is heartbreaking to watch someone who was so smart begin to be unable to do simple things. Then the decision making begins to deteriorate and more and more they become the child and you become the parent, a role you never wanted. Little by little the person they were begins to slip away...you are beginning the long goodbye.
I was more fortunate than a lot of people. Heart disease took my mother long before the dementia did. I am so thankful that she never got to the place where she did not know me or her family. I am thankful that she had not forgotten how to eat or to speak. I am thankful that I got to hear her say “I love you” one last time before she left this earth.
But as the dementia began to rob her of more and more capabilities, it became apparent it was no longer safe for her to live alone at home. So we faced another goodbye as I drove her out of her driveway for the last time in March 2015, knowing at the end of the day she would be moving into assisted living, never to return to her home again. It was a hard day because she did not know that she had said her last goodbye to her home but I did. On a happier note though, her new home was a blessing to her in so many ways. She had a new apartment in a beautiful place with loving people who cared for her so well. She met lots of new friends and it was a joy to come and find her sitting with them talking in the halls or dining room instead of sitting in her darkened living room alone at her home. She touched many lives there with her kindness and generosity. She was eating regularly and getting her medicine as needed. She was well cared for and safe and that was a huge blessing to me. I thank God for the wonderful people at Culpepper Place (now known as Hearthside) and cannot say enough good things about them.
Her heart disease was worsening and it caused her to be hospitalized in early December 2015. Again, when she left Culpepper that night she had no idea she would never return....neither did I. It was another unexpected goodbye. I really thought that she would return in a few days, but the Lord had other plans for her. After 12 days in the hospital it became apparent that her journey was nearing its end. She said goodbye to the hospital but hello to Hospice House.
Saying goodbye is difficult and expected. What is not expected is how difficult a hello can be. Driving into Hospice House with her was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life because I knew it was the beginning of the end. I knew it was where I would say the final goodbye to her and I was not ready for that. But God was so gracious and merciful. He gave us 10 days to prepare us for her homegoing and he put precious, caring staff there to help us through those difficult days.
We said goodbye to her on CHRISTmas afternoon. It was hard. Losing your mother is always hard. There are no words to describe that loss. Yet it was a blessing that she was no longer suffering. She was at peace. She was with her Savior. And best of all, although it was a time of parting, it is only temporary. This goodbye is really more of a “See ya later”, because I WILL see my Mother again one day in Heaven. That gives me great peace and was what sustained us all through the letting go of her earthly self.
But, her home remained and I have been in the process of selling it now for a year and a half. This place she loved so much that she refused to leave even when it was in her best interest. This place that she had cultivated and nurtured with her green thumb, growing daylilies by the hundreds. She cared for this 6 acres up until she left it that March. She had been unable in the end to do all the things she loved doing, but she still managed to get out there and pick up limbs or deadhead lilies or do something in her yard every day.
She had not been a gardener til after she retired. A friend had given her a few daylilies and soon she was hooked. She even joined the Lily Club with her sister and together they began to collect one variety after another til both of their yards were filled with God's beauty. Her yard was featured on Channel 3's Saturday morning garden show 2 years in a row....one of the greatest compliments to her of her life. The Lily Club brought bus loads of people to see her lilies and other smaller clubs came as well. She loved showing them off and quoting Matthew 6:28-29 to them “Consider the lilies, they toil not, neither do they spin, yet Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like ONE of these!” She would be careful to point out to them the intricacies of the bloom and then say “And God made all of this beauty in this ONE bloom just for us to enjoy today. And tomorrow, He will make another one equally beautiful for us to enjoy.” She not only shared them by having people come and view them, but she relished sharing them with people who admired them. She tried selling them, but she would much rather just give them away. That was my mother.
For this past year and a half many people have come through looking at her house and property. There have been several who attempted to purchase it, but each time it would fall through for one reason or another. It was discouraging and frustrating to say the least. But I had continually prayed for God to bring just the right family to this place that my Mother loved so much. And each time that a contract would fall apart and I would be disappointed, my sweet daughter would always say, “God has someone He wants in this house, and when it's time, He will lead them to it.” She was right and He did. His timing is not our timing.
Today a sweet young couple and their 4 month old baby girl will take possession of my mother's home. They are in love with this house and SO excited with all the plans they have for it. It gives me great joy to know that they are the ones who will be living there.
One of my granddaughters loved playing beneath the huge magnolia tree in the backyard and I so hope that this little girl will one day make it her hideout as well.
Even so, saying goodbye to this place today will be hard. It is closing the last chapter of Mother's life.....the last goodbye.
She has had her last goodbye. She will never have to say goodbye again. She is in her eternal home.... one that is more beautiful than she could have ever imagined. She is in the presence of her Lord and Savior, being loved and cherished forever more. She has a mansion no earthly dwelling could compare to and it is hers eternally. One day I will join her and there will be no more goodbyes. Hallelujah!! To God be the Glory!