It’s Not How You Start. It’s How You Finish

I sat by her bed.

Her hand swollen…full…unmoving.

Feet that danced just a few weeks ago now stilled.

Arms that lifted just a short time ago now limp.

Words that spilled easily just a moment ago now haulted.

How could life seep away so quickly, right before my eyes?

Mom was ready.

But I wasn’t.

On July 29th , mom called to tell me she was going to the emergency room. She had abdominal pain and couldn’t stop throwing up. I had just been at her house four days before, and this was something new.

“She has an ileus,” the doctor explained. “Part of her intestines has stopped working. But her heart isn’t strong enough to survive surgery. If her intestines don’t start working on their own, she will die.”

Four weeks into the sitting and waiting, it looked like mom was going to get to go Home. Not to her little brick house in the colonial neighborhood…the one with cedar shingles, cobblestone street, and white picket fence where she had lived for over twenty-five years, but her home in a celestial neighborhood with familiar faces, golden streets, and the presence of God. Mom was ready. She had been planning the party for quite sometime.

I gently held her fluid filled hand

Sky-blue eyes looked off into the distance. Her mind replaying bits and pieces of life.

“Mom, whatcha thinking about?” I asked.

“It’s not how you start. It’s how you finished,” she whispered.

“Who told you that,” I asked with a knowing smile.

“You did,” she replied.

“I love you, mom.”

“I love you more,” she countered.

Mom had regrets. We all do…if we’re honest.

But she finished well. She had made sure that her grandkids, extended family and I knew we were loved. She had made preparations of her passing as easy as possible for me, the lone child responsible for all the details. She loved Jesus and was thrilled to get to see Him face-to-face.

The last week of her life, I was having a bit of a crying spell. Mom had requested the doctors remove all the machines, all the tubes, all the medications. “Comfort care.” That’s what they called it.

“Well mom, it looks like you’re going to get to see Jesus before I do.”

And in a quick wit that served her well to the end, she teased with a twinkle in her eye, “Are you jealous?”

And to be honest…I was.

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I miss you, mom. See you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47 Responses to It’s Not How You Start. It’s How You Finish

  1. Robin October 23, 2014 at 4:40 am #

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing. Praying that the live of family and friends continue to soothe your aching heart. My mother and beloved grandmother passed in the same year only months apart. I know the “see you soon” hurts. Sending you LOVE.

  2. Cindy October 23, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    I have missed reading your devotions. I knew you were taking care of your mom- I am also dealing with this season of life with my 90 yr old mom- sorry for your loss- she is at peace now.

  3. Lisa Shinault October 23, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    Prayers for you! I lost my mom in January of this year. I don’t think I have really grieved yet! I’m not a crier and I think that hurts me at times! Mom was ready! Had been since my father passed in 2001. He was buried on 9/11.
    Thanks for your words! I love reading what all you ladies write! You pick me up, you make me cry and you open my eyes!

    Love in Christ,

    Lisa

  4. Pat Cheel October 23, 2014 at 6:18 am #

    Ms Sharon, I am so sorry for your loss. May the Lord comfort you and bring you peace in knowing that your Mother is with Him. May He bring an extra measures of His strength in the monhs to come. Prayers are with you.

  5. Alicia C. October 23, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    Thank God, what truly matters is how we finish. Thank you Sharon for sharing this story about your beautiful Mother.

  6. lucinda October 23, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    Thanks for this post Sharon. I, too, had my mom join the church triumphant in the last 30 days. While it’s hard, I know that she is cancer-free, singing, dancing, and loving life in heaven!! I write with tears in my eyes but do believe, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers for your loss and heaven’s gain! I pray that you feel God’s love and hugs surrounding you through your friends, stories, and family.

  7. Belinda October 23, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    Dear Sharon,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I was missing your emails and now I understand. Thank you for sharing your life and loss. We can rejoice that your mom is with Jesus and still be sad that she has left your physical presence. I’m sure you can still hear her voice. Praying for peace & God’s blessings. Belinda

  8. Janet Gallo October 23, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Three years ago, I sat with my Mom . She was doing comfort care due to kidney failure and a failing heart. She was able to see all of her children, grandchildren and her living siblings. All of them were told how important they were to her and how she had no regrets. She knew The Lord and was at peace with all of it. She was a gracious example for all of us . She finished triumphantly. A woman loved by all.. Every day I miss her but hope tp live my life by her example!

  9. Sharon October 23, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    Oh my heart goes out to you. Thanks for sharing your beautiful Mom. Hugs and blessings, Xs

  10. Anita October 23, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Hi Sharon,

    I’m so sorry. With you in your pain and grief. Praising Jesus for your mom is safely home. May you feel His arms of love and comfort wrapped around you, and carrying you on your hardest days. Love and blessings.

  11. Shirley October 23, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    This is beautiful, Sharon! I have tears in my eyes. Your Mom has received her crown of glory.

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  12. Brenda October 23, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    You are so blessed that your mother was godly and you had a great relationship. I know you will always cherish the memories you made together. I always longer for that with my mother but has never happened. She is not in good health so I don’t know how much longer she will be here. Only God knows how long I’ve tried to build a solid relationship with her .
    Be blessed!!
    Thank you for your devotions. I look forward to them.
    Brenda Schank

  13. Barb Beamish October 23, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    Dear Sharon
    My sincere heartfelt condolences in the loss of your mom…..no words can fully express our sorrow but God has put words to our joy in knowing He has always held us close to Him in this life and He is our heavenly father who welcomes us home after our earthly journey! Heaven IS home!
    Praying for you and your family at this sad and difficult time.
    Sending a BIG HUG and love
    God bless you, Sharon.
    PS—glad you are back I missed you my friend
    Love
    Barb

  14. Crystal October 23, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    I’m so sorry, Sharon. Our hearts weren’t made to say goodbye. Thank you for sharing your sweet story and your beautiful heart. God bless you and your family as you walk through this transition.

    Love & Prayers

  15. Angela Cox October 23, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    Absolutely precious! We will all see your mom one day. Thank you for sharing this with us … may God bless you with His peace knowing this.

  16. Paige October 23, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I’m so sorry, Sharon, I know you will miss her. I’m so happy she is with Jesus. A servant He welcomes in his arms immediately. This is not our home. She is finally home. I pray for sweet memories of her in your heart this week and strength for you to do the necessary things and to let your heart hurt and begin to heal. Lord, be with Sharon this week as she goes through the necessary steps to lay her Mom to rest. How thankful we are that she is home with you without a thought of hurt or sadness. I pray you give Sharon supernatural strength to get through and your peace and comfort as she mourns. Just love on she and her family this week. Amen.

  17. Pat DeGruchy October 23, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    So sorry Sharon to hear of the loss of your Mom. Friends, others pass away but there is something about losing your Mom. Please be comforted by God’s presence and power and know that you are not alone in this. Others care for you too!
    Pat

  18. Connie Brown October 23, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Hi Sharon,

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    And thank you for sharing with us this story of your mom’s passing. It’s a beautiful peaceful picture of what our end of days could look like! No fear, just Jesus.

    Connie

  19. Toni October 23, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    What a wonderful post, Sharon! I am so sorry for your loss, and I pray the God of peace be with you. I, like you, await the time when we will never have to say goodbye to loved ones again. What a joyful hope we have in Jesus!

    God bless!

    <3 Toni

  20. Gaelle October 23, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Bittersweet. Thanks for sharing your heart Sharon. Your mom was complete. God’s not finished with us yet! Big hug to you!!!!

  21. Sarah October 23, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    Such a moving post. Thank you, Sharon, for sharing something so fresh, and something that must have been so difficult to write.

    I’m also enjoying your Power of a Woman’s Words Bible-study.

    Praying God’s comfort for you at this time especially.

  22. Jane Brizendine October 23, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Sharon, as I read this my eyes filled with tears. So similar to how I lost my Mom. Mother was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and given about 3 to 4 months to live. Like your Mother Mom made sure she told my brother and I how much she loved us. She tried to get all her affairs in order which were mostly done anyway. She asked what I needed to learn to cook yet etc. She lived 3 weeks from the time of her diagnosis. The last week in a hospital and only one day alert then slipped into a coma. She made her decision to turn off antibiotics for pneumonia which was diagnosed after 24 hours in the hospital. We kept a morphine drip for her comfort as she was in much pain. Her last words to me was Janie your a good daughter I love you. She closed her eyes and I thought she was going to take a nap so I held her hand but she did not wake up. One week later she died on September 11, 2007. I love you Mom and I miss you.

  23. Sharla Fritz October 23, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    So sorry to hear of your loss, Sharon. May God bless you with the comfort and peace of His presence.

  24. Sheryl October 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Thank you………………………….

  25. Bonnie October 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Oh, Sharon, what a moving description; I’m so sorry for your loss. The 10th anniversary of my dad’s death just happened…how does ten years pass so quickly? I will see him again!

  26. Ileana October 23, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    I knew you will make a great return like this one!
    Jesus is the one who gives comfort in our pain. But hopefully will help to know that we are sorry for your loss. I’ve missed you.

  27. Melissa October 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. As I read your email, I could see myself in your story. My mom went to be with our Lord 3 years ago. She was in hospice care for 3 months before her passing. During that time, we would sit beside her and pray. My comfort came from knowing that she wouldn’t be in pain much longer, and that she would finally be with Jesus. Many times I still want to talk to her, and share with her the good and bad. She was my rock and showed me through example how to follow God. I was truly blessed to have a Godly mother that was obedient to God. We can both rejoice in knowing that our Moms are praising God today!

  28. Carletta October 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your post made me cry because it was so close to my heart. My Dad passed away a little over a month ago from an abdominal aneurysm. It was expected, but it was still hard to accept when it happened. He was 89. My Mom died of lung cancer 12 years ago at the age of 77. As old as I am, I still cry and feel lost without them, but I know that one day we will all be together again. I know that because I know how they started is not how they finished. I am praying for you and your family. May God bless all of you.

  29. Debbie October 23, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    I am so sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing these beautiful words. They brought tears to my eyes because my 100-yr-old mom went home just last month too. She had a wonderful, faith-filled life, and while it’s sad not to have Mom physically with us any longer, it’s a joyful sadness because I know she is with the Lord, singing in that heavenly choir, and dancing with my dad again!

    At her memorial service last Saturday, I shared a memory from a close friend. At the end of all their visits, Mom would never say “goodbye” – that was too final. Instead, she made it a point to always say, “Until next time”, because she knew – whether on this side of heaven, or there – they’d see each other again! I know we’ll both see our mom’s again – and what a glorious homecoming and reunion it will be! Blessings

  30. Sarah October 24, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    Deepest sympathies, Sharon!! I am saddened to hear of the loss of your beautiful mother and will have you in my prayers often. This is a difficult chapter in life. :(. I pray that our Savior will shine His light on this painful path of grief you are experiencing. And that you’ll feel the comfort of His hand guiding you through it. —- I celebrate with you, my sister in Christ, God’s gracious gift of eternal life with Him and our loved ones, in the very near future!! Praise Jesus!!

  31. Nicole Sequera October 24, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Good Morning Sharon,

    I am so sorry for your loss….but now your mom is safe in the arms of Jesus. I will be praying for you and your family during this difficult time. God bless you!

    Nicole

  32. Donna Goodrich October 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    Sharon, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, but glad you were able to be there. I sat with my mom in Michigan for 3 weeks, then had to return to Arizona. She passed away a week later, and is now singing in heaven’s choir. Prayers for you and your family!

  33. Rita Perrello October 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Dear Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing your lovely story about your Mom. You must have had a wonderful
    relationship with her. It’s not easy losing her (I know–I lost my mom 10 years ago. It was
    the worst thing that happened to me at that time), but we both know that they are in a
    wonderful place at “Home” and that gives comfort to us.
    May God bless you and your family at this time and always.
    Rita

    Thanks for all your help in dealing with life.

  34. Rita Perrello October 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Dear Sharon,
    Thank you for your lovely story about your Mom. What a wonderful relationship you must have had with her. It’s not easy to lose your mom for now (I know–I’ve been there), but
    we know that they are in a wonderful place “Home”. Just being aware of God’s Presence
    in our lives makes it better.
    Thanks for all your sharings.
    God bless you and your family

  35. Rita Perrello October 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Dear Sharon,
    Thank you for your lovely story about your Mom. What a wonderful relationship you must have had with her. It’s not easy to lose your mom for now (I know–I’ve been there), but
    we know that they are in a wonderful place “Home”. Just being aware of God’s Presence
    in our lives makes it better.
    Thanks for all your sharings.
    God bless you and your family

  36. Susan October 25, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    I sit here with tears… I am so sorry for your loss.. This week I am in the place of watching my mom struggle to leave this earth. It has been so hard to see her struggle.. So hard to know soon she will be gone. How blessed we were to have kind, loving mothers. I will be praying for you.. Knowing the times of adjustment ahead…

  37. Dawn October 26, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Greetings Sharon,

    I’m very sorry for the loss of your beautiful mother. My heart and prayers wrap around you.

    Love and Shalom Peace,
    Dawn

    PS. Thank you for sharing this sweet story of your precious mom.

  38. Sheri October 26, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Hello Dear,
    A so sorry for your lose and thankful at same time that she knew The Lord .
    God almighty will give you the strength to continue running the race without your mother by your side.
    We your fans love you. You’re a gift from God to me and lots of women.

  39. Dawn October 26, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Greetings Sharon,

    I’m very sorry for the loss of your beautiful mother. My heart and prayers wrap around you.

    Love and Shalom Peace,
    Dawn

    PS. Thank you for sharing this sweet story of your precious mom

  40. Claudia L. Mobley October 27, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    God bless you, Sharon. Now rest in His peace. She is in the arms of Jesus. Blessing!

  41. Dawn October 28, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Greetings Sharon. I’m very sorry for the loss of your beautiful mother. My heart and prayers wrap around you. Love and Shalom Peace, Dawn. PS. Thank you for sharing this sweet story of your precious mom.

  42. Cindy Montgomery October 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    Sharon I am so sorry to hear about your mom, but glad she home with our father. The picture you put was beautiful. I’ll be praying for you and your family. God be with
    Cindy M

  43. Betty October 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Thank you for such comforting words. You are in my prayers. I know my time will be coming and want to leave comfort to my family, not sorrow! Looking forward to meeting your mom and our father!

  44. Gladys October 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these precious moments. God bless you.

  45. Wendy Trunz November 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your words in this post are so precious to me, as I live next door to my parents, and am the primary caretaker. My dad has come back from a major stroke, and my mom is diabetic, has just had a toe amputation, and struggles with her breathing, from so many years of smoking in the past. I can’t imagine the day I must say good bye to her, and I’m always trying to help her fight to live and find her purposes in each day, but it’s hard, when you see an older person just yearn to be in heaven with Jesus and those whom have already gone…knowing that there will no longer be pain or sickness or pricking your finger so many times a day to check your sugar…etc. I’m just not ready to say goodbye yet, I love her so much,and I pray that the Lord can show her that she still has wonderful purposes here as long as her heart is still beating. So hard as they get older, and feel more and more helpless, when they used to be the ones who took care of so many. Thank you for this beautiful post. What a gift to be there, holding her hand, loving her til she took her last breath here…. as you ushered her into the arms of Jesus. What a gift, and praising God for His promise that you will one day be reunited with her for eternity!

    • Sharon Jaynes November 19, 2014 at 7:47 am #

      It was a gift. I’ve really been thinking about her a lot this week.

  46. Alyssa January 5, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    My beloved granny, aunt and uncle all passed away within 15 months of each other for various reasons. Even my cat who I had nursed and taken care of for the past four months with epilepsy, just passed away at the end of October. Death again, grief again. Hitting too close to home again.
    Christmas/Eve was hard, reflecting on all the people I’d like to be here, and all the ones that were but who it wasn’t the same with.
    To feel beloved and accepted and valued and even needed is so special. I don’t know when I will see them again but they will always remain valued and valuable to me.
    It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this.
    I pray for God’s fullness in your grief and loss.

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