Finding Her “People”

January 11, 2010 — 7 Comments

As the phone rang at 5 a.m. I wondered if this was it — the expected, yet unwanted phone call. It was. At 91 years of age, my husband’s mom, Opal, went to bed last Sunday evening and simply awakened on the other side of the veil.

In her latter years, on two separate occasions, Opal lived with us, due to her declining physical and mental health. Dementia was taking it’s toll on her mind and it was difficult watching her daily fight to retain her memory. Often she would spend the entire day piecing together her genealogy and then writing it multiple times in an effort to preserve it. Throughout her quest she needed answers regarding who was still alive and to whom she belonged or had been married to and who her children, grandchildren and friends were. Some days she knew she was living with us and other days she was back in her own home wondering where her wonderful husband, Lloyd had gone. A sense of longing and sadness accompanied this disease and throughout her struggle I began to understand a unique truth.

You see, the memories concerning our relationships to parents, siblings, spouses, children and grandchildren are what make us who we are now. As Opal slowly lost those memories, she also lost her identity. Her place in life was established by who she knew and loved and by those who knew and loved her. Her “people” were the most important part of her life, and as the years went by and the ability to remember them faded — so did she.

There is a phrase found in the Old Testament when it speaks of the death of a patriarch or matriarch which says, “. . . and he was gathered to his people.” Although my understanding of heaven is limited, I gain immense peace as I imagine Jesus coming to Opal while she slept, gathering her in His loving arms and bringing her to all her loved ones who had gone before her. It surely had to have been an incredible reunion. For at long last she had found “her people”!

To God be the glory!

7 responses to Finding Her “People”

  1. Very sweet Cheri. She was blessed to have you as a daughter in law. Awesome writing! With so much love.

  2. Cheri:
    Your words bring me to tears for having experienced the same loss on this side of heaven, I know there is great gain for our parents who are with our precious Lord at this moment.

    May you, Don & your families sense the arms of Jesus embracing you with His peace and love today.

    My love to you all, Wendy

  3. Cheri, what a beautiful tribute to your mom-in-law. To think she is with her savior and all the people she loves is amazing.
    I had bookmarked your blog earlier as I so enjoyed it and love seeing where friends are "now".
    Thanks for sharing. May you find peace and comfort in the arms of our Lord.
    Hugs to you and your family.
    Marilyn (Perry)

  4. I believe this is the most beautiful testimony I've ever read. You said it all.

  5. This was so touching and beautiful, Cheri.

  6. Cheri,

    What a beautiful post.

    I love the way you tied that statement from the Old Testament into your mother in law's home going. I think also it is insightful to see that as she lost her memory she lost herself. I can see the truth in that.

    I am sorry for the loss to your family.

  7. Cheri!

    Thank you for the way you loved and honored my mom by the way you lived your life with compassion towards her. Your words simply reflected your heart and I love and honor you for that!!!


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