It was a Monday. It was a week ago that hospice called to say that Mom had passed. When the family gathered in her hospice room, I couldn’t help but feel that the role Mom played as the keeper of the family had been handed to me. Before she had passed, she had called me to leave the couch in her room and come close to her bed. She had told me that I would have to fulfill this role now. I joked around with her about it. Now, in this moment, with the family gathering, it was real. As my niece walked into the room and into my arms to cry, I was overcome with the realization of this new role in my life. Yes, I was now the keeper of the ”Best Damn Dysfunctional Thomas Girls,” as my Mom had lovingly nicknamed her extended family of sisters and their children.
In the days that passed, we were busy doing the things that one must do when a loved one passes. Mortuary. Check. Death certificates ordered. Check. My siblings and I faced the question of a memorial service. With her birthday less than two weeks away, we decided to finally plan that big birthday party we had been wanting to plan before her open heart surgery.
We met with a hospice chaplain about officiating over her memorial. He asked us some general questions about Mom. And it was there, in those moments that my siblings and I were able to see Mom’s subtle transformation. She went from a woman who refused to pray to a woman demanding we pray for her. In her final declaration of faith, she declared herself a Protestant. She didn’t shout it from rooftops. But it was there, nonetheless. Subtle and simple, but true.
Mom’s life had been a constant struggle. Her struggles overflowed to her children, and my siblings and I had our own share. Mom had mentioned to me a few years ago, that she really wished to see her children reconciled before her death. I had told her it would never happen. And yet, Mom saw peace between her children.
Mom’s last days were days of great joy. She loved her family, and she was surrounded by them. The dignity that she longed for all her days, she finally received in her passing.
I couldn’t help but think back to Allison’s wide-eyed astonishment that Grandma Bobbi did not know Jesus. Today, I could confidently say to Allison, “we told Grandma Bobbi about Jesus. And she listened. And she believed. And she changed.”
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. Isaiah, 11:6
Mom’s life all came together in those final days, the wolf (her life’s struggles) of her past was a guest of the lamb, the leopard (her children’s estrangement) lie down with the kid; and then there was our little child to guide us. Good job Allison. In your innocence, you started a chain of events that answered the prayers of two daughters and brought salvation to one of God’s children.
As the day began to wind down, I headed to the hospital once again.
It was a Monday. February 24th, to be exact, at 7:50 p.m. Jaxon Jude Omland, Grandma Bobbi’s newest great-grandson had arrived in our world! Welcome little one. I am convinced that the last week you and Grandma have been together in heaven, while she rocked you in her arms and shared with you crazy stories of the “Best Damn Dysfunctional Thomas Girls” and the family you are lovingly being welcomed into.
Allison’s caterpillars are due to emerge from their chrysalis on March 2nd.
March 2nd is Grandma Bobbi’s birthday and we will be hosting the Best Damn Dysfunctional Birthday Celebration of her life.