I cradled her arm in mine as I wiped her skin with the alcohol pad. As I gently prepared the site for the injection, I trembled as I grasped her loose skin and felt the underlying bone. There was barely any muscle or fat left. Quickly injecting her medication, I hugged her and held her longer than I usually did. “I love you, Mom.”
She smiled. “I love you too, son. Thank you for coming to see me. I love you and I really appreciate you. I’m not afraid to share that with you or anyone anymore.”
My eyes welled up in tears. “Why are you telling me this now?”
“I was always brought up to not share my feelings. But now, I feel free to share these feelings and I want you to know that I have been telling everyone that.”
“I’m so happy you did.” I kissed her and departed Honolulu, returning to Los Angeles. Two days later, my sister called me and shared the expected news: our mother had passed away, succumbing to her stomach cancer.
I was fortunate to have spent the last week with my mother before she passed away. Not everyone is given this privilege. When she first learned of her diagnosis, she told me she was stunned, but then quickly realized that she would now see her Lord sooner than she thought, and this brought her peace and comfort. She was not afraid of what lay ahead. She was secure in her faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
After he said this, he knelt down and prayed with all of them. There were many tears shed by everyone. They embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving most of all over his statement that they would never see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.
Acts 20:36-38 (CSB)
The Apostle Paul was resolute in his desire to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading and return to Jerusalem. He and all of his supporters knew that imprisonment and execution were likely when he arrived there. In fact, the Holy Spirit had informed him in every city along the way that chains and afflictions were awaiting him (Acts 20:23). This only made Paul more determined to complete his mission. He was unafraid of what lay ahead.
The faith of the Apostle Paul and my mother continue to inspire me. Although there was sadness during both of these last goodbyes, they both were confident in the hope and promise that the world cannot give. It is a hope based upon the power of the Resurrection. Jesus Christ conquered death and was resurrected by God. This same power, this same hope, is available to all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
A last goodbye is not a farewell, it is a welcome home from God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.