The night my mother died, Daddy and my three older siblings were there with her. After she died, holding Daddy's hand, he stayed there with her for 20 minutes, stroking her forearm, keeping the skin warm.
When Taylor and I arrived the next day, he told us how she died and how peaceful it was. He said that at one point she looked straight ahead of her and said, "They won't let me go." So Daddy said, "Well, Jeanette, you have my permission." Soon after that, she closed her eyes and died. He told us about stroking her arm and how, in those 20 minutes, he thought about how much work it was to keep her skin warm, even so small a space, even so soon after she died. "It took the power of God to keep the rest of her warm," he said.
We spent last Christmas at my parents' house. It was a beautiful Christmas, even though Momma kept saying she felt like it would be her last (Our Mother, the Prophetess). I cried the day we left. I couldn't control it. I just hugged her and cried... maybe because I missed her already. I'm so thankful for that hug. I will remember it forever. She asked, "Oh, Annie! are you crying because you think you'll never see me again?" I told her no, that I just loved her and would miss her very much. But I think my heart was yelling "YES! That's why you're crying!" I think that's also why I went to visit them for a weekend in February for the CCD congress... a short ten days before she died.
There are so many blessings in this world, confused and distorted as it is. I am thankful for the lively warmth of those I love--the physical warmth of their presence in a hug or holding hands, and the residual warmth their love sustains after they have died. I am thankful for (soggy) hugs and final partings. I am thankful for the stirrings of the Spirit that move us to tears, to longing, to hasty weekend trips, and spontaneous happy memories.