I’ve mentioned before that I took care of my mother in our home in her last years. She was in the last stages of diabetes the whole time. She was for most of her life an extremely fearful person, but in her last years she showed remarkable courage in her fight with diabetes and the enemy—death.
During those fourteen years, I watched as she lost her left leg, then her vision, then her kidneys, then her right leg, then her life. When she went into the hospital the last time, she was facing the loss of her only remaining leg. The morning before the surgery, my aunt had come in from Louisiana, my pastor and his wife were there, and several friends of mine who helped me with Mother’s care during the last few years. We surrounded her bed, held hands and prayed and sang hymns until they came for her for the surgery.
She came through the surgery very well except for some reason, which I can no longer remember, she could not speak. It was as though she had had a stroke, but she had not. The doctor said it was something that would definitely pass.
Several days after her surgery, I was sitting with her and she was having dialysis. I spoke with the doctor about options for extended care facilities. I fed her supper. Then before I left, I asked her if she would like to pray the Apostles’ Creed together. She nodded and tried to speak, but couldn’t. I knelt down by her bed, rested my arms and head on her abdomen and began to recite the creed.
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.”
As I prayed, I heard faint murmurings from her lips and knew she was praying with me. Then as I neared the end of the prayer, I noticed a strong warmth coming from her body. Within what seemed like minutes she was bright red and burning with severe high fever. I called for the nurse who immediately called for the doctors. They quickly whisked her off to pack her in ice. It was the last I saw Mother alive. She died several hours later of heart failure.
I didn’t know that she would die that night. I have often since thought what a beautiful last prayer to pray—the ultimate affirmation of what we believe as Christians. How fitting to affirm our faith in our triune God before we pass into His presence.
A Music Link: There is a Fountain by Selah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMcG0JclK-A