My wife, Sandy and I have been through some trying times lately
First, this past November Sandy’s sister, Becky, passed away after a lengthy battle of rheumatoid arthritis and COPD.
She fought valiantly throughout the past couple of years, but finally succumbed on November 5, 2017. Her frail body just couldn’t hold on any longer. And she was released from her pain and suffering, which was not easy to endure. In fact, the pain and suffering got so bad at times that all she could say, “All I know is that I’m in God’s arms.”
We had a beautiful memorial service for her, and many hearts were touched by her courage, strength, and modest demeanor during her last years.
About two weeks later, we joyfully attended the wedding of my wife’s niece, Shannon.
Then we went home only to learn that Sandy’s mother had fallen and broken her hip in the nursing home she lived in. She was taken to the hospital, but then returned to the nursing home for palliative care.
A few days later, we received a call from my wife’s relatives stating that “Ma’s” condition was degenerating swiftly, so we headed back up north to be by her side.
We were travelling in our car, when we received word from Sandy’s brother, Tom, that Ma had come out of her drug –induced coma, to tell him that Becky “had crossed the river.”
Now what was so remarkable about this utterance was the fact that no one had informed Ma of Becky’s passing. You see, Ma had been in an advanced, stage of Alzheimer’s disease. So we felt that she wouldn’t comprehend what had happened to Becky, so we didn’t tell her.
And it was just a few minutes after Tom’s call that I had been listening to “Foo Fighters” and their “Sonic Highways” CD. All of sudden, on the song “What did I do?/ God as my witness” I hear Dave Grohl scream out , “I crossed the river finally…”
To me, it definitely felt like a God-moment. I mean, what are the chances of those two almost identical “messages” coming to us within a few minutes of each other?
Ma lingered on a couple of more days, receiving hospice care. She too had fought a long, hard battle. I guess you’d call it “a life well-lived,” and now she had arrived at the finish line.
Tom Johnson gave heartfelt eulogy for his mother. He talked about not only Ma’s servant heart, but servant actions. He talked how she selflessly cared for her husband, Hardrock, as well as her loving family.
The pastor also talked about Doris’s smile. It was a smile he said that shouted, “You are welcome.”
And when she went into the Homme Home, the nursing home for the elderly in Wittenberg, she just instinctively carried on her servant’s actions, pushing wheelchairs and helping her friends any way she could. And she could brighten up anyone’s day by telling you that she loved you… and that “You’re so wonderful!”
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15, NIV)
So RIP Doris Evangeline Johnson. I’ve been so blessed to know you… and I’ve no doubt that you’ve “crossed the river” as well. And now you are rejoicing with Hardrock and Becky.
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