During Meme's last week we were encouraged to continue to talk to her because she could still hear us. I was about 12 weeks pregnant so I talked a lot about my baby with her, told her stories about what my husband and I were doing, how much I loved her…what I would talk to her about if she were talking back. My mom suggested that I read to her from one of her favorite books, Traveling Light, by Max Lucado.
It is a study on the 23rd Psalm and uses the metaphor of the excess luggage we carry that is unnecessary. Meme loved this book. We joked that she was going to suggest it to King David, the author of Psalm 23. I had not read it so I flipped through it to find a chapter that seemed appropriate. Well, I came to the last one titled "I will lead you home". It describes the final piece of baggage that we, as Christians, must release which is the burden of the grave. We carry a lot of burdens on this earth because we live in a sinful world. But we have the joy of getting to give those burdens over to God for him to carry for us. The greatest burden we have is death, the punishment for our sins. God is loving though and also offers to carry that burden for us through the gift of salvation. This is what is written about in the final chapter of the book. Mama and I cried as I read it but it was one of the best things we could have heard at that time. It was a real reminder about what Meme was about to experience. Though she fought it hard, cancer had stolen her earthly body but it could not steal her life. When she took her last breath, Meme left this earth and was greeted in heaven. As painful as it was (and still is) to lose her, how can I not celebrate that for her? In the moments after her death, my mom said to me "she put down that last piece of luggage." What a comfort it was to think of that during that painful time. I spent a lot of time after that trying to picture what Meme was getting to experience at that time. I don’t know exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that she was experiencing beyond what we could even imagine.
Actually, reading that book was the second best thing I could have read that week. The best was something I read privately, a few mornings before she passed away. Meme left us a list of her favorite Scriptures. One morning that I couldn’t sleep, I opened my Bible and looked up each passage on the list. It was such a sweet time when I got to learn even more about her faith. I was surprised to learn that we shared a favorite verse. I read some of the Psalms she liked and wondered at what point in her life they brought particular comfort. I was also amazed at the strength of her faith when I read other Psalms because they did not waver in praise to God. But one in particular was the best gift she could have given us- John 14:1-14. The reason that one was so important was because it told us without a doubt what she believed and because of that, we could celebrate he home going to heaven.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.