Stories From Ma’s Passing

Ma’s passing took everyone by surprise. Even the gals in the nursing home were not ready. When we arrived to the nursing home to pick out things for the funeral one of the nurses that helped look after Ma spoke with us for quite some time. She told us this little story that happened Friday April 18th before Ma’s passing on Sunday, April 20th. Ma gave the nurse a quilt Friday evening that Ma had just finished embroidering for a life long dear friend. The nurse who worked there always took ma’s finished blocks and put them together to finish the quilting process for Ma. We are all so thankful Ma was able to continue her work all the way to the end. And we told Ma’s friend that as soon as the quilt is finished we will make sure it gets to them. They wanted us to keep Ma’s last piece of work but we insist that they have it as that’s what Ma would want.

Rita and Dan (Bobby’s sister and her husband) arrived Thursday and she was a bit broken up when she told us this little story. Sometimes Rita and Dan have quite a delay getting their cell phone messages due to their carrier. So when Rita went to retrieve her messages upon their arrival there was a brand new message from Ma that Rita just received as they arrived in Arkansas. Rita said how joyful Ma’s voice sounded and it was like bringing Ma back one last time. Rita couldn’t tell the story without tears streaming down her cheeks and Dan had to fill in some as Rita had such a difficult time talking about getting a message from her mother after she had passed away.

Bobby and Rita were the two siblings that were going through Ma’s things (Dan and I were there to help when needed) and we loaded as much as our rental car could handle. Bobby was using Ma’s wheelchair for transporting things from her room out to our car when one of the residents commented that someone was getting to go home. Bobby smiled and said yes, my mother went to Heaven. They were sorry for commenting but indeed she did go Home Sweet Home.

When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder and Beulah Land were a couple of the songs we chose for the funeral service. But when Bobby and I were on our way back to Texas Saturday evening, he had his Ipod plugged into the dash so that we could listen to his tunes. When the song “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” came on, we were both simultaneously caught up in emotion and said, “this is the song we dedicate to Ma”. We had to play it over and we both listened with tears and our hearts were truly touched. Below is the version that was on Bobby’s Ipod and what a perfect version for Bobby and me to dedicate as our song for Ma.

I was standin’ by my window

On a cold and cloudy day

When I saw that hearse come rollin’

And it took my mother away

Will the circle be unbroken

By and by-y, Lord by and by

There’s a better home awaitin’

In the sky Lord, in the sky

Lord, I told that undertaker

Undertaker please drive slow

For that lady that your takin’

Lord, I hate to see her go

Will the circle be unbroken

By and by-y, Lord by and by

There’s a better home awaitin’

In the sky Lord, in the sky

I will follow close behind her

Try to hold up and be brave

But I could not hide my sorrow

When they laid her in her grave

Will the circle be unbroken

By and by-y, Lord by and by

There’s a better home awaiting

In the sky Lord, in the sky

I snapped this picture of Bobby watching as his Mommy was being lowered. Bobby was the first and only one to go over and take a hand full of clay and drizzle it over her as one last final goodbye to his Mommy.

Ma was such a kind, loving, companionate woman who was always doing something for someone. Even in her last years in the nursing home when she couldn’t walk for many years and at the end became the double amputee. She was a bright woman all the way to the end and even though her body failed she had her bright mind and used her hands to embroider. When she learned of anyone having a difficult time, she was the first to call the pastor to see what could be done to help the one in need.

Bobby is so thankful his mother didn’t have to suffer. We got the call Sunday night April 20th that Ma was not responding and was rushed to the Hospital (less than a mile from the nursing home). They inserted the tube and she was breathing with the help of machines and they told Bobby that his Mother was in grave condition. Bobby came into the bedroom and woke me relaying to me Ma’s condition. Then another call came from the Hospital saying that Ma’s heart had stopped and that they were performing CPR. The very next call was to let Bobby know that they had pronounced her dead. All of these calls took place in less than 30 minutes, it happened so fast.

In life, sometimes we want to at least have a forewarning to let us know so that we can prepare and to have that one last visit, that one last I Love You, that one last moment with our loved one but this time we didn’t get the chance. But as we remember her, we’re all left with wonderful loving memories. We’re left with her sweet voice ringing in our ears, we’re left with those beautiful last words as she always ended her conversations with each of us with I Love You. I’m also thankful our conversations with her were 3 or more times a week and I still remember our last conversation just a few days before her passing. We all feel blessed that she had such a wonderful full life (all 81 years) to the very end.

With that one last look at Ma’s physical body, she looked at peace and her face seemed to hold a smile that reflected her love. As we touched her that one last time and held her for a moment we knew she was no longer here rather in a far better place. We look forward to seeing you on the other side our Dear Loving Ma AKA Mommy as Bobby liked to call her.

Speaking of Mommy, I just want to write in here that whenever Bobby’s Mom would call him, he would answer in an upbeat voice saying “Hi Mommy”. I always thought that was the sweetest thing and he truly loved his Mommy so much.


I’m sorry for such a long post but I wanted to share what was on my heart and there is so much more that I could say but this is it for now. I’m also sorry I haven’t made it back to thank each of you for your thoughts and prayers. We truly felt them and we know Ma is celebrating her Homecoming. Thank You So Much.

3 thoughts on “Stories From Ma’s Passing

  1. My prayers are with you all. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories to hold onto and you know she went to heaven. That is priceless. My mother passed away Feb 07 and I’m still grieving. Now, it appears my husband’s mother doesn’t have long either. So, I understand what you are going through.

  2. Debbie, what a beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law. Our prayers are with you and your husband as you begin to go through this grieving process. God truly does comfort and heal.

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