Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Mother's Legacy

I know I have been silent for a while. When life altering events happen, I need to process them privately before interacting with anyone.

In December of 2011 my mother passed away. She had been struggling with polymyositis, a disease I'd never even heard of until she was diagnosed. It is an incurable autoimmune disease that, according to the doctors, should have been able to be kept under control with medication. The medication did not help my mother. She became progressively weaker, then contracted a listeria infection, and suffered a few strokes.

The last time I saw her alive, Mr. Beaver, our four children, and I had gone to visit her in the hospital. We sang "Rock of Ages" together. My mother was unable to speak much but was able to mouth the words of most of the verses. By the fourth and last verse, she was fast asleep again.

A few days later we got the phone call. She had exchanged this life for the next peacefully, in her sleep.

When these life altering events happen, I am always reminded of what Paul writes in Philippians,

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." 

We can have everything in this world, but we must leave it all behind when we die. We leave our stuff, our house, our spouse, our children. We must leave everything and everyone. We not only must leave everything and everyone behind, we can't take anything along even if we wanted to.

However, we don't leave Christ behind. What a merciful God we serve, Who has made a way for us to be free from our sin and united to Him for all eternity.

We didn't know we would not see her alive again that Saturday evening. Without us knowing it, "Rock of Ages" was an appropriate farewell song to sing. I would like to include the lyrics we sang that last evening:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow'r.

Not the labours of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
Lyrics by Augustus M. Toplady

This is one of the many hymns my mother would sing as she went about her household chores. Over the next few weeks, in memory of her, I plan on sharing more of her favourite hymns. I am grateful for this legacy my mother has left for me. It is much more valuable to me than any "stuff" she could have given me.