This is again a somewhat unusual posting. My Mom died on 19 June this year of congestive heart failure. Bluntly, in spite of treatment she died from drowning in the fluid collecting in her lungs. Many funerals deal with only the deceased and the family, and, to most intents and purposes, sideline God. Mom forbade a eulogy: below is the second half of my.tribute. Gloria soli Deo.

Right and wrong were very clear to Mom; as clear as black and white, with no shades of grey. And she was respected.

One thing that was always central to her life was the church. If she could help it, she wouldn’t miss, especially communion. If communion was at 08h00 and she had to sing in the choir at 10h30, well then, we went to two services. (We thank those of you who made her feel so welcome here, especially Yvonne, who became more like a daughter to her.) Her faith, she said, carried her, and at times when I was feeling pessimistic, she would say: “Have faith,” just like someone might say, “Have more common sense.”

Mom was stubborn – which in her later years she admitted. Sometimes stubbornness is a pain; sometimes it’s a virtue: Mom had a stubborn sense of duty. That manifested itself in the way she looked after us. When I was still very small, we were quite poor, but she always made sure that we looked clean and smart, especially our school uniforms. She also had a sense of duty towards God. She had her daily Bible readings from the lectionary (very Anglican!). Her faith was stubborn, and that’s really what carried her for years, but especially in more recent months, as she was walking through the “valley of the shadow of death”. I don’t think she was at all frightened about dying. As the hymn says:

Jesus lives! thy terrors now
Can, O Death, no more appal us;
Jesus lives! by this we know
Thou, O Grave, canst not enthral us.
Hallelujah!

Jesus lives! henceforth is death
But the gate of Life immortal;
This shall calm our trembling breath,
When we pass its gloomy portal.
Hallelujah!

Jesus lives! our hearts know well
Naught from us His love shall sever;
Life, nor death, nor powers of hell
Tear us from His keeping ever.
Hallelujah!

That’s what kept her alive; and that’s why she could die without fear. And that’s is why we could let her go. Granted, it was terrible watching her suffer; but death was more than the mere relief from discomfort and really difficult breathing.

In church, on the Sunday before she died, I had a vision, which is extremely unusual for me. It couldn’t have lasted more than a fraction of a second, but it was so powerful that it left me wobbly, physically and emotionally.

Imagine a picture in a frame. To the left is Mom. Then there’s a river. On the right of the river is a grassy field. On the upper right is an “empty” cross; between the cross and the river is Jesus, facing Mom and beckoning to her and calling, “Come!”.

So she has taken up His invitation and she is home with her Saviour.

I’ll close with the words of an sms from a close friend:
“Farewell to her, Amazing lady. Present with God breathing [the] fresh air of heaven.”

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