I wrote this over 16 years ago and decided to share it again in my blog….
I always remember the Twenty-Third Psalm was my parents’ favorite scripture. Every night they would recite it together as they prayed for their eleven children and later many grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. After Dad died, Mom continued this tradition. We always knew we were loved and lovingly prayed for. It gave us comfort and even encouragement over the years. Then after Christmas a few years ago, we were called together once again when news came that Mom had another cerebral aneurysm. Fifteen years before that she had had a successful surgery on two aneurysms and we were told then that there were several more. She could live two weeks, the surgeon said, or twenty years before another one might burst. So now, at the age of eighty-two, Mom lay in the hospital in Ottawa as an aneurysm began to slowly leak into her brain.
At first, she could communicate with us and indeed even talk and laugh at times, but as the leak grew worse, she became less and less coherent. In that hospital room, we prayed with her, sang and read scriptures softly as she lay there. I had left my husband and four children at home in Bermuda to be with her, but as the days became weeks and Mom was still with us, I had to say my goodbyes and go back home to my family.
Knowing this would probably be the last time I would see my mother, I said my private farewells to her. By now, her brain was damaged so much that she could barely utter a word or two. Mom could no longer form a clear thought, let alone have any sort of conversation. Indeed, she was slipping into a coma.
It was a cold snowy day in Ottawa, and I was alone with Mom in that hospital room. I hugged her and thanked her for her wonderful life. I thanked God for everything He had given us in her, and then I opened her Bible and began to read: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….” I finished the Psalm. She lay there still and unresponsive. I then felt led to read it aloud to her again, this time saying, “Mom, the Lord is your shepherd; you shall not want. He makes you to lie in green pastures, Mom; He leads you beside the still waters. He restores your soul, Mom…..” I slowly finished and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I turned and started to leave the room. Before I reached the doorway, I heard a clear strong voice behind me, and I swung around. Mom was speaking with the voice of a young woman, “The Lord is MY shepherd; I shall not want; He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul…” I lifted my hands to praise Almighty God as she spoke clearly every word, every phrase with love, tenderness, and strength, finishing with, ” And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
With that last word, she lapsed back into semi-consciousness and never spoke another word. Two days later, the aneurysm burst and the doctors gave her just hours to live….but that mighty woman of God lived for another twelve days as we continued our vigil of thanksgiving, song, and prayer together…..her children lovingly surrounding her. Always having been a musical family, we “Sang our mother into Paradise…“ When she did take her last breath, we were softly singing, “She is entering His gates with thanksgiving in her heart; she is entering His courts with praise. “