Day: January 12, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, the big kids were playing together (so nicely!) while Abigail took a nap. I was sitting on the couch, mostly doing okay but welling up with tears every so often. Susannah came over to me and tilted her head in that quizzical way she has. “Oh, Mama, come ‘ere. I will dry those big raindrops offa your eyes.” She grabbed Abigail’s baby blanket. “Take off your glasses.” I took them off, and she wiped my cheeks tenderly with the flannel. That girl… she has more than her share of the WildAndCrazy moments, but she’s got a sweet, softie side too.

~~~~~

Susannah grabbed the phone last night after dinner. “I’m going to call Grandmama!” I came beside her and took the phone (before she dialed Timbuktu) and said, “Sweetie, we can’t call Grandmama. Remember? She is in heaven now.” Jonas was across the room working at the easel. He tossed over his shoulder, “Yeah, but she gets to hug her Daddy! So that’s a good thing!”

~~~~~

A few weeks ago, I started recalling snippets of a W.H. Auden poem I first memorized in high school. The middle stanzas had faded from my memory during the intervening years, so I had to go look it up. I can’t reprint the whole poem due to copyright, but you can find it here.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

This work grabbed me by the throat some fourteen years ago, and I just finally realized why. This is desperation, a disconsolate heart that can barely stand to beat after the loss of the other. When I recite this aloud, my voice drags almost to a stop at the “I was wrong.” line. The heartbreaking finality of the last line just kills, doesn’t it?

But this morning, when I woke up in the still-dark of four o’clock, it was not these words in my head. It was a song, sung by Caedmon’s Call and MercyMe at various times, called “There’s a Stirring.” I sang it with a group for a chapel service in college once.


There’s a stirring deep within me
could it be my time has come?
When i’ll see my gracious savior
face to face when all is done.

Is that His voice I am hearing?
Come away my precious one.
Is he calling me?
Is he calling me?

I will rise up, rise up
and bow down
and lay my crown
at his wounded feet.

I would like to think that when my mom raised her arms and lifted her palms in her last breath, that she was rising up in the presence of her gracious Savior. I know without a doubt that He welcomed her as His “precious one.”

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Mom holding me; Panama, 1980

Dad, me, and Mom; Shorter College graduation, 2001
Dad, me, and Mom; Rome First United Methodist, 2001

Mom & Dad; Midway, Georgia 2004?
Mom holding Jonas; Davie Florida, 2006
Mom holding Susannah; Elsmere Kentucky, 2009

Mom holding Abigail; Owensboro Kentucky, 2011
Today was my mama’s last day on this earth. When I spoke to Dad this morning, I told him she would like these numbers (1-11-12 has a certain ‘ring’ to it, and she was always big on stuff like that for important dates. She loved the fact, for example, that there’s a multiplication fact in Jonas’ birthdate 2-3-06). I called him again a little after Noon, my time, and he said her breathing had changed in the past hour and he really thought it would be very soon. We spoke for about 40 minutes, and he called me back at 1:22 my time to say that she was gone. He has posted the visitation & funeral details on his blog; Chris and the kids and I will be attending just the services in Thomasville. Neither dad nor mom wanted us to put the kids through two services plus the extra travel across the state, so that’s what we’ll do.

Update 1/12/12: Mom’s obituary is published here.


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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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