We were getting ready for the evening, about to take turns by Mom’s bedside throughout the night. Jer and I were going to have a glass of wine, but then opted for something a bit stronger. We poured our glasses as Kristin came downstairs and said that Kirstie was crying. There had been a lot of tears over these last couple days but somehow I knew that this was different. We all gathered quickly around Mom to be with her. Her breathing was different, struggling more so than before.
The doctor had joined us and assured us that she didn’t feel any pain as we watched her breathe. Each breath was full of anticipation and wonder, is this the last breath? Minutes turned into hours and the hours felt like moments suspended in time.
We cried. We laughed at memories. But mostly we waited and were not sure what to do. My family and I were just content to be present. Everything had been said, love from each of us was well known to her. We held her hand, her arm, stroked her head in comfort- for ourselves and for her. Her breaths were shallow, and short, and the space long in between. The small breaths lingered like watching a bubble slowly climb into the air until it eventually burst.
On what was her last breath, the doctor listened for a heartbeat, searching and waiting for any sign. But there was nothing to be heard, and he turned to us and said, “she’s passed”.
For all the days I had to get ready, nothing really prepares you for that moment. She was gone. And in an instant, in one moment, she moved from a living and breathing saint to someone who dwells not just in heaven but also in all of us. She remains now in our memories, in our minds and actions, and in pictures that hang suspended from the walls.
Grief and sorrow take over. A sudden realization that life is no longer the same. Everything is altered. I said goodbye with a kiss on the forehead, that was unexpectedly cold for someone whose love was so warm.
Already, as a family, we had leaned on each other greatly. Now more so than ever. What’s ahead? Conversations that come far too early with precious nieces and nephews, and for me the fear of now trying to live without an anchor that has grounded me for years. Seems overwhelming…and it is.
I take comfort in knowing that Mom died exactly how she would have wanted to- at home peacefully, with loved ones close at hand.
It still seems so surreal, like having a bad dream and waiting to be scared awake to reality.
Already, I long for Mom to know my sons and daughters. That they could know the woman she was. I wish she could love them and guide them through this life as she did with me. I rue the times when I go to call her while I drive simply to see how her day was. I must tell myself that I did the best I could with the time that was given to us. And to not fall into the guilt of how I used my time, did I work too much? Should I have called or visited one more time? Rather, I can trust that she knows the deep and unrelenting love I have for her. The moments we have had will never be replaced and never lost.
I thought I was ready. But I was not.
Today marks the beginning of learning how to live again.
22 thoughts on “The Long Goodbye – By Jon Pue”
Thank you, Jon. I lost my own mother only 5 short months after we were married… being newlyweds and needing her expertise, her guidance, her support…and then she was gone… it was incredibly difficult. She never knew any of her 4 grandchildren and it is such a loss for all of us, even 31 years later. She loved the Lord too and I have a lovely picture of your mom and my mom hugging and getting to know each other in the presence of God. 🙂
Jon, thank you for opening yourself up to us and the world. That takes courage, but it also is a way to honor your mom in such an incredible way. She meant to much to me, also being a vessel for God in creating me into the man, child, father, husband and leader He desires me to be. You are honoring her in a way, I believe, she would have wanted you to…in sharing your story with others. Thank you. I pray for peace for you as you start this new journey of learning to live again. I pray for new life, surer footing as you take new steps, and for memories to never fade but only grow more vibrant. Thank you for writing this and allowing us all to be apart. Blessings.
I am so very sorry for your loss Jon. I recently lost my mother as well and so I can relate very much to what you wrote. It does get easier with time, I am told, but it’s many times a very long journey for those of us who were so close to our Mom. There is a poem that our mother is our first home on this earth and our first friend. If you google it, I’m sure it will come up as it is a very popular bit of free verse. I’m a single lady, but I can understand how painful it would be for your mother not to know your children on this earth. Somehow I think the Lord allows people in heaven to see special moments such as the birth of a grandchild, but I guess we cannot know for sure. Certainly she will know them in heaven. I know that if I ever do marry later in life that my mother would not be present, and that for me is difficult. Your mother had a great impact on me when I was a teen about 40 years ago. She is a wonderful person and I was always so impacted by her kindness, warmth, sense of humour and joyfulness. I felt so sad when I heard she had passed away, as she is one of my favourite people ever. God bless and I will be praying for you and your family.
Jon your mom adored all you children! You have surrounded her with the most amazing community that a parent could ever imagine. Bless you for your courage and strength.
I lost my dad two years ago, and this walked me thru those last moments so clearly. Much more clearly than I could have said it then. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words. I pray God carries you thru this as He did me and my family.
I shed tears with you all. Brenda’s homegoing is just too early for my liking. Oh Jon, how your Mom knew that deep love you have for her. All of Her Sons she spoke of with such pride and love.
Jon, your reflections from your heart are a beautiful thing. Prayers for you all. Love from the Boettcher Family
Tender words Jon. Thanks for sharing your heart. Love to all of you.
Dear Jon. How beautifully written. How vulnerable. How strong. Your Mom would be proud. As the father of three girls I often tell each of them that they are my favorite and that they shouldn’t tell the others I said that. And as much as it is jokingly said it is true. There is something favorite about each one. In conversations with your Mom and Dad, they always speak proudly concerning each one of their sons (and daughters). My daughters have at times brought up something that they had done wrong and asked if I remembered. Isn’t it great that we are made in the image of God, forgetting the bad and remembering the good. Jon, you are her favorite, as are Jeremy and Jason.
We continue to pray that God will be your comfort and strength in the days and weeks to come.
Thank you for sharing this Jon. My heart grieves with you and your brothers, your mom was truly a remarkable woman, who loved each of you deeply. My mom just passed a few weeks ago, and nothing can prepare you for that life changing moment. Your mom was a mentor and friend to me and will be greatly missed, much love and prayers to all of you for the lingering days ahead,
Janet Greaves (Cameron)
Judy and I knew Brenda thru Jason and family. We know you all have a treasure chest full of wonderful memories to cherish – after the pain, grief and sorrow has subsided slightly. We send our love and sorrow at this moment.
I hope you don’t mind but I shared this on on FB wall- its the most beautiful thing I have ever read- and describes exactly how it feels to go through this and I thought others needed to read it too- so comforting.
Jon your mom would treasure your writing! She was so proud of you and loved the deep connection she had with you. Pretty much every time she talked of you and Kirstie she had that little “Brenda beam” where her whole face llit up. Thanks for sharing your journey – we hold you all very closely in our prayers.
Jon, your words remind me of my thoughts when I was 16 and my mom died. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I will miss Brenda so much as will so many lives she impacted.
Beautiful words my friend…. Sorry for this loss of a gem… Loved your Mum so much… With you & for you. To you & all … Life will indeed be lived a new…so different… For Brenda loved us all too well.
Hi Jonathan, I doubt you remember me. Gary Davis. I was once a close friend of your dad. I would often harass you growing up. Hopefully I did not create and permanent mental problems for you. Please know that my mom died 3 years ago and I sensed the same reaction you did. A great hole formed in my life. That hole fills in slowly. And opens up every now & then to remind you how great a woman you had as a mother. Know my love and prayers are with you, and all siblings and families. Gary Davis
Sent from Gary Davis’ iPhone
Jon, that was beautifully spoken. As I mentioned to your Dad last night, your Mom is now nestled in the arms of God.
Ok ….. That reduced me to a puddle of tears. I feel for all of you and can only imagine how difficult this is for everyone no matter how prepared you think you are. Hugs to all 💕
Sent from my iPhone
Carson and Jon & for all of your family, I am so sorry to hear of Brenda passing. We will all miss her and I know that for all of you in her family it is so much more pronounced. May Jesus’ comfort and loving arms hold you all close to His heart at this time of your deep loss. Thanks for sharing so vulnerably…it shows me Brenda’s legacy is already passed on in her family…the way she wrote that let us into the journey of her heart with Jesus. May Jesus enfold your whole family in His Loving Kindness and caring consolation.
So beautifully written Jon. Our hearts are with all of you. Randy and Connie Plett
Thanks for sharing your heart!
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