Vicki had the blessing of nursing her mother through her last three weeks until her death ... a merciful death that came before she suffered the agony of the rapidly growing tumors in her brain. Every time their mother woke up, she saw her daughters' faces as they gazed on her with love, she heard her daughters' voices as they spoke to her and told her how much they loved her and how safe she was and prayed and read psalms and sang spiritual hymns, and she felt her daughters' hands on her as they held and comforted her. Indeed, Vicki and her sister Dawna held and bathed and loved their mother to the end, along with their sister Joyce.
When the end came, Vicki called her sisters into the room and they all testified that indeed their mother had left this earthly shell and had gone on up to be with Jesus. There was, of course, a time of great tears. Vicki held her mother's body in her arms until the funeral director arrived three hours later. She then organized both the funeral service in Salem, Oregon and the graveside service in El Mirage, Arizona. In the midst of great stress and sorrow, Vicki managed everything, ensuring that her mother's final wishes were respected. At the Salem service, Dawna's daughter Nina, who is a professional singer, sang Softly and Tenderly and Dawna (herself an accomplished singer) sang Amazing Grace, both accompanied by Dawna's husband, Jules, who is a pastor and a professional musician. At the El Mirage service, Vicki's daughter Cynthia (also a professional singer) sang Amazing Grace a capella, struggling against tears as she stood in front of her grandmother's coffin under the blazing Arizona sun.
Vicki held up well throughout it all—through the grace and power of God—from the afternoon of the 14th when her mother went home to glory to until the afternoon of the 21 when her mother's shell was laid to rest in Arizona. I was so proud of her. If I could love her any more I would burst. Then when we got back to the motel, she turned to me and said, "It is finished. I have carried out my mother's wishes and she is now laid to rest in her 'beloved desert'" (which is how she always referred to the place she grew up). Then Vicki fell apart.
She is slowly recovering now. Physically. And emotionally. Spiritually was never in question. Vicki's faith is stronger now than it has ever been ... and it has always been strong. Please continue to hold Vicki and her family up in prayer. We are worried about her father. He has taken this very hard. He is 83 and had been married to his wife since they were 18. He has two forms of slow growing cancer and we are worried he will give up the will to fight and live. He is not saved. Prayers for his salvation and that of Vicki's sister Joyce and brother Richard would be appreciated.
To all of you who prayed for us in this situation, thank you. May your kindness return upon your own head and your own home. May the Father of Lights bless and keep and guide you all the days of your lives. And may your unsaved loved ones come to a saving knowledge of Jesus who died that they might live.