I am grateful for those friends and acquaintances who ask me how Mom is doing every time they see me. I appreciate the love and prayers more than they could ever know. I struggle with how to answer. If I tell the truth, it takes me a while to explain her current physical situation and what I can understand of her mental state. I talk about her walking (only with support from a caregiver) or her eating (very little) or her communication (also very little). Usually I just say, “About the same” and leave it at that.
Actually she’s changing almost imperceptibly each day. Recently I have become very interested in what she can see. According to what I have read, she is experiencing tunnel-vision at this stage. One of her new noticeable changes is that she will recline quietly with her gaze fixed on a point in the horizon. She seems to be seeing visions of things beyond the walls of her house.
As a believer, I wonder if she’s looking into heaven somehow. At the end of the “love” chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes, “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face…” (v.12, KJV). The Amplified Bible says this same verse, “For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face…” As Mom’s earthly vision fades, it’s as if the reality of heaven becomes clearer.
I love “when the time of perfection comes we will see reality.” This crazy world is not reality for the believer. Mom is closer to perfection than ever before. Although I describe her body and mind as “failing,” it would be more accurate to say that it’s unshackling her. She is far nearer to perfection than she’s ever been. Perhaps she is seeing the reflection in the mirror more clearly and the riddle is becoming untangled as she prepares for “face to face.”
Do you remember the words to that hymn? Each verse is so precious.
Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me?
Refrain: Face to face I shall behold Him, Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by!
Only faintly now I see Him, With the darkened veil between,
But a blessed day is coming, When His glory shall be seen.
What rejoicing in His presence, When are banished grief and pain;
Death is swallowed up in vict’ry, And the dark things shall be plain.
Face to face—oh, blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so.
Oh, that fourth verse: “to see and know…Jesus Christ who loves me so.”
For me, it can be disconcerting to watch her gaze into the horizon. I want to pull her back into this world so she’s seeing the food that she needs to eat or connecting to her caregivers, especially Dad. It’s hard from my very human, earthly view to watch her as she fades from us. I have to constantly remind myself that she’s preparing for what is truly real – the perfect world beyond this one.
For 89½ years, this lovely woman has been on this earth. She has been blessed and been a blessing to so many. As her vision sees beyond this world, I will be reminded to keep my eyes fixed on that reality, too.