I lost my mother today. She was 82, and had a long, fruitful life. Her list of physical ailments had slowly increased over the years, but mortality is never so powerful as when it is sudden.
She had twenty four hour home care, and the night aide felt something was amiss. When Mom could not be roused, the aide called 911 immediately, and Mom was taken to the nearest hospital.
By the time we arrived, at nearly 2:30 this morning, the scans of her head were already up on the computer. The pools of blood displacing her brain tissue were painfully obvious. The neurologist described the hemorrhage as a ‘bomb going off in her head.’ Sudden, all encompassing, and irreversible. My mother was gone.
Later that night, I made plans to pick up my sister at Denver International. She had caught the quickest flight from Lancaster that she could, at would arrive late in the afternoon. I volunteered to make the drive, in spite of a migraine ghosting around my temples.
Caffeine! That would do the trick, at least for a while. I pulled into a nearby Starbucks, which was easy, as they are everywhere. I placed my order, and was given a bright, full-faced smile by the young, cheery barista.
She made my drink, and asked “So, how’s you’re day so far?” I could feel my face start to crumple.
(A long time ago, I once loved a determined apostate. He had once been a minister, and walked away from his beliefs. He wore his apostasy like a dagger, forged in some unrevealed fire.)
The barista put my drink on the counter and crossed over the barrier.
(Apostates can be stubborn. I can’t judge though, I was the prodigal daughter myself, once.)
The unknown young lady lightly placed her hands on my arms. “I don’t know you, but I am to tell you that you are loved. May I give you a hug?” Astonished, I felt a wave of kindness and concern roll over me.
“My mother died today.” The dazzling barista reached up and hugged me firmly. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” For a moment, I wept on the shoulder of an oddly familiar stranger. “You are loved.”
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11