Twenty years ago today was beyond a doubt the worst day of my life. It was the day that my mom died in my arms as we rushed her to the hospital. I was always very close to my mom. I have to say, I was blessed with a great mom. She was loving, funny, sometimes goofy, but in a good way, and may have been the smallest one in the room but when she meant business everyone paid attention.
She was also a great teacher. I cherish many of the valuable lessons she taught me as a child. She would often tell me that growing up she was dirt poor. Then she would tell me that those were some of the happiest times in her life because life was about friends and family and not about stuff.
For about a year prior to my mom’s death my wife and I took care of her. I use to be embarrassed to talk about it but my mom suffered with mental illness. However, I have since learned that mental illness is just like any other illness, it just affects the mind just as a heart condition would affect the heart.
Her mental illness didn’t start, or at least I didn’t notice or even know about it, until a year or so prior to her death. The last year of her life was a nightmare. When she took her medication she was my fun loving mom again. However, when she wouldn’t take her medication she would think she was better and didn’t need to take it anymore and turn into a stranger that I didn’t know that often caused me to fear for her life as well as my own. It was a vicious cycle that most people outside the doors of our home were clueless to.
At one point she returned to work and we thought she was doing better. At this time she decided to go stay at my grandmothers for a few days. Though we no longer participate in Halloween, we did then. We dressed our girls up and decided that we would take them over to my grandmothers to show her and my mom their costumes prior to going trick or treating. When we arrived at my grandmothers my mom was nowhere to be seen and my grandmother had a look of terror on her face. She immediately told me that she thought my mom found her gun she had hidden and was now gone.
My wife immediately took the girls away while I went out to look for her. Almost immediately I found her in the chicken pen lying on the floor. My heart sunk when I saw that she had just shot herself in the chest but she was still alive. I picked her up and carried her to the front of the house. About that time my dad pulled up and I jumped in the back seat of his car with my mom still in my arms. She didn’t make it to the hospital. I knew the moment she breathed her last breath and remember it today as clearly as when it happened. On October 31st of 1996 she had successfully taken her own life.
After this I was furious. I was angry at myself, blamed myself, and angry at the world. My mom was my best friend growing up and was nothing like what she had turned into in that last year of her life. I didn’t know how something like this could happen. Though I wasn’t a Christian then my mom was. She loved the Lord and loved going to church. I often had to take her to church and I hated it. When she was in her right mind she would always tell me that I needed to give my life to the Lord and let him straighten my life up. No doubt my life was in a mess back then. Though I considered myself an atheist at the time I was angry at God. If He was real, and loving, and powerful, why didn’t He help her?
That question leads to why I am sharing this awful story of the last year of my mom’s life and the worst day of mine; because it led to the best day of my life. I soon discovered that everything good in life comes from God. James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Though to no fault of her own the last year of my mom’s life wasn’t good, I had a good mom, no, I had a great mom. I had the best mom anyone could ask for. And, she was a gift from God; a truly wonderful gift.
I also learned that everything bad and evil comes from Satan. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” Satan is that thief. Through his lies and trickery he caused sin to enter into the heart of man which caused the fall of man, resulting into the curse of sin coming upon man; the same curse that causes sickness and death to this day.
At the same time, I learned that God can bring good out of tragedy. God doesn’t cause the tragedy, Satan does, but God can and will bring good out of any tragedy if we let Him. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” God allowed the worst day of my life to bring about the best day of my life. Just a few weeks after my mom’s death on December 26th of 1996 I accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life. Today, my wife is a Christian, my two daughters are Christians, and I have two beautiful granddaughters that are being raised in a Christian home to know and love Jesus.
Some say that people who commit suicide can’t go to heaven. That is a Catholic teaching that has absolutely nothing to do with the bible or any form of truth. My mom’s mental illness caused her to take her own life. In fact I don’t believe anyone can take their life unless they are demonically influenced or suffer mental illness. My mom was a Christian. And for that reason, though we are separated for a short time, I along with my family will see her again-because of Jesus.
We all suffer tragedy in this life; some worse than others. When it’s your tragedy, it’s the worst tragedy. But remember, Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” When you face tragedy, remember where the bad comes from and give him the blame. Then, trust in the one who can turn all things into good, even the worst days of our lives. His name is Jesus!
Feel free to share this and let it be an encouraging word to others who are facing trials and tragedy.