What do Henry Hathaway, Lee J. Cobb, Whitney Houston, and Doris Garner have in common? My guess is that most people who read my articles or listen to my podcast might only recognize one of those names. And that’s OK. Three out of four were from another era in American history. But the common denominator is, they all died on this date, February 11. Doris Garner was two years ago. Whitney Houston was a few years before that. And the other two, who were famous in Hollywood, died even further back. But my main focus is on the least famous one of the group.
Yeah, Doris Garner died exactly two years ago, today, as I write this.
She was born in the late 1930’s. A time when America was in the worst depression it had ever seen (at least up to that point). And she witnessed a lot of changes in the American life during her lifetime. She told me she didn’t necessarily like where the changes seemed to be leading this country.
That’s right. Doris and I had regular conversations. After all, she was my mother. For the last few years of her life I called her basically every Sunday for the “weekly talk.” And, of course, I always called her on her birthday. Which was in January. But on her birthday in 2021, she sounded a bit confused.
And she said, “Let me go lay down for a while. And call me back later today.”
I said I would. And later that day I called her back. But she still had a hard time focusing. And she told me her head felt like it was experiencing small strokes. Naturally, I called my sister who lives in the same town as mom. And she said she’d definitely check on mom.
A couple of days later my sister called and said they had called an ambulance for mom and that she was in the hospital. I told her to keep me posted. And a couple of days after that, because my mom griped loudly about being in the hospital, my sister and her husband agreed to take her home with them.
And that’s where my mom finished out her days here on Earth.
Apparently Mom was fortunate enough to die in her sleep. Probably the preferred way to go by most everybody.
But here’s a harsh fact.
Most people, who peacefully died in their sleep, discovered it was the final peaceful experience they’d ever have. Because when that last breath left their body, they ran out of time. For the most important decision any person on Earth could ever make. Life. Or death.
And despite what some guy named John Calvin might say, the decision is yours.
And that decision is: Where do you want to spend eternity?
The choice IS yours. And there are only two options. Live forever, with God, in paradise forever. Or die forever, on your own, separated from God, the source of life.
Fortunately, Mom chose wisely.
Long before her final night in bed here on Earth she decided to accept the gift of Grace freely handed to her by Jesus. And I feel sorry for other people and the lack of peace they must feel not knowing where loved ones go when they die. There’s a verse from an old Christian hymn that says,
Perfect submission, all is at rest.
I, in my Savior, am happy and blessed.
I’m watching and waiting, I’m looking above,
Filled with His goodness and lost in his love.
I hope that Blessed Assurance is yours. If not, don’t wait till it’s too late.
(And Happy Second Anniversary in Heaven, Mom! Hard to believe it was two years ago already.)
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