On March 2nd mom had her 86th birthday. I just learned today she will likely be in heaven before I can get from San Antonio to Asheville. She is surrounded by nieces and a nephew, folks from church, and friends, but all they can do is say a prayer and comfort each other. Mom is not conscious and has not been for much of the last few days. She is one of the last of “the greatest generation” as someone has dubbed those Americans who lived through the “Great Depression”. The last of eight siblings and the last of my family except for me, my younger brother, and his son. My father died full of faith in 1993.
Mom, like my dad, was born in Yancey County N.C. dirt poor, but from good stock. Her English/German mother and her English father were honest, hardworking folks cut from the same cloth as their parents and grandparents. Mom lived her young years, up until her early 20’s, with no running water in the house, no electricity, and a bath and a path.
When she was about a year from graduating from high school two events interrupted her plans. Her mother became bed-fast and had to be cared for day and night. And, one of mom’s brother’s young wife of 22 died with scarlet fever leaving mom with two babies in diapers to care for. Other than boiling water for cleaning and cooking on a wood stove, cooking for my grandpa and the others, rising at 3:30 a.m. to get him off to work with a meal in his belly and lunch in a bucket, working in the family garden, doing all the laundry by hand on a scrub board, she didn’t have much to do.
My dad met and married mom when she was 21 years old. I was born a bit over a year later and then my brother 18 years later. By the way mom had been totally blind for several years when my brother was born. She did all her own house work, cooking, mending dads works clothes, and teaching my little brother most of what he was expected to learn in the first grade.
Mother is a remarkable woman to say the least. She was never a complainer, always giving grace to everyone, a giant of prayer, and a faithful follower of Jesus. She came to faith in Christ when she was about 6 or 8 years old at a Bible School. She told me she was furious that they made her wait two years before she could be baptized. She reported to me only last year that story and that not once in those many years has she ever doubted her security in Jesus.
The last words my mom spoke day before yesterday were “Papa and Mama”, her parents. And, on yesterday, at just a whisper my cousin and her nurse could make out the words “going home”. That’s my mom, on her way to that city whose builder and maker is God.
She fought the good fight, she kept the faith, and will soon see clearly once again. I could not be more proud that Vivian Ogle was my “Mama”. I have often said Daddy taught me how to die and Mama taught me how to live. I so admire her blameless life, her quiet but consistent lifetime of prayer (with remarkable answers as a usual pattern), her devotion to my dad and me and my brother, and I expect to meet her again.
Thankfully, because of Christ, I really don’t have to say goodby to Mama, but rather “see you later”.
About 3:10 this morning mom went home. (Wed 03/19)