I heard the whispers as I rushed into the room.
“He looks just like her”
“Where has he been, we started awhile ago?”
“Her kids were never much good anyways”
These were the comments of relatives I hardly knew, many of which I hadn’t seen in years. It’s strange how voices seem louder in dimly lit rooms. But, they were right…I was late, I did look like her. As for the last comment, there was some truth in that as well.
I didn’t stop to offer an explanation of my tardiness, I went straight to her.
Her fight was over but her empty shell gave hints to the difficult life she lived for seventy years. Each line of her face was etched in sorrow and abuse…even in death; my mom looked like she was in pain. I had to remind myself that this wasn’t my mom lying in a casket…it was like I said…a shell.
My relatives didn’t realize that just hours before my mom’s wake, my first child was born in a hospital just a few miles away. Joshua Michael Cookingham was 8lbs, 6ozs of healing for me that day. It had been months of downhill struggle for my mom (dying of emphysema) but she tried to hang on to see her last child have his first. She did not win that battle, three days before Josh was born, she passed away.
I had left my bride and newborn son, rushed home to change and then to the funeral home, arriving after the wake had started. I mingled around the room, taking and offering condolences, making the small talk that people make when you’re strangers. I found myself wishing for family to surround me and comfort me but there were none…only relatives. After a few hours the wake was over and I headed back to the hospital to see my wife and son…my family was waiting for me.
Life, death and life…what does it mean? During one of my visits to Mom in the hospital she accepted the Lord as her savior (She can read the story here) that’s the main reason there was an empty shell in the casket…she was alive with her Messiah in Heaven. Father God did surround me with a family; He gave me my wife and seven of the most fantastic people on the planet. So today is a not so bittersweet day…I get to celebrate my son’s birthday and the new BIRTHday of my Mom together. I don’t remember her death…I remember her new life.
Happy Birthday Josh!
Happy Birthday Mom!