Life, death and life


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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! Tags: ,,,


bill (cycleguy) said…
Ironically jay, it is almost 8 years to the day that my mom went to be with Jesus after a short struggle with a rare form of lung cancer (she was a non-smoker).  Thanks for the tribute to your son, mother (and surreptitiously) my mother as well.  Only difference: she was a long-time follower of Jesus and showed me Him. 
Michael said…
How I loved this post, Jay! So full of realities... Delighted that your mom went from the shadowlands and suffering to the paradise of the presence of Jesus Christ. The happiest of birthdays to both her and Josh!
floyd said…
I can't help but wonder how chosen you are to be able to lead your mom to our Father... What a blessing to know she rests with Him.

I'm also amazed by your forgiving heart to your relatives. 

Happy Birthday Josh! Congratulations Dad! God has truly blessed you my brother...
Jay Cookingham said…
Leading my mom to Christ was amazing and an honor for sure but knowing she is with Him for all eternity and knows joy like no other...priceless. Thanks Bro'!
Jay Cookingham said…
Thanks was a day full of "life" difficult, joyful and real.
Jay Cookingham said…
That's amazing bro'...maybe your mom and mine are hanging together in Heaven somewhere!
Joanne Norton said…
AMEN!  Both of my parents came to the Lord after dozens of years of abuse and addiction...both separately and together...and one of  the joys I'm looking  for is being with them in the way the Lord always intended it to be.   Dad died  at 65 in '84; Mom at 90, Jan.  30, '11.  I would  have loved to see them  get  together again with forgiveness and kind attitudes and understanding of why life on earth was so tough for them.  What a  blessing that you WILL spend  that joyful and truly good time with your Mom for eternity...and  eventually she'll  truly meet Josh face to face.  How neat!
Eddy Damas said…
Wonderful testimony. And what I got from it doesn't matter if we are late...we are with Jesus, and that's enough!
Jay Cookingham said…
Amen to that my brother! hanks Eddy!
Jay Cookingham said…
Yes, some day they will meet and really enjoy that celebration!

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