Gilland: A life well lived

My family just said goodbye to my dear Mother, who passed away in Indiana on May 4. Mom lived to be a ripe ole’ age of 93, and one would think that after living such a long and fruitful life her death would not seem unexpected. 

Yet, it was. For all the time we had with her, we were still not prepared to say goodbye.

My Mom was a fighter, having overcome multiple surgeries treating cancer. Some of her doctors would have been surprised that she lived beyond the 1980s, but she proved them all wrong. 

In 1979, she felt that the Lord was prompting her to end the chemotherapy treatments that were making her so ill. Instead of spiraling downward, Mom began to improve. Test after test showed that she was indeed cancer free. 

Though we didn’t know it then, she had another 40+ years ahead of her. And how grateful we were.

 “Grandma was a place of safety and comfort for those of us lucky enough to be loved by her,” my youngest daughter wrote in a tribute posted to social media. “She was so kind, compassionate, quick to see the overlooked, and she had a laugh that—no matter how bad your day was going—could envelop you straight into a place of joy.” 

I can only hope that such incredible words would be spoken about me, when that time comes.

My daughter went on to say, “Life is fleeting…feeling this so deeply lately. How sweet is the hope we have in Jesus, and that I will hug her once again one day…”

A couple of months back, a friend sent a link to me—a song that he had heard that meant a lot to him. It was by the Christian band “Casting Crowns,” and the title of the song is “Scars in Heaven.” Here are the lyrics to the first verse:

If I had only known the last time would be the last time

I would’ve put off all the things I had to do

I would’ve stayed a little longer, held on a little tighter

Now what I’d give for one more day with you

The chorus is nothing but amazing:

The only scars in heaven, they won’t belong to me and you

There’ll be no such thing as broken and all the old will be made new

And the thought that makes me smile now even as the tears fall down

Is that the only scars in heaven are on the hands that hold you now

(Scars in Heaven, written by Matthew West and Mark Hall. ©2021 My Refuge Music.)

For believers, death is not the end. The Scripture teaches us that Jesus has prepared a place that is amazing for all who believe in Him. In such moments in our lives as this, I am grateful for the promise that we will see both Him and our loved ones on that day.

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