By Valerie D. Lockhart
SUN EXECUTIVE EDITOR
It’s been 8 months, but it seems like yesterday that I lost my mom, Ollie Lockhart, 71. I’ve learned that time doesn’t heal all wounds; it only makes us better at disguising the pain.
I stayed with my mom around the clock, holding her hand in Harper Hospital’s ICU. Whenever, I would run home to refresh my luggage filled with clothing, I would have a friend sit with her. I never left her alone, except for when the nurses made me leave the room to bathe or change her. She was never afraid to use God’s name, Jehovah, (Psalms 83:18), and doctors would use His name, when speaking to us. She was on a ventilator for the last month of her life.
My mom would squeeze my hand, whenever she wanted to pray. We prayed several times a day, drawing closer to God. My mom was always spiritually strong, so I think the prayers were more for me to be strengthened. We listened to an audio reading of the Bible and would play her favorite scripture over and over again.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you, yes, I will help you, I will really hold on to you with my right hand of righteousness.” – Isaiah 41:10
My mom was a strong believer in the Bible’s promise of a resurrection on a paradise earth. She believed that soon Revelation 21:4 would be fulfilled, “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
Although my mom looked forward to the resurrection and being reunited with my grandparents, Bertha and Robert Barnes, there was another wish that she wanted to see fulfilled.
“I would be so happy, if Valerie and Tony got along,” she told JoJo, our hairstylist at Terry’s Place, her best friend, Syleata Green and several other people. “They act like strangers instead of brother and sister.”
Little did we know that she would see her wish fulfilled, before she went to sleep in death.
My brother was wounded in the drive-by shooting on the freeway that killed two local rappers. He was taken to Henry Ford Hospital and admitted as a John Doe at the same time that our mother was in the hospital. My niece called me to tell me what had happened, but of course I couldn’t tell my mother. Besides, she had gotten use to him not visiting or calling her, whenever she was hospitalized. So, I tried to act as though everything was normal and focused on my mom’s health. His eight children and mistress were with him at the hospital, so I didn’t worry.
I later learned that he was on a ventilator and had undergone surgery to repair his lungs. My faith was truly being put to the test.
Although my brother knew his lifestyle was wrong, he remembered our mother’s words at Psalm 55:22 that were instilled in us as children, “Throw your burdens on Jehovah and He will sustain you.”
He said that he prayed, and suddenly his prayers were answered. He quickly recovered and was told about our mother. He was able to get a medical pass to visit our mother at Harper Hospital. He had suffered a stroke during a surgery at Henry Ford, which impaired his speech. Our mother’s eyes brightened when she heard him call out, “Momma. I’m here.”
There we were standing on each side of her bed getting along and encouraging her to keep fighting. I was even able to go home to rest for a couple of hours, knowing that he was sitting beside her.
My mother’s health continued to decline over the next two weeks. She would blink her eyes twice to indicate when she was in pain. I later learned that the hospital had caused her to get stage 4 bedsores from lack of turning her regularly.
I whispered in her ear that Tony and I would try hard to get along, and that she didn’t have to worry about us. My mom knew that I would never break a promise to her, because it is like a vow witnessed by God.
My mom went to sleep in death on September 9, 2017 at 11:18 am. She was surrounded by family and friends. The last voices she heard were of my brother and me telling her, “I love you.”
Today, I look forward to seeing my mom and grandparents on a paradise earth. The hope of the resurrection is as real to me as it was to my mother.
Her death has drawn me closer to God. I read his Bible daily and try hard to apply the principles in my life.
Many people say that they believe in God and hope to go to heaven, as a reward for their good works. But, the Bible teaches that the earth will be restored to a paradise condition, which was lost by Adam and Eve’s deliberate sin. And, we know this hope will come true, because Titus 1: 2 says, “…the accurate knowledge of the truth that is according to godly devotion and is based on a hope of the everlasting life that God, who cannot lie, promised long ago.”
My mom would often ask those who believed that going to heaven as our only hope, “Does the Bible tell of anyone dying or being sick in heaven?” When they answered no, she would point out how the scripture in Revelation 21: 4 refers to earthly benefits.
She would also point out, “This is what Jehovah says, . . . the One who formed the earth, . . . who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.” — Isaiah 45:18.
As I cherish the memories of my mother, I hope others can look through my eyes and see that the resurrection hope is real. I cherish the day, when I can see her driving her new Kia Soul again. In fact, it’s still parked in my driveway with barely 10,000 miles on it. Whenever I drive it, I can hear her saying, “Don’t get too comfortable in my car. I’m going to drive again.” If it survives the great tribulation, I will give it back to her.
I look forward to telling her how Tony and I got along, and how I even helped him to get a new apartment. Her eyes will shine brightly, when I tell her how I took him out to dinner and brought him food when he was short on cash. If he changes his lifestyle, I would love to have him standing by my side when we’re reunited with our mother and grandparents.
And, most of all, I hope to tell my mom that her dying wish was fulfilled.