Home


Thursday, May 17, 2012 my beautiful mom, Deborah Louise Appleby, met her Savior face to face around 8:00 in the evening.  She had battled cancer for two years.

Oh how she fought.  Initially, we were told she would only live a couple months.  She was so frail.  She could not walk or move without excruciating pain.  The reality of it hit me when I had to scoop her in my arms like a baby to help her move in bed.  She was 58 years old.  It really didn’t seem fair.

Mom liked to prove the doctors wrong.  She always outlived their predictions.  And she always responded better than expected to any treatment.

Mom’s last week was filled with tough decisions, pain, and then comfort and peace.  As noted in my last post, Brain Surgery, we had a tough choice on how to handle her pain.  We were told she would not leave the hospital.  Of course, we had heard that so many times.  We knew that, one day, they would be right.  I wondered if Mom passed away during or soon after surgery, would I have regrets?  I can honestly say that I don’t.  The relief of her pain was beyond evident after surgery.  She looked so much better.  She could move.  Her face looked so much more relaxed.  Her eyes were normal and clear.  Her blood pressure and heart rate were normal.  Lungs clear.  I stayed with her around the clock.  My husband gave me a few breaks, but I wanted to be with her.  She would nod her head or makes noises to communicate.  I didn’t want to miss anything.

Thursday started out bumpy.  Her breathing was slightly labored and she had mucus in her throat.  She wasn’t sleeping.  And her kidneys didn’t seem to be functioning.  All are signs of impending death.  As I was talking to Mom, I mentioned that we couldn’t get her to the bathroom because she had just had surgery, so it was okay to use her brief.  She always hated those things.  Within an hour, she had to be changed three times!  Her breathing improved.  I sang “Victory in Jesus” to her.  As I sang, she turned her face to me, smiled ever so slightly, and looked so content.  Peaceful.  She was doing well.  At 12:30, she was transferred back to the nursing home.  When we arrived, Mom looked around her room and seemed to relax.  This was home.  She dozed off a couple times.  Finally she could relax and rest.  I stayed for a couple hours.  Her lungs were still clear.  She was calm and had no pain (morphine is nice that way).  I decided to leave for a few hours.  I hadn’t seen my children most of the week.  As a family, we went to swim and gymnastics practices.  Afterwards, we headed back to the nursing home to check on Mom.

And that’s when we found out.  We were about 5 minutes from arriving, but she was already gone.

I wonder if she waited until I left.  She had worried so much about how my brother and I would handle her passing.  How would my children handle it?  And when I think about it, I really can’t imagine leaving my children or husband.  I’d want them to experience as little pain as possible (none at all, actually).  Would it be hard for them to watch me take my final breath?  Would they relive that moment forever?  She knew I had never been with someone as they passed away.   I think she was still being my mom, even in her last moments in life.  She wanted to protect me from the pain.  She was my shield, even on her last day.

Mom is healed.  Not the way I wanted it.  I want her here, sitting on my couch, telling me to get off the computer, wanting to know if I’ve planned dinner yet.  I want her reading to Joshua and sewing with Madelyn.  I want her to see them graduate and get married.  I want her to hold her great-grandbabies.  I want her to be here when we adopt again.  I want her fussing over how neglected our poor pets are.  But an earthly healing is never complete.  Our bodies are still flawed and still fail us.  And nothing can compare to the presence of the Father. Mom is completely healed now.  New body, worshipping at the feet of her Savior, praising God.  She is reunited with her sister, mother, and father.  No pain.  No disease.  She can talk and walk and leap for joy!  Her eyes can see clearly.  I couldn’t ask for anything better for her.  She can sing!

I can begin to understand the pain God feels when He is separated from us because of our sin, the pain Jesus felt on the cross when His Father looked away.  Separation is painful.  It aches.  It knocks you off your feet sometimes.  But praise, God, this separation is only temporary.

So what have I learned on this journey?  Well, I’ve learned a lot about cancer and health.  But we’ll save that for another day.  The one thing that became more and more real throughout this journey is how it is so easy to get beaten down by the circumstances and not see the bigger picture.  I wish I could say that I cleaned vomit (and worse) with joy every time.  I wish I could say that I counted it a privilege to bath my mom each time she needed my help.  Or drive her to countless appointments.  Or hold her steady as she sat on the toilet.  Sometimes I grumbled.  I was angry that this interfered with my life.  I have children, you know.  But looking back, I realized that I was blessed to be able to do those things.  I’ll never get to feed her again or wash her hair or help her dress.  We humans are like that, aren’t we?  We don’t see the blessings until they’re gone.

Don’t miss out on life.  Even when it seems ugly and burdensome, find joy.  Know that one day the struggles will pass, but so will the good that came along with the burdens.  Sometimes they are a package deal.

Forgive.  No matter how much a person wrongs you or hurts you, we will all meet the same end.  Watching someone wither made me see how fragile we all really are.  I would not wish pain and suffering on anyone.  We will all experience it one day anyway.

I heard an old, 
old story
how a Savior came
 from glory
How he gave his life
on Calvary
 to save a wretch like me
I heard about 
His groaning, 
of his precious blood’s
 atoning
Then I repented 
of my sin
 and won the victory

Oh, victory in Jesus,
my Savior forever
He sought me 
and he bought me 
with his redeeming blood
He loved me 
e’re I knew him
 and all my love
 is due him
He plunged me to victory 
beneath the
 cleansing flood

I heard about his 
healing, 
of his cleansing pow’r
 revealing
How he made the lame 
to walk again 
and caused the
 blind to see
And then I cried
 “Dear Jesus,
come and heal
 my broken spirit”
And somehow Jesus
 came and brought 
to me the victory

Oh, victory in Jesus,
my Savior forever
He sought me
 and he bought me 
with his redeeming blood
He loved me 
e’re I knew him 
and all my love 
is due him
He plunged me to victory
 beneath the
 cleansing flood

I heard about a mansion 
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold 
beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing, 
and the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there 
the song of victory.

Memorial Celebrating Deborah Appleby
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
2:00 P.M.
Grace Bible Church Southwood
1901 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy S.
College Station, TX 77840

Visitation Noon-2:00 P.M.

Internment to follow at Memorial Cemetery
3800 Raymond Stotzer PKWY
College Station, TX

*Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to Grace Bible Church*