Today I had an opportunity to speak to a group who were honoring those who they had lost during the year.

Answered Prayer and The Last Moments with My Heroes

holding hands

Today I had an opportunity to speak to a group who were honoring those who they had lost during the year. Ann Aldridge asked me to read a poem and say a few words if I liked. It gave me a few moments to remember my own who have fallen from this life.

I remember my mom Ruth Rebecca Putnam Mize who left when I was still a boy in many ways at age twenty three. I remember the day we prayed that we would discover why she was feeling so bad. After our prayer we went to my grandfather’s farm and walked hand in hand the old gravel road to the fish pond. We talked about the future and she bent over to pick up a stick and tossed it off the road as if to clean up the place. Little did I know that walk was God’s special grace for me, since she would go to the hospital that week and never return home.

A few years later I wrote a poem about what it must be like for a father to look into his children’s eyes for the last time. How he might recall in that moment the wonder, the sacrifice and the heartache that children bring. How was I to know that one day I would have the opportunity to look one last time into my father’s eyes as I would watch him die.

When my father was in his late seventies, I told him I was praying for him. I told him my prayer was that he would keep his right mind till the day that he died, and that he would be able to teach his class at church right up till the end. He was amused at my prayer and laughed at me.

At age 82, Dad had two aneurysms in his legs and an emergency surgery was ordered. There were complications to the surgery and for a week we wondered if he would make it. The stress and pain of the surgery affected his mind and it was heart breaking to see him grasp for things that didn’t exist and look at me without recognition.

Thankfully, after about a week, his mind returned, and he began his long struggle back to health. The week before his 84th birthday he called me and said he felt like going to see Alabama play football, and together we went to Starkville, Mississppi to watch Alabama face off with Mississippi State.

The next week I called him on his birthday and asked what he had planned for the day. He said he was preparing his lesson for church since he would be teaching the class for the first time in almost two years since his surgery. We both relished in this milestone to his recovery.

It was later that evening that I got the call from my sister Jeanette who thought he had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital in Jasper, AL. When I finally arrived, I walked into the emergency room. His eyes were closed. I went to the foot of the bed and gently put my hands on his covered feet. He looked up at me and our eyes met. He smiled at me and closed his eyes again. It would be only a few short minutes till the big one hit and he was gone.

Below is the poem I wrote. I had no idea that I would have this experience.

Love’s greatest gifts—
I have endured—
For this last chance—
I pay again—
To look into these eyes I know—
To see a chapter yet unwritten—
My hopes and dreams they will not die—
No matter what your forecast be—
I see it deep within their bones—
A place for me I can call home.

CJM Feb 01

Who are your heroes?

 

  • Hi Clay,
    Such a beautiful tribute to your parents. Having recently lost my mother, my eyes welled up just at the title of this post. It’s overwhelming sometimes how our memories of their presence consume us after they are gone. Your parents obviously knew how much you loved them and must have been so proud of you. Blessings to you.
    Warm regards,
    Ann

    • claiborne.mize@gmail.com

      Thank you Ann. I was very blessed to have such built in positive role models and mentors. Many do not. Sounds like you did too.

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