Although dying is a part of living, it's never easy to accept or understand when it happens to someone you love. On February 1 at 4:00 in the afternoon, I lost my mother to Parkinson’s and dementia. It’s a terrible disease that renders the mind and body of those afflicted with horrible disabilities as they literally fade away and die of starvation. It was so hard to watch my mom just wither away like that without really being able to do anything about it. The disease causes your body to shut down, and the dementia leaves them unable to even find words to put together sentences, much less even remember your name. But we knew she was still there when she would squeeze our hands, or blink her eyes, even crying at times when we would say certain things to her.
I wrote a song for her - Poochie’s Waltz - which is on my latest CD SOMETHING MORE due out March 9th. Poochie was Mom’s childhood nickname, and it’s all her nephew Ricky ever called her. I played it for her as she lay there, unable to move, or speak, or even open her eyes. It was the last thing she really heard. As she listened, I reminded her of her favorite song, The Tennessee Waltz, and that this was a waltz too. I told her to imagine dancing with my dad - she called him Pops. Her whole body twitched and her feet seemed to move a little. Then she cried a couple tears. I cried too, but more than a few. She passed away just about an hour later.
Nina Ruth Bailey Miller was a very special lady. My dad talked about their relationship often in his book A DEBTOR SERVANT: A Life of Service to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and I read a few passages of that in tribute to her at her funeral. She spent 60 years in ministry with my father, who was a Baptist minister, and they were married just shy of 62 years. Read Proverbs 31:10-31 and you will know her too. She epitomized the virtuous woman described in that Biblical passage. It’s not just my sentimental rememberances of her that causes me to draw the comparisons. Anyone who knew her would agree. We are today comforted by the passage from 2 Cornithians 5:7-8, which says, “For we walk by faith, and not by sight. We are confident, then, and would prefer to be away from the body and present with the Lord."
So long for now, Mom. We will see you again soon!