Welcome to another installment of A Day in the Life! Today I am pleased to welcome Juliette Duncan, an author visiting us all the way from Australia! She is sharing a very difficult, yet beautiful day with us. I think it will really touch your heart, but more importantly, give you hope. You’ll see why in just a moment! Thank you Juliette for sharing your day with us!
A Day in My Life by Juliette Duncan
When I began thinking about what day to write about, there was only one day in my mind, and that was the day my mother died. I know that most of the other authors are writing about lighter matters, but right at the moment, because it’s still so fresh and raw, I don’t think I could, so I’m sorry. I hope this insight into this special day won’t make you feel sad, but will uplift and inspire.
It’s hard to believe that less a month ago my mum was still here with us. Yes, she had been diagnosed with cancer, but she was having treatment and we all hoped and prayed she’d survive. She didn’t, and we had only one week to spend with her after being told she wasn’t going to make it.
It was such a special week, but the day she finally passed into God’s loving arms is one I’ll never forget. I think in our western society we’re often shielded from the reality of death and our own mortality, but being with her as she took her final breath was such a precious moment and one I’ll never regret experiencing.
The day began with me waking up in a hospital pull-out bed in the Palliative Care Ward of the hospital where my mum had been for the previous week. My brother and I had been taking turns staying overnight with her, and that night it had been my turn. She’d gone to sleep the previous afternoon and was still asleep. Her breaths were deep, slow and raspy. When my elderly father arrived earlier than normal, he was surprised that she was still asleep. The nurses said that she might not wake up again. Our tears flowed as we understood what that meant.
My brother and his wife arrived soon after. We sat around her bed and stroked her hand and talked quietly with her as the nurse told us it was possible she could hear us. We also prayed with her and for her.
The doctors arrived for their morning visit. They confirmed that the end was near, but couldn’t say how long she had. My sister telephoned and asked if she should bring some lunch for us all. I told her that would be lovely. I also told her that Mum hadn’t woken up, and we didn’t know how much time she had left.
Fifteen minutes later, my mum opened her eyes and looked at us. I was stroking her hair at the time, trying to offer comfort as she’d begun gasping. The look in her eyes is one I’ll never forget. She knew she was about to die, and we had to let her go. Knowing she was going to a better place helped tremendously, but it didn’t stop the grief we felt when she took her final breath.
My sister arrived half an hour later. Too late to say good-bye. But she was okay with that. She’d already said all she needed to, but it was still a shock for her to discover Mum had actually passed away. By the time she arrived, the nurses had removed the tube from Mum’s nose and had lit three candles at the foot of her bed. She looked peaceful, and finally, she was pain free.
We cried together. We gave Mum a kiss and prayed for her soul. I’m so eternally grateful for the opportunity I’d had several days before to share the gospel message with her. She’d always believed in God but didn’t have a close relationship with Him. However, as she prayed and asked Jesus into her heart, I knew that her confession of faith was sincere and genuine, and it gave me tremendous comfort.
Shortly after, we left Mum in her room and went and had lunch, almost in a daze, trying to take in what had just happened before we started calling the other members of our family. Finally, once we were done, we cleaned out her room, gave Mum a final good-bye kiss, and left the hospital. My Dad was struggling to believe it had happened so quickly. But Mum had gone, and nothing could change that fact.
The rest of the afternoon and evening passed quietly in Dad’s unit. We had to stop saying Mum and Dad’s unit. That was hard. And then we had to leave him and go home. We offered to stay, but he said he needed to be alone for a while.
It took me an hour to drive home on my own. I shed tears almost the whole way. When I arrived home, my husband hugged me and I cried again.
I have to confess that I had a glass of wine as we chatted into the night. Finally, I went to bed, but my mind was filled with visions of my mother’s last hours and minutes. Precious memories I’ll cherish forever.
Grief and loss are such strong emotions, but they’re part of the life God has given us and we shouldn’t shy away from them. God has given us a heart to feel with, and He’s certainly given me an abundance of situations over my lifetime where my heart has been touched and torn, from a broken marriage, a pregnant teenage daughter, a blended step-family and all the challenges that brings, and many, many more situations – in fact, so many I could probably write a book!
But I thank God for all the experiences I’ve had, both good and bad, and for the gift He’s given me in writing books that are emotional but real. I don’t think I could write anything but. I don’t know that I could write a book yet that included such an emotional experience as the passing of my mother, but God may have something in the future where that experience can be used for His glory.
In the meantime, I need to edit my next book… The Homecoming, which will be on Pre-order on the 27th February and is part of a brand-new series with six other wonderful Christian authors, The Potter’s House authors. Each book in the series will show God’s loving hand at work in people’s lives, and it’s my prayer that many hearts will be touched by reading these uplifting stories.
I’ll never forget the 27th January 2018, and I’m ever so glad that I didn’t have to say good-bye to my Mum forever, it was just a ‘bye for now’.
Needless to say, I didn’t get any writing done that day, or the day before or the day after, but the emotions I experienced and the insight into death that God gave me will never leave me.
About the Author
Juliette Duncan is passionate about writing real-life Christian inspirational romances that will touch her readers’ hearts and make a difference in their lives. Drawing on her own often challenging real-life experiences, Juliette writes deeply emotional stories that highlight God’s amazing love and faithfulness, for which she’s eternally grateful.
Juliette lives in Brisbane, Australia. She and her husband have five adult children and seven grandchildren whom they love dearly, as well as an elderly long-haired dachshund and a little black cat. When not writing, Juliette and her husband love exploring the great outdoors.
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