2 Timothy 4:6
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Seven full days ago, the soul of my sweet mother, Patricia, departed for eternity while surrounded by loved ones. I was fortunate enough to hold her hand while thanking her for all she ever did for this ‘boy’ right here. She was not afraid of death.She often spoke of dying with terms of endearment. She didn’t fear it; she welcomed it. Mom was ‘strange’ like that, simply believing that the promises of God were true.
For the last decade of her life in fact, she practically lived in a state of readiness but it was over a year ago after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer that she began to really put all of her affairs in complete order.
Her initial decision was to forego any chemo or radiation and just live life to the fullest extent possible with the time she had left. It took about a week before the family and doctors could convince her to do otherwise. Her only reason for taking chemo and radiation was to give us that time to get ourselves together. She never expected to be around much longer but she had no regrets because in her own words, “I have lived a full life and God has been GOOD to me … I’m BLESSED!”
I am so grateful that after God extended her another year of her life, she was able to enjoy several family highlights. She got to see her grandson, Denzell graduate high school and even get accepted into barber school. She was also able to ride to Dallas on the road trip to see me graduate with my master’s degree. I shall never forget driving “Ms. Daisy!” She even got to participate in the 25th renewing of the marriage vows for Lady Kendra & I. Of course, that was special. Last but not least, however; she got to enjoy one last Thanksgiving holiday with her family and a few of her dear cousins from North Carolina & New York, “S.L.” , Eleanor & Stephanie who came at her request. Our Thanksgiving was magical and I knew just looking at her that as it took her back to her childhood joys that it would be her last. God was GOOD to us.
Within her last weeks, we saw her health and energy declined more each day. Sleep became impossible; her appetite departed and the normal care that she had been able to give herself was almost completely diminished.
It took being carried in our arms to get her in and out of the house and to the car just to get to the hospital. There was no doubt, her time was near and as sorrowful as it seemed; the reality was that PATRICIA KEYES was ready.
I will never forget how my mother taught me so very much. It is she who taught me how to read, write, pray, trust God and put him first. Through her life; I’ve learned so much but in a strange way; it is in her death; still being processed, that I have learned the most remarkable lesson.Once again; she remains my teacher; this time demonstrating the CRITICAL lesson of READINESS.
We go into the Christmas season with tears and sadness but more importantly with faith, hope and love. Furthermore we have a resounding JOY that all is well because mom was READY.
Yes, I have been so inspired through the life and teachings of my mom but Patricia Ann Keyes saved her greatest lesson for last. I have a flashback of my mom sitting down at the kitchen table with me looking over my shoulder as I did my homework. This time however, she is at the Lord’s table teaching me a far greater lesson.
It is the KEY of READINESS that she impressed upon us for this season that is coming to us all. It is a priceless MASTERKEY that will oneday allow each of us to stare death in the face with a smile. My mom did because she was READY.
Pastor Mel Keyes,
Success Coach & Vision Locksmith