It was October 8, 2015.  She had suffered for over a year with leukemia and was in her final day.  As she lay on the bed her family surrounded her with unconditional love. “Hold my hand she had said days before.  She could no longer talk.  She lay in the fetal position, her pain medication working and helping her relax through the pain. They had been at her side since the day she was diagnosed.  Jerome caressed her hair with loving hands.  Christina lovingly caressed her feet.  Matthew and Gabriel each held her hand in theirs.  Dad, Teresa, Nikki and Liza were there with love and support.

She had been coughing up blood the last few days.  The mucus was thick and she no longer had the strength to cough it up.  The boys cleared her mouth and wet her lips with water.  At 3:40 she took her last breath and her spirit returned to God.

What an example she had been.  She had endured constant pain without complaint.  Here biggest fear is that she would be a burden to her children.  But for us it was an honor and an act of love to care for our mother.  She had done the same for others and us.  She had been the example of compassion for those in need.  She lived a simple life filled with struggle, abandonment and trials but in spite of it all she overcame them with courage.

She had a deep love for God in her heart.  He was her strength in every struggle.  It was him she trusted to get her through and when she was done to take her home.  She had changed many lives in her earthly journey.  There were countless foster children that she had helped, in addition to raising her own children.  There were friends and family who always sought her comfort in trying times.  No one was a stranger in her home as they were welcomed and fed as if they were family.

So what was the gift in death?  The end of the struggle and pain, the countless gifts of love and compassion that she shared and received, the wonderful memories she left behind and in the end the gift of returning to God her source and being welcomed by his loving arms.  It was a life well lived.  She is a part of us, of our journey and her life was a gift to us all.  We are all gifts to each other.  We impact lives with our thoughts, deeds words and actions.  So for today be aware of the way you can be that loving compassionate example of true love and change the world as only you can.