I really don't even know how to begin this post. I don't think I can fully express what the past two weeks have been like for me and for our whole family. But I am going to do my best because, even though I know I will never forget this time, I still want to record, as best as I can, everything that has transpired.
Let me begin with July 16th. It was early on that Thursday morning when I got a call from my dad saying my mom was not doing well. She had gone to bed fine the night before, but he and my aunt, who is a nurse and has been my mom's caretaker for a month, could not wake her up in the morning. She seemed unconscious and was unresponsive. I immediately threw on my clothes and headed over to my parents' house. I think we have all known for a while now that the end was coming, but we just weren't sure when it would happen. Throughout the morning, all her family gathered around her. We all told her how much we loved her and we said our last goodbyes. We played music and held her hand and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. But as the afternoon wore on, she seemed to be waking up. Finally, she opened her eyes and came out of the coma-like state she had been in all day. She seemed surprised to find all of us surrounding her! We were all so happy that she seemed to be doing better. We laughed and talked for several hours and my mom was fully alert. It seemed like all of a sudden she had gotten a burst of energy. My niece, Brianna, even got her iPad out and showed Mom the wedding pictures that she had just gotten back. My mom put her hand on Brianna's leg and rubbed it so sweetly. She couldn't talk anymore, but we all knew how much she loved us.
Later in the day, my brother went over and took his three kids. She hugged them and rubbed their backs and held his baby, but she definitely was beginning to decline again. My aunt said she went to bed around 9:00 feeling very weak. I kept my phone on all night...expecting the worst. Then, around 4:30 in the morning, my aunt called to say my mom had passed away peacefully in her sleep.
Saying goodbye to my sweet, beautiful mom for the last time was one of the hardest things I will ever have to do. I will miss her so much. She has been such a good mom to me for my whole life. She has always been there for me. She encouraged me and gave me advice and she was always interested in my life. She taught me manners and how to cook. She made our house cozy and comfortable. She told me about Jesus and showed me how to be a good wife and mother. She rocked my babies and had us over for dinner and always recommended good books she was reading. We taught a Sunday School class together for six years and when I was teaching in a Title One school, she even spent a whole year coming to my classroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help me out. She was intentional about what she did and I was one of many who benefited from that. Nobody loves you like your mom. Her passing is going to leave a huge hole in my life. Who can measure the love of a mother?? I know I will miss her every day. But....despite this...I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am so thankful she is no longer here. She was so very sick. ALS is a brutal disease. I hated seeing her like that. And now she is healed and whole and with the Lord. And I am so happy for her!! Thank you Lord, for being merciful and taking her home at just the right time.
This was her obituary...Dwain Horsley Bouldin, 74 died at home in Matthews on July 17, 2015. She passed away peacefully in her sleep after a two year battle with aALS. She was the oldest of Bill and Lasca Horsley’s four daughters. Dwain was born in Franklin, N.C. on March 19, 1941.God gave Dwain exceptional intellectual and leadership skills. Always at the top of her class, she graduated at seventeen and enrolled in Baylor University in Waco, Texas. There she met her future husband, Don Bouldin, and graduated in three years. Together they began a fifty-five year ministry as pastor and wife. Often people remarked that Dwain was born to be a model pastor’s wife. In small and large churches alike, Dwain taught Sunday School and Bible classes. She was often chosen to speak at large, state-wide events. An outstanding writer, Dwain was both a writer and editor of adult curriculum for the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. She taught Senior English, Debate, and Religion at South Mecklenburg High School while rearing three children and assisting her husband in multiple ministries. Dwain was bright, funny, gifted, a great friend and encourager, a terrific mom and grandmother, great-grandmother. But, more than anything, she was a committed follower of Jesus Christ. She gave Him her life as a child and He used her and blessed her all her life.Dwain was proceeded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband, Don, and three children, Betsy Maddox and husband, Steve; Blake Bouldin and his wife, Angie; and Brent Bouldin and his wife, Britney. The Bouldins have eleven grandchildren, Ashley Scott, Mark Maddox, Laura Maddox, Lindy Maddox, Brianna Wooten, Bryson Bouldin, Brett Bouldin, Brad Bouldin, Bailey Bouldin, Brooklyn Bouldin, and Braxton Bouldin. They also have three great grand-children, David Scott, Caroline Scott, and Will Scott. Three sisters, Kirsten Horsley, Billie Horsley, and Karen Horsley; and her beloved Bichon, Jake, also survive Dwain. Memorials may be sent to Carmel Baptist Church in memory of Dwain Bouldin.
The days after her death were bittersweet. We had lots of wonderful family times. We laughed and cried and reminisced.
We sorted through pictures and told stories.
We talked about ways my mom had impacted all of our lives.
We prayed together and ate tons of amazing food that just seemed to keep pouring in.
A few nights before my mom's funeral, we all gathered together to share our memories of my mom and remember all the ways she had blessed our lives. Here is what my sister in law wrote about that night....
My mom's funeral was wonderful. Five preachers participated and our church was packed. So many wonderful friends took time out of their day to come support us and tell us how much they loved us and my mom. I felt so encouraged and loved.
We all got so many wonderful Facebook messages from friends telling us how much my mom had meant to them and how she had impacted their lives. Here are just a few....
It is strange how even in the hardest times of your life, God is there giving you hope and joy and peace. And that is exactly what happened during this time for me. I am so thankful and blessed.
I can't recount this story without mentioning my aunt, Karen, who was my mom's caretaker for the last month of her life.
This is what I shared about her on Facebook...
Have you ever met a real life hero? An angel on earth that God sent into your life to help you through a hard time? That is what this sweet lady is to our family. Karen is my mom's youngest sister. For the past 30 days, she has been my mom's personal home care nurse. She has sacrificed time off of her own job to take care of my mom during this last month of her life. She has fed her, bathed her, dressed her, and treated her with such love and tenderness right up until she took her last breath.
Karen's last day with my mom was this coming Monday and my mom did not want her to go. Even though Mom was no longer able to talk, she communicated by writing on a white board. As Karen began to gather her things together a few days ago and start packing to go home, Mom was sitting in her favorite chair writing away on her board. Karen asked her what she was doing, and my mom turned her board around to reveal this message. She knew there was no one else who would love her and care for her in the same wonderful way as Karen did. Being a caretaker is often a thankless job and I just wanted to say how eternally grateful I am to this beautiful soul who stayed with my
mom till her very last breath and gave every bit of love, sacrifice, and energy she had to making this awful disease as bearable as possible. Thank you so much Karen. I love you!
During the days right after my mom passed away, Sean's (Lindy's boyfriend's) mom was getting worse and worse. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a month ago and has just been on a downhill slide ever since. Sadly, his dad just passed away nine months ago, so this has been extremely hard on him. Here is what happened during those days in Lindy's own words....
So...not only did we lose my mom, but Sean also lost his mom three days later. Only a few days after my mom's funeral, we attended another one to honor the life of Sean's mom.
He is now left with no parents at the age of 24. He has two half brothers, but no full siblings. We are heartbroken for him. We love Sean like our own and have made sure he knows that we will always be here for him. He will be part of our family. Please pray for him as he adjusts to a new normal. Lindy will be moving back from New York in two weeks to be here with him. She wants to be with him! But she is so sad that she barely got to New York, where she has always wanted to be, and then had to come back. It is just a hard time for everyone right now.
Even with all this, I still praise the Lord. He loves us and has been with us through every valley and every hard day. He will continue to carry us and He will be faithful just like He has always been. He is the same today as He has ever was and I cannot imagine going through any of this without Him walking right beside me.
Even so...it is well with my soul.