+ Susan Marie (Troy) Peperkorn +
I remember getting the phone call the night my mom died eight years ago. I assume is was from my father, although I honestly don’t remember for sure. I was on my way to the airport at the time. He had called a couple hours before to say that she had had an aneurism, and was in the hospital, and that I needed to get there right away. One of the many wonderful and generous people at Messiah had the extra miles to get me a flight immediately. My father-in-law (who was visiting) drove me to the airport. We were in the car when my dad called to say she had died.
The flight, not surprisingly, was numb. All I remember was that I listened to Dvorak’s Requiem while I was on the plane. My sister picked me up at the airport in Des Moines. It was late, and we (of course) were in the middle of a snow storm. One of her wonderful friends drove me/us.
The week was mostly a blur. Heart ripping grief, unresolved feelings of anger and miscommunication, hope in the resurrection. It was all there and more. All hemmed in by bitter cold and snow. Appropriate, I’m sure.
Eight years later the grief is less raw, but the sadness is no less. I think about how my own children will never really know her. My oldest was only 4 when she died. My two youngest weren’t even born yet.
But today I am thankful for the resurrection of the dead. And for the verse from Isaiah:
“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”” (Isaiah 25:6–9 ESV)
Two things have always struck me about those verses. The first is that my mom loved the mountains. She was a Colorado snow bunny from way back, growing up on the Western slopes in Grand Junction. She was never really far from the mountains. They were home for her.
The second is that she loved steak. Strange, I know. But she did. She would often have steak early in the morning for breakfast. It’s not that often that you get such a smell associated with breakfast.
So when I see this picture of salvation and the resurrection, it reminds me how much at home she is/will be on the Last Day. The mountain of the Lord is for her. He is most comfortable on the mountain, for that is where His love is shown most clearly for us, his wayward children.
So hug your mother today for me. And if you are of a mind, have a little steak. It will be good for you. Think of it as a confession of the resurrection.
January 10, 2013