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A Last Look
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Gale I. Ware

When you get to my age of 98 (living on borrowed time); you begin hashing over your whole life and wondering what was it good for?  Who really minds what happened to you during your walk through the thistles and briars except God?  Anyway, I thought I would share one incident in my life that might matter to someone else.  It is my first test in my dubious walk with Christ in my life.

I need to start with a little background information.  I was an only child and my parents were not church goers, so they did not teach me anything about the Bible, but I had a grandmother that was a Christian and she taught me to memorize the Lord’s Prayer and also the 23rd Psalm.  I did attend a Sunday School for a short time, but I was never encouraged to continue, so I lost track of anything I had learned there, except I still remembered the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer.

After I was married and had two children, I discovered that my husband liked to drink, and that he could be abusive sometimes.  I thought of leaving him, but I couldn’t work and still take care of my children, so I just stayed in the marriage relationship, hoping that things would eventually improve.  In the meantime, both of my children grew up and left home while still in high school.  I knew this would happen because they finally could not tolerate his drinking behavior.  My daughter went to live with her grandmother (my mother) and my son joined the Naval Air service.

My daughter finished her last year of high school while living with my mother, but she had met several Mormon classmates that befriended her and she had ended up joining the Mormon Church.  I didn’t know anything about the Mormons, so I tried to study their beliefs, but never could quite understand them.  However, she married a Mormon boy and I felt she was finally safe.

My son came home after four years in the service, but he had matured enough that he could not stand to continue living with his father’s drinking behavior. He had become interest in the Christian ministry by listening to a minister on his little radio.  He sent for materials to read and bought himself a Bible.  He ended up attending a Christian College and after four years of learning, he graduated as a minister of faith.  Of course, the first thing he wanted to do was to convert his Mom and Dad. He came home and tried talking to both of us.  I was fascinated with his teachings, but his Dad would have no part of it.

My son was very disappointed that his father wouldn’t listen, but he was happy that I wanted to learn more and more.  He even told me that the reason he was interested in being a Christian due to all the Christian books I had read to them when they were growing up.  He remembered, “The Robe” and the “The Big Fisherman”.  I bought a Bible and started studying avidly.  My husband was curious about my sudden interest in the Bible, but he still wanted no part of it, no matter how I tried to tweak his interest.

After a few more years of turbulent married life, and after six grandchildren (five sons to my daughter and one son to my son), I still had not been able to convert my husband.  He had joined the Masons and I thought that might help, but I didn’t know that Masons were a “cult” and that he had made a terrible mistake.  It was only after his death that I found out what the Masonic Lodge was all about.

After we had been married almost 47 years, both retired from work, I had joined a church and was attending regularly.  It seemed the more I became involved in the church, the more he became abusive and by this time, he had become a real alcoholic.

One morning, while we were sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and I was trying to talk to him about his alcoholism and about getting treatment, he became enraged.  He pulled a gun out from under the table (which he always kept) and pointed it at me and said,” I am going to kill you!”  It was the first time I had ever seen such demonic HATE in his eyes.  I froze in fear, closed my eyes and prayed.  I dared not try to run because I felt he would shoot me anyway.  I sat still and prayed and expecting to hear the gun go off.  I’m not sure how long I sat there (seconds or minutes) but when I opened my eyes, he had laid the gun down on the table and he sat there like he was in a trance.  The look of hatred was gone and he just looked puzzled.

I don’t know what he saw or what happened while my eyes were closed, but I assume that must have seen something (maybe an angel?), but whatever happened had saved me.  I slowly got up and left the room.  He never said a word and neither did I.

That night after he had gone to bed (he always went to bed right after dinner) and I was watching TV in the livingroom.  I left the TV on and quietly took a few of my clothes, my purse, the dog and slipped out the front door.  I got in my car and drove away.  Of course, I drove straight to my mother’s house in another city.  I never heard a word from him for eight months.  (I knew he would know where to find me.) He called me in March to come back home to do the income tax in April.  I told him that I could not do that and that I was never coming back because of his threat on my life.  He never offered an apology and just hung up.

Two weeks later my neighbors called me to say that John had not put the garbage out or picked up his mail for several days and they were worried about him, so I called his niece (who lived a short distance away) and asked her and her husband to check on him and let me know.  The called back and said that they could not get an answer and could not get into the house, so I told them to call the police and have then get into the house.  He was found dead, lying in bed.

When the police called me, I told then to call the mortuary to pick up his body, but NOT TO EMBAUM HIM OR TOUCH HIS BODY.  I said I would come up the next morning and take care of the arrangements.

The next morning, my daughter and I drove up to Seattle to the mortuary.  We took care of buying the casket and the burial, but we did not want a funeral.  Then we asked to see him.  The funeral director hesitated and said, “I don’t think you want to see him.  Besides, he’s in refrigeration.”  We said, “No matter.  Take him out of refrigeration.  We want to see him.”  So the man said, “Okay, but it will take a few minutes.”  When we walked into the room, he was put into the casket we had purchased.  We were truly SHOCKED when we saw him.  His mouth was wide open and his eyes were also wide open. The expression on his face was PURE HORROR!! It was if it was frozen on his face.

What a difference from the expression on my father’s face when he passed away.  I was sitting with him, holding his hand, when he passed away and took his last breath.  He had been in a coma for several hours, but he opened his eyes and looked up at the coiling and smiled the most beautiful smile of pure JOY!  There was no doubt in my mind that he had seen Heaven!

I didn’t get to be with my mother when she passed away because she was in a nursing home, but they told me that she had been sitting in her wheelchair after breakfast and had fallen asleep, as she often did, but this time when they checked on her…she was gone.  She had always said that she would like to go like her cousin did; sitting in her chair watching TV.  I never knew for sure what my mother believed, but I know that when she was a little girl she spent time with the Salvation Army.  She loved singing with then on the corners when they sang and preached on the street.  She also attended a Catholic School for a little while.  My grandfather was Catholic.

I hope this experience in my life will help someone else.  There certainly is a difference in the way people pass from this world into the next.

And it all depends on the “choice” we make.

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