Transformed in 10 Minutes: Mom-Mom’s Story

Mom-Mom's near-death experience when she saw Jesus

Mom-Mom with Jesus, played by Steve Abel, embracing Mom-Mom after The Promise, a church musicale

Indomitable woman though she was, my grandmother had feared death since she was forty. Now, at eighty-five, she was dead. She had flatlined in the hospital, and the nurses struggled to revive her. Images of Mom-Mom passing before she was ready—before we were ready—shot through my mind.

Mom-Mom was the kind of woman you knew loved you even as she scolded you for lackluster bow-tying skills or an inability to pick decent paint colors. (To her, Betty Jean, the only acceptable hues were bright green or canary yellow.)

She was the kind of woman who always wanted to give you something. You might not know it, but you probably needed a couch from Goodwill, tomatoes from a farmer’s market, or peanut butter fudge she’d made with an oar-sized spoon. (Betty Jean made regular trips to The Restaurant Store.)

And she was the kind of woman who always wanted to take you somewhere. Her favorite places were yard sales, Amish country, and the Sight and Sound Theatre. (Betty Jean loved their musicals that bring Bible stories to life.)

Now, she was gone.

Four days earlier, she had been admitted to the hospital for a persistent infection. Her health had been declining on several fronts. Even so, we thought she had at least one more year.

The Day Everything Changed

“Mom-Mom is dying, Christy!” My mother’s voicemail turned my blood cold. “She’s dying!”

I took a deep breath and called my mom. After fifteen minutes of CPR, the nurses had revived Mom-Mom. But they didn’t think she had long.

Warm tears poured. Mom-Mom was alive. For now.

Driving to the hospital, I faltered between crying out to God, and—submerged in a stunned silence—processing what was happening.

I hurried into the ICU, hoping and praying Mom-Mom’s heart was still beating. The waiting room overflowed with family.

Mom-Mom with family on her eightieth birthday

With Our Family on Her Eightieth Birthday

After two hours, we saw her. A ventilator sustained her, and she couldn’t speak, but she knew us and squeezed our hands. The next morning, they removed the ventilator, and she started talking—all about Jesus. She had seen him.

At first, we thought she met him in a dream. The more she talked, the more we realized she had glimpsed her eternal home.

“I know a lot of people there!” She mentioned a door, and then she described birds, gardens, and a river. “The water is so beautiful.”

“The streets, they are really gold,” she told my cousin Abby. “And you should see my house. It’s glorious!”

Anyone who knew Mom-Mom knew she was frank, not poetic. In the forty-one years I was blessed to be her granddaughter, I had not heard her use the word “glorious.” Now it was a regular part of her vocabulary.

Curious, Aunt Debby asked Mom-Mom, “What does Jesus look like?”

Mom-Mom cocked her head. “It’s hard to describe. He’s just beautiful.”

Continue reading Mom-Mom’s story in my second book, When Losses Become Legacies. Click here to buy or borrow it.


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