Just for Catholics - Testimonies

The Greatest Gift My Mom Left Us

By Allison Woo

My mom was called home to the Lord on 26th October 2002, after a long battle with cancer since her diagnosis more than 5 years ago of Stage 4 breast cancer. The prognosis for her was two years as the cancer had already metastasized to her skull and backbone. Yet the Lord had extended her life. Not only that, she had lived quite a normal life despite two surgeries (one was a mastectomy), courses of radiotherapy and regular visits to the oncology clinic.

Mom's condition

Mom did suffer physically as her cancer began spreading to her lungs. She was coughing a lot and started to lose her voice about a month before she passed away. She suffered breathlessness but had not experienced any severe pain, which would have required the administration of morphine. Despite her pelvic and knee joint pain, mom could still walk until the last two days before she went home to the Lord. She had not suffered any bedsores, as she was only bedridden for one or two days before she slipped into unconsciousness.

Mom's struggle

It was not easy at all for mom to let go of close relatives, friends and us. One morning, she poured out to me all her cares and concerns. I thank God that I could share with her God's promises from the Bible. She also mentioned that she wanted to enjoy life here on earth a little longer. The Lord had ministered to mom through His Word as I showed mom my Chinese-English Bible and asked her to read 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 which says,

"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us or this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord - for we walk by faith, not by sight - we are of good courage, I say, and prefer to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."

I also showed her Paul's writing in Philippians 1:21-23,

"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better."

I used to ask mom to read out to me scripture verses I used to show her and this time she had wanted to read it out as well. But since she was losing her voice and was coughing, I told her to read in her heart. She read God's Word meditatively and nodded gently. I asked her whether she understood what she had read and she said yes.

Mom's prayer

A week before she was taken home to the Lord, she had told me that she wanted to "farntin gah" (go back to heavenly home) so that she would not have to suffer the physical discomfort anymore. I told mom to tell the Lord her desires and I would also pray for her. She had also mentioned her desire to go home to the Lord to the lady who came to clean her house. The Lord answered her prayer and she has now found total relief from her discomfort.

Mom's blessings

I also thank the Lord for mom's church, her pastors and their wives and church members whom the Lord has blessed her with. She had always mentioned about them with so much gladness, saying that they had been visiting her and praying for her and they also gave her money. I also thank the Lord for a wonderful Memorial Service for mom where so many relatives, friends, members of our churches (mom's Canaan Church, my brother and sister's Jalan Imbi Chapel and mine TTDI Gospel Centre) and other brothers and sisters from many other churches had come to attend. There were not enough chairs for every one (more than 150) to sit. If mom was watching this from heaven above (I'm not sure, as this is not mentioned in the Bible), I'm sure she would have been very touched by such a lovely Memorial Service for her like we have been touched by all the prayers, phone calls, SMS, cards, flowers, contributions, love and care shown and given to us during our bereavement.

The greatest thing mom left behind for us

Her pastor mentioned that the greatest thing mom left behind for us is not the material things but it is her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that has enabled us to be reunited with her when we go to heaven one day. She is now beholding the glory of God and I believe she can meet my dad and her eldest grandson (my nephew, Andrew) who had gone to the Lord many years earlier. We never have to say goodbye for the last time.

To mom, I want to say. "Thank you mother, for putting your trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and for receiving Him into your heart as your personal Saviour. We shall meet again in heaven one glorious day."

"In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever" Psalm 16:11.

I have personally experienced a very deep sense of joy when I felt the strong presence of the Lord during personal times of worship and prayer. Despite that, I cannot imagine the depth and the extent of joy my mom is now experiencing being in the full presence of God, face to face, beholding all of His glory. What I have personally experienced and with the little I can understand is just a foretaste of what is to come. What I can see with my eyes of faith is only a glimpse of what is promised to us when we go to heaven.

No wonder Paul wrote that he rather be absent from the body to be at home with the Lord.

May you be blessed and encouraged by our testimony. God bless.

Email: Allison Woo