The Last Picture



This is the last photograph of my mom and me together before she died in March of 2013.  It is not my favorite picture from that visit.  My mom’s spontaneous laugh was captured in a different picture.  I would have picked that one, but I can hear my mom’s disapproval.  Her expression was more laugh and less smile and she would not have liked it as well.

But that wasn’t the last picture.  I spent time with my mom one month before her death.  Much to my chagrin, I realized I had forgotten my camera when I was halfway into the six hour trip to visit her.  I wouldn’t have wanted that time to be my last picture.  She was unsteady on her feet and she had a difficult time speaking.

But that wasn’t the last picture.  As family surrounded my mom in the hospital room, there was another picture etched in my mind.  My mom laid in the bed unresponsive except for the involuntary function of breathing, until even that became voluntary.  I watched my mom take her last breath.

But that isn’t the last picture. The last picture is the one I carry in my heart through my mom’s faith and mine in Jesus Christ. This picture of eternity in heaven is fuzzy with my human eyes, but I imagine my mom praising God and dancing on streets of gold. This last picture is my very favorite for I can clearly see my mom’s best smile ever.

1 Peter 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you,

Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.



8 thoughts on “The Last Picture

  1. Anonymous

    Photographs taken with our camera are snapshots of memories, of love, of joy ,of moments we deem important to remember. Like you Debbie, in Mom’s unexpected passing I discovered photographs taken with a camera or a smart phone are not the ones I look at to re-live our mom’s gifts to us girls and those that crossed her path in life rather it is the photographs taken in faith that I use to bring a smile to my face/heart. Thank you for sharing your beautiful ‘faith photograph’ in this blog posting. My ‘faith’ photo is actually a video which includes you. I clearly see mom walking towards Jesus, dropping to her knees and Him bending down holding her cheeks in His hands as if she were a two year old child. He then gently kisses her forehead. Words are not exchanged. Yet as you and I stand back and watch this happen we both know that within that kiss is a welcome home that includes unconditional love, relief, peace, joy, and acceptance you and I cannot yet understand. Never once do you or me try to step between the two for we both know this was HIS plan. We both know Mom has waited her entire long and sometimes tortured life to get to this very moment.

    A year ago, this video included you and I standing back and witnessing this long anticipated exchange between our mom and our Savior. Today, the edited version of my ‘faith’ video still has us standing back watching but…………today YOU AND I ARE HOLDING HANDS!

    March 27th 2013 at 9:15 am when the Dr. told me our mom had 24 hours to live I realized I was about to lose a chunk of who I was not realizing that soon I would gain (with our sisterhood) a chunk of who I AM. Thank you for your blog post today, sister. I love you.


    • Theresa, I love the terms you coined, “faith photograph” and “faith video”! What a beautiful mental picture (er, video) of mom being welcomed into heaven. In enabling us to glimpse her homecoming, God gave us a precious gift to comfort us in our loss.


  2. Oh, Debbie. I had goose bumps all the way through this post. I wasn’t sure where you were going but what a beautiful, HOPEFUL ending! Yet not an ending. A new beginning for your mother.


  3. Bill Linton

    Debbie, I have to say that I really did not know your mom. Oh, I could pick her out at a family gathering, but really did not know her. Thank you for sharing. I never knew she knew the Lord. It always chokes me up to hear that someone has accepted Jesus and walks with Him. Praise His Holy Name!


  4. Bill, Growing up, I could not say for sure that she knew the Lord. However, in the past 20 years, I have no doubt that she had a personal relationship with Jesus. (Maybe, it took me having that type of relationship to recognize it in other people first!)


  5. Thank you Debbie, you painted a beautiful Picture of your Mum and no camera was needed. As long as your Mum is in your heart she will never be far from you.

    God knows us as His own before we are even conceived and He promises not one of us will be lost Eternally, He protects our Soul and rescues those who wander and are lost.

    Psalm 97:9-11 He preserveth the souls of His Saints; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

    Psalm 107: 8 – 9 Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness

    2Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in Peace; and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you.

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne.


    • Anne, Thank you for sharing these scriptures. It is hard to be pick a favorite book in the Bible, but Psalms is near the top. I love the way that every imaginable emotion is expressed and turned into praise for our God!


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