Journal of Joy ~ Intercessor's Mantle ~ October 1988
Hurriedly, I entered the nursing home. The familiar nauseating odor engulfed me as I ran to my grandmother’s room. Her bed was sandwiched in between two other identical hospital beds with barely enough space to walk in between the two. The attendant waited for a moment and then asked, “Would you like some time to talk to her?” I thought to myself, “Talk to her? . . . she is dead.”
The nurse, dressed in hospital white, moved over to unpin the curtains enclosing the cold metal gray framed bed where my grandmother lay. The first thing I noticed was the milky, waxen expression of peace and serenity. As I moved closer, I noticed her motionless, folded hands placed across her chest, holding her glasses. Glasses she would never need again.
Having never seen death before, I gasped for breath and clung to the rails of the bed. The grayness of her lips without a smile haunted me like the only horror movie I had ever seen as a preteen. Her once crippled curved spine relaxed in death, as she lay perfectly straight under the crisp, white sheet. I remembered how much she had wanted to stand straight and tall, but the painful, crippling arthritis had robbed five inches from her already petite height.
A distraught patient sharing my grandmother’s room began banging the metal frame of the bed with her wheelchair while making unintelligible sounds. As my repeated attempts to communicate with the woman in the wheelchair failed, I left my grandmother’s side and went down the hall to the nurses’ station to ask for help. After five requests, an orderly finally came and wheeled the elderly woman out of the room.
Sighing deeply, I began gathering my grandmother’s things to take them home with me. As I took the glasses from her hands, I noticed how cold and lifeless they were. It gave me an eerie feeling. With trembling hands, I carried yellow Mums and bouquets of roses to the car. While loading her suitcase into the trunk of the car, that had been stored in a closet with some stuffed animals on the shelf above her bed, I noticed the long, metallic silver hearse creep slowly into the circular paved driveway.
The small, older man smiled gently at me as I shook his hand. We walked silently down the hall toward my grandmother’s room. Only the sounds of our footsteps on the highly polished floor interrupted my shrouded thoughts. At the nurse’s station he paused and asked me to sign the release papers. His aged bent frame entered her room quietly, and with distinct precision and expertise he placed her body on the gurney and folded the red plastic body bag over her fragile withered remains. I stood, leaning on the frame of the doorway watching as he silently pulled the gurney down the hall–out of sight.
Despondently, I returned to the room to finish the task of gathering her things. Cards, flowers, slippers, robe, Bible, books, photos, and more stuffed animals . . . it seemed I had not forgotten anything. Slowly, I surveyed the room for one last look and then went to the nurse’s station to sign more papers.
On the way home, I thought about the fullness of my grandmother’s life. When widowed at an early age, she prayed to live long enough to see her grandchildren. Yet, she lived not only to see her grandchildren, but her great-grandchildren as well. Her first great-great grandchild was born a little more than three months after her death.
During her last year on earth, she would often ask me, “Jennie, will you pray for my family when I am gone?” My answer was always, “Nonnie, you know I will.” Although, I realized at the time her intercession and my intercession were on different levels, I was sure that when the time was right, God would give me what I needed to fulfill her request. During that same year, while in prayer and study one evening, I read the testimony of Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2). I specifically asked my Heavenly Father to receive Nonnie’s intercessors’ mantle–double portion, in the same way that Elisha received Elijah’s prophetic mantle–double portion. The LORD’s peace came over me and I knew that my prayer would be answered. Even though I could not cognitively understand how this would happen, I believed with faith that it would (Luke 11: 9-10).
Nonnie was transported by ambulance to the nursing home a week earlier on Monday afternoon. That same week on Thursday evening, I went to visit her as had been the pattern of my life for many seasons. The Holy Spirit requested that I bring Holy Anointing Oil and anoint her feet, which I did. We spent time holding hands and praying our last prayer together on earth. Her final request of me was, “Jennie, will you pray for my family when I am gone?”
My answer was as always, “Nonnie, you know I will.”
Then I said, “Jesus is coming to take you home very soon.”
She quietly whispered, “I am going to see my sweetheart.” She had been a widow for 26 years and there was still only had one love in her life...her first love.
Without lightning, thunderbolts, or the audible applause of heaven I received her intercessor’s mantle–double portion. It was as though she had taken off her favorite well-worn sweater and draped it over my shoulders. The next morning, Lola Louise Waterman Isaacson slipped into a coma, to awaken in heaven the following Monday morning, October 3, 1988 (Psalm 116:15).
A little more than two months after her death, I called her to tell her that the children and I would be right over to pick her up for our family Christmas dinner. The operator said, “That number has been disconnected” . . . Stunned, I slowly hung up the phone…remembering that she would not be coming to Christmas dinner this year.
Wearing her intercessors’ mantle has made it easier these last years. In the spiritual sense, it is as though she never left.
Eighteen months later in an exceedingly challenging season of my life as a full-time college student, full-time mother of three teenagers, and full-time employee, I came home exhausted so aching for the sound of my grandmother’s voice and the knowledge that she was praying for me. It was one of those difficult days in single parenting spent at the principal’s office. I turned on the answering machine and the message was, “Hi Jen, this is Nonnie, just want you to know I am praying for you.” I played the message over and over and over as I sat on the floor and cried. The message was from a couple of years earlier that had just rewound to that place on the tape. It was a miracle to me. Still is.
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