Goodbye Mom … For Now, by Doug Howard

Loretta Scott Howard
March 17, 1944 – June 13, 2020

On Saturday, June 13, 2020 at around 2:30 p.m. my precious mother left the pain and suffering of this world to enter the next eternal existence in Heaven where she will be with Jesus, Dad and all who we love who have passed on to Glory.
It has only been almost two days exactly since she passed as I begin write this. I had spoken to her on the phone that morning, thankfully, as she always when I called would relate to me how her night went. Of late she was not sleeping well as a combination of issues, including cancer, with her lungs caused her to cough quite a bit while she attempted to sleep and during the day. That morning was no exception as she woke at around 3:00 a.m. coughing. The evening before Wendi, my sister with whom Mom lived, had graciously set up a nebulizer treatment for her in the event she needed it and sure enough she did. But before Mom administered the treatment to herself, she went to check on her thirteen year old grandson, Adam, who was awake on the living room sofa. Just like Mom to put others first, before her own needs. After making sure Adam was well, Mom took her treatment. After
the treatment she attempted to sleep with little success. That was par for the course over that last few nights.

I called once that morning. We spoke for 20 minutes as per usual as others wait to use the phone after I do. We prayed together as we always do each day during the first call. I took a shower, swept my room and called back to speak with her once more as we never know when we may be locked in our cells for an extended period due to the proliferation of the Covid-19 virus in the Virginia Prison system. We spoke another 20 minutes, I told her I loved her, as always, and she said the same, and that was the last time I ever spoke to my mother. I am so thankful my last earthly words to my mother we I Love You; I would truly have given my life for her.

That afternoon we were allowed out of our cells for about 90 minutes or so, thus I took the opportunity to call Mom. I dialed the number and my sister Wendi answered, in tears. She said, “Mom passed away”. I was in shock, in disbelief. I had just spoken to her a couple of hours ago. How could this be? It was five or ten seconds before I say anything… when I did speak I said something like “this can’t be happening”. For the next five minutes I listened to my sister explain what happened. Apparently Mom was laying in bed on her right side as normal, watching t.v. when she started experiencing another coughing spell. Wendi heard Mom say, “Oh my God”. She ran into Moms first floor bedroom and observed Mom coughing up blood. All of the coughing coupled with the cancer in her lungs had caused some form of rupture in her lungs. She must have been bleeding into her stomack for a day or two from the amount of blood. My brother-in-law Darel held her until she passed. The paramedics were there while I was on the phone as it all must have happened within the previous hour or so. I thank the Lord that her suffering is now over and that she now is with my father who went to be with the Lord four years ago on July 4, 2016.

I am not afraid to say I’m lost without Mom. When Dad passed it was bad. He had Alzheimer’s which devastated his life over seven years. Due to the desease I could not communicate with him for the last year of his life. With mother, she was on a promising immunotherapy drug which could have extended her life by two years. Dads death was tragic but expected. Mothers was unexpected and sudden. I walk around this cell like a zombie. I’m out of my mind with grief. Due to the Covid-19 virus I will not be allowed to go to the private viewing at the funeral home, but we will attempt to facilitate a video visit during the time of the Celebration of Life service on Thursday at 11 a.m. June 18, 2020.

This grief, what I am experiencing now, goes beyond what I may be able articulate in words. There is the palpable grief, thick and sustaining which hovers, never leaving, coupled with the guilt for not being their during mothers times of need and to assist with my sisters burdens as she is left to handle all the arrangements. There is the real and abiding sense of genuine loneliness which hangs over me like a dark, ominous, and threatening storm cloud ready to strike and strike it does and its rain are my many tears and the thunder are my cries of pain I am sure others have heard from time to time in other cells as several men have stopped by to offer their condolences for my loss. The one wish my mother had that I could not provide was to live long enough to see me free from bondage. That was her earthly desire. Her ultimate desire was to be with Dad again and to be free from desease and pain, a prayer which was answered this past Saturday afternoon.

“Thank you, Heavenly Father, for taking Home to Heaven. your precious daughter Loretta Howard who knew much suffering here on earth but now knows peace and true freedom now as she is with you. Let her and Dad know that Wendi and I rejoice that they are together again, now perfectly, without the pains of this earthly existence. Help us to move forward past our grief some how with your guidance and direction. It’s in the matchless name of Jesus I pray, Amen.”

Doug Howard
DOC #1051074

Categories: death, Douglas Howard, family

2 replies »

  1. Brother Doug,
    My name is Bob, you and I wrote to each other for years, as part of the correspondence course ministry until I moved to Florida a year ago. My wife visited your mom one Mothers Day and was totally blessed to meet her. She was an awesome mom I’m sure. Thank you also for the letter you sent to the church in response. Your blog is an encouragement to us all.
    Let me know your address now and I will write.
    May the Lord richly bless you my brother.


  2. I have been meaning to read this for days. Sorry it took so long. I will continue to follow you. ❤ sending my love and heartfelt condolences. It's a little like what you said in this blog, I really don't have words to express how sorry and sad that I am that she is no longer here with us. I miss her every day.


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