A Bad Day to Go Shopping


It was a beautiful spring day that Thursday, May 5, 1977. Mother’s Day would be Sunday and since I was preaching in Waynesboro, Tennessee I could not be with my mom on that coming Sunday. So I took off for 246 South Lindsey Street in Jackson, Tennessee.  I stopped by a ladies store that I used for my mothers clothing and purchased her a nice dress for the coming Mother’s Day.  It was a light purple, a color I knew she loved. As I turned into Lindsey Street off of Lexington Avenue I could see my father sitting on the front porch of 246 South Lindsey waiting for me to arrive.  It was a scene I always saw when he knew I would be coming. We had a great lunch at ‘Long John Silvers’, wow, mom loved that place.  I purchased my dad a weed eater at Kmart’s and mother a half case of strawberries at an outdoor market. As we returned to the car mom asked if she could ride in the front.  She said her breathing was short and she felt a bit sick and maybe the front seat would be better.  No problem we put dad in the back and headed for Lindsey Street.  As we came to the traffic light at Hayes Avenue and College Street she asked me a really strange question. Ivan, she said, you think when you die you go directly to heaven or do you wait for the world to end.  I told her that based on the promise of Christ to the thief on the cross that I believe your soul went straight to heaven, but that it really did not matter for it was like going to sleep.  You go to sleep and then you wake up, one hour, or eight hours later, it is still the next moment that you know. We spent the afternoon getting our monies worth out of the weed eater and then we helped mom cap the strawberries. About six o’clock she started to complain about her chest, she had taken several nitro glycerin tablets throughout the afternoon but said they did not seem to work. I called the doctor much against her wishes.  He told me to have her take one of the other pills he had given her and if that did not help to call him and he would meet us at the emergency room.  She took the pill, smiled, held her hands up and sitting on the couch she left 246 South Lindsey for the last time. Our doctor was waiting for us along with a team of others as the ambulance pulled into the emergency room area. They rushed mom into the hospital and about an hour later our dear friend Dr. Ballard came out and put his arms around dad and said, “Mr. Ivan, I’m so sorry but there was nothing anyone could do, Ms Johnnie has left us.” I went back to see her, held my dad’s hand and we prayed together, and then the attendant at the hospital brought us into reality. “Mr. Raley”, she said, “Who would you like for me to call to come for Mrs. Raley?” Call, come for, we had never given it a thought.  We had decision that could not wait, we were off on a shopping trip that we were no where near prepared to take. After deciding on a former neighbor, the hospital made the call and I took dad home.  About 9:30 the former neighbor came by, asked us a lot of questions and offered to pick us up the next morning for the rest of the ‘Shopping”. That Friday we had to purchase a place to bury mother, what to dress her in, we decided on the new Mother’s Day dress, a coffin, a vault, and it seemed like a thousand other details that neither of us were prepared to make. That was a really bad day. Like thousands of others we lived through it and made the best of a really bad day. Ten years later when dad joined mother all of those decisions had been made; the day was sad, but not filled with doubt and decisions.  I promised myself then that my family would never have to go shopping on such a bad day.  I have made some plans, they know about them and they will be able to make the decisions without so much worry.

Don’t go shopping on the worst day of your life.


Published in: on January 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Your story of your parents saddens my heart. But not for me it’s for you and the pain you had to go through at that time. May I ask God’s blessings on you. Oh, if we could have known you longer and better and lived closer to have enjoyed your messages about our Lord. You are truly a man of GOD and are called by him.

    • Thank you so very much

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