Mary Gertrude DeVlaeminck, born February 4, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to John J. Rewa and Ida May Shawl. Mary passed away at eighty-seven years young into the open arms of her Lord on March 20, 2013, at Madelia Luther Memorial Home surrounded by her family.
Her departure date was the grand finale and declaration of her Lord.
3.3.13 we flew north—3.20.13 she did too, only a bit further.
We were met by a Minnesota wind that bit clear through the skin. It didn’t matter how much you wore, the cold cut to the core.
A prelude to that which was to come
For seventeen days subzero winds blew harsh and hard mirroring death’s attempt to create a ground zero before the princess finished her course.
At first she was just there for a visit.
“Come in, Sweet Precious Princess Mary.” His Voice echoed like surround sound.
Princess? She thought and then took a step forward and stopped. “I can walk?” She took another step and then another—quicker—and then she skipped and twirled feeling like a school girl. Her blue dress billowed as she twirled. “I know I’m dreaming. But it feels so real. I love this. I love this place.”
“This is no dream.” He smiled.
“Oh, I feel so free” she jumped, hands over her head. “Like I’ve just been released from a lifetime in prison—I’m free” she sang. She even liked the sound of her voice.
His eyes danced, He laughed. It was a good laugh; like a parent laughs watching their children open presents on Christmas morn. “You’re in your new Home, Sweet Precious Princess Mary.”
Princess? Oh well, I do feel like one. “It’s not a dream? My new Home? It’s so beautiful I’ve never imagined anything so wonderful—ever. I love it.” Suddenly she stopped her prancing and dancing. Her eyes grew wide—even wider than they already were. You, You must be… Jesus.” She squeaked; her hands flew over her mouth. “I recognize you from my dreams”
“Those weren’t dreams, either – and yes, I AM.” His smile dropped a bit. “I have a favor to ask of you.”
“You, have a favor to ask of me? Who am I…how can I do anything for You? But…but of course if I can I will—anything for You Lord.”
“Will you return?”
Suddenly she remembered her life on earth. She remembered the weakness and pain of her aged failing body. Back to prison? No, I can’t do that. “Oh my…please no. You don’t understand; it was like prison back there.”
His smile returned creased with compassion. “Oh My sweet precious princess, I do understand. You won’t be alone. I’ll be with you each step of the way.”
She looked at His eyes and saw love so deep it made her weep.
He wiped all the tears from her eyes with nail scarred hands.
“For just a little while? I have a special day appointed, but the enemy is trying to take you too soon. Just like he did me with Me, when I walked the earth.”
“Oh my, is there any other way my Lord?”
He wrapped His arms around her shoulders, kissed her forehead, and made a soft laugh. “I tried that prayer too, remember?”
“Yes, I remember” she whispered.
“And…?” He whispered back.
“You said, ‘Not my will but yours be done.’ ”
“And what do you say?”
“How will I know when I can return?”
“When you see your special messenger, you’ll know.”
She remembered another Mary who had to make a difficult decision; another passage of scripture came to mind. She smiled, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
In that instant death pierced an icy blade—she winced. Eyes squeezed shut. She was back—in prison.
She willed herself to stay, one more second, one more minute, hour, day. She pushed toward the finish—even though she didn’t know when that would be.
Death blew cold and hard. “Give up and go home.”
She would squeeze her eyes shut tight with pain, too weak to speak.
“Think of your kids. They don’t want to see you in pain. Let go, curse God and die.” The serpent would sting.
She wanted to go. She missed her husband Henry. She could hear kids telling her it was alright to go and be with dad. They even prayed the Lord would take her Home. But the words of her Lord echoed in her soul. “When you see your special messenger, then you’ll know.” So, she held on—longing for the messenger to arrive.
Death pierced—she persevered.
The coronation celebration was set in the Book of Life.
The enemy of her soul did everything in his power,
to squelch her life—to get her to throw in the towel.
But she willed her heart to beat, until her final hour.
Death would hiss, “What are you waiting for? There’s no special time—no special hour. It’s time to go.”
“Dear Lord is it time yet?” she’d ask in her heart.
“Not yet Sweet Precious Princess, but soon.”
“Lord, if I may ask; I heard someone say I was going Home around three o’clock—the time You died on the cross. Will I share this honor too?”
“Yes, one has declared that the time of your departing will match the time of mine—I have granted this request. But, the day appointed has not yet come. All will know and understand when it arrives.”
“Oh, come quickly Lord Jesus” she sighed.
For seventeen days she pulled each breath through a gauntlet of fluid filled lungs, like sucking mud through a straw.
Against death’s taunts, she willed her weary heart to beat—until the first day of spring, she saw him come. She saw and knew.
“Time to go” he simply said.
His words startled her. She choked out three short coughs; her eyes popped open and shut again. She sprang out of her body. Her heart stopped and her face went pale.
She touched every child in the room and whispered her favorite words, “As ever, forever, I love you.”
“We’ve lost her” echoed through the room.
She turned to her special messenger, “I’m ready.”
As they were about to exit the room the messenger turned, “You may have lost her, but she’s not lost.”
None of us heard his voice, but all of us knew the two words I texted into my phone, “She’s Home.”
As they traveled from this realm to the next the princess turned toward the handsome escort, “What’s your name?”
He smiled at her with familiar eyes, “You always called me Hank.”
The first day of spring the angels did sing
Come forth Sweet Precious Princess Mary
Your day has come
For you have won
The first day of spring she sprung free of life’s shackle into God’s tabernacle.
God’s declaration from the Home Coming Coronation of Sweet Precious Princess Mary:
“Enter into the joy of the Lord my Sweet Precious Princess Mary. This first day of spring represents a new season for you and your children who are left behind. I wanted them to remember this day as a day of new beginning, not the ending. And you, My sweet precious child welcome to your new Home where there is no sorrow or pain. Only, as ever, forever, Love. ”
God’s specialty is bringing life from death. And He’s done it again.