A Tribute to My Mother

In honor of Mother's Day, I want to share a video about my mother, Lucille Alcorn.

Lucille AlcornThis year in October (2009) it will be twenty-eight years since my mom died of cancer. Our Angela was only four months old then, so while Mom held Angie and fawned over her and loved her dearly, Angie wasn't old enough yet to understand what had happened. Sometimes I think how wonderful it will be one day for Angie and her grandmother to get to know each other.

The night Mom died, both Nanci and I wrote letters to our oldest daughter Karina, who was then two-and-a-half and who loved my Mom and connected with her in a way that defies words. (She spent every Monday with Mom at her place, the house I grew up in, and it was the highlight of Karina's week; Mom would read to her and play with her hour after hour, with complete delight.)

Here's what I wrote:

My dearest Karina,

I’ve just read your mother’s letter to you about Grandma Alcorn. It’s now 3:30 a.m., a funny time to be writing you. But I’ve been home from Grandpa’s just a little while.

As soon as I came home, about 3:00, I went right to your bedroom to wake you up. I thought you should know Grandma had died. You were so tired, and your eyes kept rolling back as I sat you up in my lap. Finally I knew you were awake, and I asked you, “Karina, do you know where Grandma Alcorn is right now?”

I was sure the answer would be “no.” Or maybe you’d say “in bed” since Grandma has been on her sickbed several months. But immediately, without any hesitation, you smiled and said, “Yes, Daddy—she’s in heaven.”

A wave of electricity went through me. You knew with absolute certainty. There wasn’t a hesitation or a doubt. Maybe Jesus whispered it to you in your sleep. Perhaps He let Grandma send a special message to you from heaven. But in any case, you knew exactly where Grandma was.

For several minutes I hugged you tight on your bed, and cried very hard. Everything your mom said in her letter about Grandma was true. You always had the most special times when you were with her.

Lucille Alcorn and Karina AlcornI, too, ache because you had so little time together. Yet I marvel at how close you were in that time. If Grandma sees you as you grow up (I suspect the Lord will let her), she will be so proud. More than anything she would want you to love Jesus with all your heart, and to serve Him always.

Karina, you are God’s gift to me. I love you and your baby sister more than any father has ever loved his daughters. I pray that you and Angela will grow up to be as wonderful as your mom and your grandma.

As I write these things, tears are flowing down my face. How thankful I am to our loving God for giving me such a special family.

I love you, sweetheart.


I’ll never forget the smile on Karina’s face at 3:00 a.m. that dark night when I woke her up to give her what you’d think would have been devastating news. But Karina immediately and accurately grasped something few people do—that she had every reason to be happy for her grandmother. She was not smiling because she didn’t understand. She was smiling precisely because she did understand.

She knew her grandmother was with the Person she was made for in the place she was made for. Karina literally believed—not just in her head but in her heart—everything we’d told her about heaven.

Though she would miss her grandmother greatly, she understood that this wasn’t the end of their relationship, but only an interruption. She knew her grandmother was in heaven, and that she would one day join her there.

Thank you for everything, Mom. I can't imagine having had a better Mom than you. I so look forward to seeing you again in that place where our gracious God will wipe away the tears from every eye.

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries