November 2, 2014

Thank you, Mom




     Last Thanksgiving morning I held my Mom's hand as she journeyed to Heaven. 

It still doesn't seem real. 

(Originally published on 6/7/09)

     Mom has always been there for me.   

I marvel at her strength, inspiration, and tenacity, even through many medical problems in her older age.

She worked long, faithful hours for over 20 years at the same company.  She put me through college as a single parent. 


She has been my biggest encourager, and helped me believe in myself...because she believed in me. 
 
 A couple of years ago in December, she fell and hit her head on a step, and was in ICU for a week.  Laying in the hospital bed, barely able to speak, she motioned for me to bend down close...and asked me to go to the store for her and buy my son a Lego wagon she had seen advertised. 
She wanted him to have it for Christmas.  He still loves that wagon he got from his Grandma. 

When Mom went through a stem-cell transplant in 1998, she always kept a smile, even through weeks in the hospital.  I look back and cherish that time I spent with her. 
At the exact moment the stem-cells (blood transfusion) began, a song came on the radio in her room entitled, "There Is Power In The Blood". 
We all took notice and thanked God ~ she was healed from that day forward. 

My Mom is an eternal optimist and loved by many.
She gets her energy from helping others. 
It has been frustrating for me to see her neglect herself and her rest, health, and emotional healing, to be an eternal "caretaker" of others. 
She is depressed right now because she can't go to the senior center and help the "old people". 
 
She has been in the hospital for several weeks and although we finally found a doctor who is running the necessary tests that should have been done immediately, my Mom is tired.
And I am grieving to see her like this.

I regret so much. 
The times (even just a few months ago) when she would knock on my front door unexpectedly, and I would have a twinge of feeling "put out" at an inconvenient time. 
Now I cry for her to be able to do that again.

We have had to forgive each other a lot because we are very different in personality.
My Mom's out-going personality smothered me as a shy, quiet, insecure little girl.
She talked about me incessantly, causing me to retreat farther into my shell.
 
Unfortunately, neither of us got the "memo" about the needs of adopted children.
 We struggled. But we never, ever stopped loving.
 
Thank you, Mom, for letting me find myself.   

Mom is having yet more tests run tomorrow. Please pray for her strength to get through this, for the doctors to find out what is wrong and be able to help her regain her strength. She is a cancer-survivor, and they have ruled out all re-occurance. They found severe ulcers (completely missed by doctors just a month ago), which are finally being treated.
She is very discouraged and tired after a long ordeal.
My grandmother did this in her "older" age and then regained her health and lived to be 92 years old.
 
    Lord, please bless my Mom. Fill her with peace and healing and strength.
Give her your comfort right now and protect her.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
This was originally written in 2009. 
My Mom did recover and went on to marry at 80 years of age. 
She had two beautiful years with her husband.  They both passed away 9 months apart last year.
Our last conversation, when we both knew her time was short, taught me much.

We realized...

 None of our human foibles or misunderstandings mattered any more. 
Only the love we had always kept in our hearts. 
The important thing was that we were there. 
We never gave up on each other.

I reminded her, "He will surely make everything right".

The bitter tears after an unfair divorce and the loneliness and fatigue she endured as a single parent.  The painful disease that tried to take her life.  Even the hurts her heart still carried from childhood.  None of it mattered anymore;  she wanted to see her Savior face to face. 
The One who loved her and would never forsake.
The faithful One who had been her Father, Husband, Provider and Protector. And mine as well.
       
When the nurses came in to ask if she knew she was in the hospital, she would say,

"I'm with Sam"  

And my tears would flow. 
I realized we had given each other a beautiful gift. 
His presence had healed our hearts to the point that we could be truly present with each other. 

We spent our last days together doing what we loved.
In the hospital gift shop, we would peruse the lovely trinkets and comment on their meaning or significance.  They would remind us of a story and we would reminisce.

Our eyes were drawn to a beautiful plaque that now graces my living room wall.  

"Be Still...and Know that I am God"

  

When she felt well enough, I would bundle her up in a soft blanket
and we would stroll outside among the bright yellow autumn leaves.  They were so delicate.  
I realized how fragile life was during those times. 
And what a beautiful gift our presence is for each other. 
I never wanted to regret another thing. 
But enjoy and embrace every moment with my family and friends, from that point forward.

What I didn't realize was how deeply the pain of grief would affect me. 
With every loss we encounter, it triggers deeper losses that seem unbearable.  
We close off our hearts and put up walls we think are protective,
when really, they are suffocating us.
We spend our time distracted and numb, because it hurts too much to feel.
We feel broken. 

A grieving heart is at risk of becoming bitter. 
 
Every day surrounded by families who all look alike and support one other...
enjoying a "normal" life without the mess of reunion, radiology, and obituaries. 
Or overwhelming memories of such.

    This year has been hard for me. 
A year of isolation and sadness.  
        
I've felt orphaned.

My Pastor recently spoke of the story of Jacob and Esau.
When Esau's birthright was stolen by his brother, Jacob, he was hurt and angry.
Yet through the years, instead of allowing the pain to close his heart towards God, he trusted.
And God Himself took care of him.
Later, when he and Jacob were reunited, they ran toward each other and embraced.
They felt as if they were seeing God's very face. 
 
They blessed each other.

Lord, please help me trust You to be my Father, and take care of me.
Help me forgive everyone that has hurt me, and bless them.
Give others the grace to forgive me, as well.
Turn our hearts to You and fill us with peace, love and joy again.

Help me live life with no regrets.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me this. 
I miss you so much.
I love you. 

2 comments:

Cassi said...

An amazingly, beautiful post.

I will keep your mother in my thoughts while she is going through the tests.

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