Friday, April 25, 2008

Why today?

I usually try to keep this blog all upbeat but today (for God only knows what reason) I have decided to write about my mother. My mom died the Spring before Tyler was born. I was holding her in my arms when she died, something I will never forget. Bear with me while I vent... On a Monday I got a call from my sister saying that mom was very sick and we needed to plan to see her soon if we wanted to see her before she died. I prayed that God would keep her alive so I could be with her.
Mom and I used to go get coffee or lunch periodically and that night as Keith and I lay in bed (sorry Terri lol), I told Keith that I just wanted to have coffee with her one more time. Tuesday as I was making arrangements to go to Chicago, I struggled through a lot of childhood memories. My childhood was not the most pleasant but I think my mom did what she was able to do to make it the best that she could. Unfortunately, she wasn't equipt with the tools that she needed either! Anyway, one of the things that I prayed was that God would help me to go with no expectations from our time together. My mom had never told me that she was proud of me and I longed to hear that she was, but I knew that if I went with that longing, I would probably be disappointed. I prayed that I could not hurt over that but that I could support and help her.
Wednesday mom was told that she had a very fast growing type of cancer that had spread everywhere but her brain. Mom was a nurse, I sometimes wonder if it would have been better if it had hit her brain as well. She knew what she was up against. I got to the hospital to be with her Wednesday afternoon. I stayed the night with her and rode home in the ambulance with her the next day. Wednesday night was our time. Between her screams of pain, we had many good talks during that night. Mom talked about being scared of dying and where she would go for eternity. I was able to talk to her about God's grace and how she was a Christian and that God loved her no matter what. One thing she said was, "You don't know all the things that I've done in my life." I said, "Mom, I know a lot and if you want to tell me more, that's fine. It will not change my love for you and I know that my love for you pales in comparison to God's love for you. Satan knows where you will spend eternity based on God's promise and Christ's blood. Satan knows he's lost this battle, but he is trying to steal your peace from you while he can. He cannot have you for eternity so he wants you miserable until you die." Then we prayed for her to have peace that God was with her and taking her home. Sometime during that night my mom told me that she was so glad to have me there with her and that she was proud of me. I thank God for that, as a grown woman, I still needed to know that my mother loved me and that I had made her proud. Moms tell your children those things while you can.
Today i was listening to a little Reba McEntire. She songs a song about "If I had only known..." "If I had only known it was my last night by your side, I'd pray a miracle to stop the dawn..." I started to cry. My mother died the Sunday after we were notified of her cancer. I know that was a blessing. It was hard for us who loved her to watch her health decline so much, so fast, but she didn't suffer long. She went into a coma-state Thursday night. When her breathing sped up, I sang to her and stroked her head and it would slow down. I stayed by her side almost non-stop. Days I thank God and my husband for. Keith understood that my life had to be on hold to care for her and he and his parents did SO much to care for the girls' needs while I was in Chicago! I am so grateful for the time that I had with my mom during her last days. I am thankful that when my mother breathed her last breath, she sat herself up in the bed (the first time in days) and said, "I've got to go." She had her arms stretched out as if reaching in anticipation of a greater place. The moment she died, her body went cold and she didn't look the same. Her spirit was gone and the empty shell that was there meant nothing anymore.
I think the biggest blessing was that all six of her children and her mother and brothers were around her bed singing her into heaven when she breathed her last breath. I want to die like that someday (not for a while). I want the people I love around me, singing me into heaven. Now my mind flows to Jeff's death. I can't go that far right now. I don't know why all of this came to me today, I know that I realized a few things though. I took my mother for granted. There is a line in Reba's song that says, "...I foolishly believed that you would always be there..." I guess I thought the same. I have no pictures of my mom hanging up in my house, I haven't been able to hang any memories... I think it's time. I want to be able to tell other people of the impact she had on me.
I remember my mom sliding down the stairs on pillow cases with us children until she laughed so hard she wet her pants (sorry mom)! I learned to be a fun loving mom from my mom. I learned to laugh and play with my children from a mother who laughed and played with us! All my memories growing up aren't wonderful but my mom offered all that she had to make me who I am today. There are some things that I make a point not to hand down to my children, but I hope that some of the things that my mom taught me are ingrained into their heads and hearts! I hope that her love for God is evident in my life. I hope that her dedication to service is clearly exhibited through my life. I hope that her laughter is passed down to my children and that their children and many others benefit from it!
I'm not sure if this post is helpful to anyone but me, but I needed to say thank you to my mom and this seemed like one of the best ways to do it. Thanks for bearing with me if you made it this far. For all of you whose moms are still living, give them a hug. For those of you who have lost your moms, remember the good things they taught you and pass it on to your children. Most of all, no matter how irritating some people are, don't assume that they will always be there to ignore or tolerate. Show them God's love despite the pain in the rear end they might be, I know I appreciate it when you do me that way! LOL!! Have a great weekend!