I remember her. She passed in her sleep. She went to bed one night. She woke up in heaven. What a way to go. We didn’t see it coming. Oh. She was past her prime. She walked with a shuffle, at best. Most often, she held tight to a walker. Her hair was no longer styled. Her mind was no longer hers.
She didn’t want to forget. She didn’t want to end up like her grandma. That’s what she had said so many times. She feared that. She feared losing the one thing that was only hers. Her mind. Her memories. Herself. Trapped within a body that was growing unfamiliar with age and a mind that betrayed her.
But it happened. Nothing could stop the disease. No medicine. No miracle surgery. Nothing.
Yet she remained gentle. Loving. Kind. She didn’t lash out at others. She allowed others to serve her needs when she was no longer able to serve. You see. She thrived on serving others. Whether it was cooking a meal. Baking a cake or pie. Taking care of a child. Giving away extra produce from the garden. Or a spare roast from the freezer. Serving was her gift. Her God-given gift and she did it with grace. Time after time.
She served her family. Cooking three meals every day. Load upon load of laundry each day. Trips to the grocery store. Piano lessons. Summer lunches packed for the field. She was a busy woman. She didn’t complain. She gave what she had. No expectations of receiving in return.
I don’t think I ever saw her cry. Unlike me, she didn’t shed a tear at the blink of an eye. She was a tough cookie. But gentle in spirit.
I don’t think she knew a stranger. She welcomed anyone into her home. Humble as it was. It may not have been stylish or spotless. It had the lived in look. She said.
She loved puzzles. Crossword. Jigsaw. You name it. She tried to figure it out. No matter how long it took, she would sit and work on putting that piece in its place. Or find the word to circle. Spelling it softly to herself before putting the pencil to the page. She always found her word.
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her. Proverbs 31:28
My mom loved God. She was a prayer warrior. Oh. How she prayed. On her knees. Bowed at the chair. Behind closed doors. She prayed the old-fashioned way. Out loud and with purpose. She prayed for me.
She loved her husband. She supported him. She honored him. She served him. For 59 years. 9 months. 11 days. Oh. In the last few years, there were many days when the roles were reversed. He served her. He made sure she was taken care of. Provided for. Moved to a place where neither wanted to be. To ensure her care and comfort. Oh. He sacrificed his comfort and will for her. That’s what they both did. For better or worse. Richer or poorer. Sickness or health. Till death us do part.
And death parted them. For a brief moment in time. It was eleven days until they reunited. But parting is such sweet sorrow. That’s what they say. It’s sweet because it’s temporary. It’s sorrow because it’s loss.
But that morning she awoke in heaven. I imagine her with a clear mind. A restored memory. Looking around in astonishment. Realizing where she was. The home she had been preparing for for almost 60 years. She was finally home. She saw Randy. Her firstborn son. She was at last reunited with him. Oh. How good it felt. As she stood in front of her Maker. Her God. I know she heard the words. Well done. Good and faithful servant. Enter in.
Some may think I should wait until Mother’s Day to honor my mother. I now choose April 27th as my Mother’s Day. You see. I lost her on that day. So it isn’t a day of celebration. It’s a day of remembrance. A day of honoring the memory of the woman who gave me life.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mother! Until we meet again.