*This was written for my mother's Memorial Service May 28, 2004
Let Me Tell You About My Mother.....
What - do you ask - could such a small, fragile woman who struggled so hard to live, do in her life to make such a big difference in the lives of those who knew and loved her?
Ever since I can remember my mom had been sick. Lupus had been a part of her life since she was 21 years old. It had touched every part of her body in the years since her diagnoses. She was a deaths door many times over the years. We would sit in the hospital - waiting for the worst - just to have the doctors return to us scratching their heads in awe over my mothers strength and fortitude.
Growing up, I used to tell people that my mom had nine lives. We grieved her eminent passing more times than I care to tell you. My mother's strength and will to live was amazing! Through all my mom never complained, never letting us know how much her ravaged body pained her - never cried out at the injustice of it - all she did was live her life and love.
When I was 10 years old my mother learned that she was pregnant with my brother. The doctors were very concerned because her condition was so unstable. They weren't sure she could endure the pregnancy. With a simple faith, my mom held on - cherishing the small life growing inside of her. She was so happy to be having a son! Thus began her greatest work - to love us both and "worry" us into adulthood.
Our life growing up wasn't easy - we were dirt poor - yet we never really knew it. My mom kept this to herself - she never wanted us to worry about anything. She took all of life's worries onto herself - smiling through it all. Many times as a teenager, I took her for granted. Many times I would hear her crying to herself - never understanding what it must have been like to raise two children alone at poverty level with no financial or moral support from other parents. She had the heavy burden of knowing that at any moment the terrible diease that held her captive could take her life and leave her beloved children all alone in the world.
I am telling you these things- so that you can better understand the huge legacy that this special woman gave to me. How huge my mothers heart was for her children and for everyone who was lucky enough to be loved by her.
How huge was her heart?
No one ever went away from my mother without "feeling" her love envelope them. She loved with the depths of her soul and this is the greatest legacy she has left behind. She modeled love to us and has now passed the baton to her family and friends to do for her what she is no longer able to do here on this earth.
One of the greatest gifts my mother gave to me was her great love for Christ. My mother's faith was a quiet faith. She wasn't outwardly verbal about it - but if you knew her - you knew how she felt because she exuded Christ.
She was a great worrier. I used to call her the "chihuahua" because she worreid us into adulthood. She worried about the weather, our driving, car jackings, robberies, she would listen to the news and call me if there was a storm anywhere in Western Washington to make sure that I wasn't planning to drive in it!
I used to wonder how my mother could profess Christ, yet be such a worry wart! I now know that it was because she felt so out of control. She wasn't able to stop the progression of her disease and desperately fought to control SOMETHING in her life. So - she worried about us throughout her days!
My mother was housebound for the last 4 years of her life. She cut herself off from the world because the doctors told her that if she were to get a simple cold from someone it could kill her. You see - the Lupus was affecting her lungs - depriving her of much needed oxygen.To get an airborne illness would be a death sentence to her. My mother chose quality of life and chose to live out her last years at home where she could control her environment and control our lives through her worry...from her armchair. :-)
I was privileged to hear my mothers open confession of love and trust for her Lord the day she went to be with Him. Even though her mind had been foggy with confusion for weeks, and the last day she had a hard time forming her thoughts into words - she was able to whisper the Lord's Prayer with us as we prayed that He would take His daughter home. My mother's final act of courage and strength, was to let go of her worry and fear of THIS life and open the door to Jesus... she put her hand in His and walked through the door into His loving arms. The faith in Jesus Christ that my mom helped me learn about as a young child came full circle on a friday morning in May as she went Home to be with her Lord. No longer in pain - surrounded by Love.
That faith gives me full confidence of where she is today and where I want to go one day.
My mother taught me many things in my life. Even though she had been bound by disease and hardship throughout her life, she modeled to me the way Jesus wants us all to live in the lifetime that we have been given. To be selfless, prayerful, strong in faith and HUGE in love!
Tulips were my mom's favorite flower. This one's for you mama! I love and miss you!
Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful mothers out there. Always remember - your children will rise up and call you blessed one day - for you are living out your faith to them each day and they are learning from you!