I am grateful for memories of happy times and I can only hope that the unhappy times will fade…
There were many years in my former, self-absorbed life that I was not the best daughter, and I didn’t appreciate my Mom the way I should have. There were the little things that annoyed me – there were the times I was so embarrassed of her – there were the times she was so mean and was so unhappy and not pleasant at all to be around, so what did I do? I treated her terribly by avoiding her. I talked badly about her to others or made fun of her. I pouted and made life miserable for her when I was around. I made her feel like SHE had done something to upset ME. Oh, how I wish I could take it all back.
I look back now at all of the wasted time that I spent, so selfish and more concerned with my own happiness and fulfillment, and I wish I could have those times back to do over again. Now that I am older and my own children are gone, I understand my Mom’s feelings. I understand why she was the way she was. I understand her loneliness. I understand the pain she felt when her children were hurting. I understand her broken heart. I understand her constant feelings of not being good enough. I understand her need to constantly apologize. I understand her trait to always feel like everything was her fault. I also understand her need to be loved, her unconditional love for her kids and grandkids. I understand her devotion to family and insistence that we have get-togethers, no matter what. It’s sad that we have to live some pretty hard life to get to this place where we finally understand the importance of relationships.
It’s sad that I had to experience life on the “other side” to really understand what it means to forgive, to accept, to love unconditionally, faults and all. It’s sad that I wasted so many years and only had a fraction of time to love my Mom the way she deserved to be loved.
I am so grateful that my Mom spent the time to write her experiences so that we would have a glimpse into her life that shaped who she was and why she was. There were incidents in her early days that we would have had no idea she experienced had she not written them down, and her writings were like puzzle pieces that when put together, made all the sense in the world. THAT’s why she was like that. THAT’s why she reacted that way. THAT’s why this was so important to her…
I am grateful for my Mom’s gift of writing, for her “heart on the sleeve” personality, for her transparency.
A year ago today, the following is what we were experiencing…I am so grateful for the time I had with my family in the apartment, so grateful that we were able to be together with Mom in her last days here:
In the stillness of the evening, all company and family is gone. Dad has retired for the night, anxious for a good night’s sleep after a restless night last night. All that is left in the living room is the sound of the c-pap machine, the fluctuated breathing from the woman who raised me, a distant train whistle, and the soft sounds of Pandora hymns coming from the computer speakers.
A few minutes ago, I sat in the recliner and watched my brothers lean over Mom and tell her “goodnight.” Tears welled up in my eyes as I witnessed such a tender, personal encounter.
Watching Mom sleep and listening to these hymns reminds me of my childhood, taking a nap on the hard pews during church services in the old sanctuary at the Friends Church. She had the best lap for a pillow. And she would run her fingers through my hair while I fell to sleep listening to old hymns and Josephine or Carolyn’s piano playing – oh, that felt so good. I can still feel the soft tickle on my scalp. What a safe, secure place to be. In the lap of one who loves me more than life itself.
My girls’ ensemble used to sing a Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir song, based on Psalm 121…My Help Cometh From the Lord. I love how the Holy Spirit brings to mind all of these memories and weaves them all together for me just when I need them.
I am so glad that God does not slumber or sleep and watches over my Mom as she rests. I hope she can sense that she is in the lap of One who loves her more than life itself and feel Him running His fingers through her hair. And I hope that we will have another night to lean over her and say, “Goodnight, Mom. I love you.”
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
PS: I am grateful for John. My first nephew, and a pretty amazing young man, even as a Razorback. Happy birthday, Rico Suave.
And finally, I am grateful for memories of happy times. Make happy memories this weekend, friends. And let the bad memories fade…