Today is my second Mother’s Day without my mom.
I never thought I would be the one to continue to grieve, to be overcome with emotion, and to miss my mother so very much.
Since my mother passed away, about a year and a half ago, I have felt her presence with me…a love that fills me and sometimes overwhelms me. All of the moments that are precious and a treasure to me now, at the time were experienced as normal everyday moments. Not realizing the memories that she was gifting me with…going through my days, as though each one was just another day, and not having the eyes yet to perceive true beauty.
My mother lived with Joe (my husband) and me for about eleven years. Through those years, I was the one that would help her make purchases for gifts. When it came to gifts for me, she would usually tell me what she would like to give me, and would ask me to choose and purchase. Needless to say, I was never surprised!
When she was in rehab before she died, she was thoroughly enjoying herself. One of the activities she loved was Bingo. One day, I walked in to her room, and her face was all lit up. She told me that she won Bingo, and was able to choose her prize. She chose a beautiful flower arrangement so she could give it to me. She was so excited and happy that she was able to surprise me with some beautiful flowers. I was very touched at the time…but as time goes by, that one simple gesture touches my heart in the most deep way.
These are the moments that stay with us. Snapshots of time that keep us grounded in love. The miraculous scenes of life that play and replay through our minds and hearts of times gone by.
Moments spent with those we love. As I sit here thinking and honoring my mother for all she was, and all she did for us as a family, many of those times come to mind.
Some of those moments that will always be with me:
Watching my mom through the window of the Senior Center when I arrived to pick her up. Seeing her sitting at a round table with five of her friends, laughing so hard that she had to lay her head down on the table. I had never seen her laugh like that.
Seeing her in her cute reading glasses, looking up from her book at me, when I came home from work and popped my head in her room to ask her how her day was. She usually said, “I had a beautiful day.” I will never be able to part with those glasses.
Watching her eyes light up when Joe or I served up one of her favorite meals. Or favorite desserts. Come to think of it, most everything was “her favorite!”
Getting beat royally by her when playing Canasta, Skip-Bo, or Sequence. Sometimes it was downright mortifying how bad she beat me!
Losing my temper and yelling about our differing politics. Feeling awful afterwards, I would apologize, and she would just say, “Sometimes things just need to come out.” She would never hold those outbursts against me.
Strolling through Costco pushing my mom in her wheelchair with a cart in front of us…stacked so high with items she wanted to purchase, that we could not see where we were going!
Her excitement upon learning that she was going to be a great grandma. That was one of the things that was holding her back from passing on…she wanted to see her grandson’s baby that would be coming in five months. I said, “Mom, you know that in heaven you will be able to see your grandson.” She looked in my eyes and smiled. She said, “I know, but I am not ready to leave this Earth yet.” She didn’t make it to see Brayden’s birth, but I KNOW she is with him now.
The privilege of assisting her to shower, wash and style her hair, and put lotion on her. In the beginning, she was embarrassed to have me help her in that way. However, it became comfortable and natural for us. And I enjoyed helping her to feel a little pampered.
Seeing the joy on her face when looking out her bedroom window and seeing three snowmen that the sweet neighbor girls built for her.
Sitting next to Mom at Mass and special worship times, feeling so close to her.
Seeing my mother, as she was near death, look me straight in the eye and tell me that I had the most beautiful blue eyes she’d ever seen. Then proceeded to call me “Jan,” telling “Jan” that her daughter and son in law take good care of her, but she worries about their health.
A few days before she passed away, I climbed into bed with my mom, and put my arm around her, I asked her if it was ok that I was there with her. Her answer? “We should do this more often.” Yes, we should have….
Once I asked her if there was anything she would have done differently, being that she had a hard life. She told me she wouldn’t change a thing. She said that her family is her blessing, and when things get difficult, you just need to “offer it up to the Lord.”
I have learned to do just that, Mom. I have finally learned to offer my life to the Lord. And a large part of myself is the part that came from you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being you. Thank you for loving the Lord.