somebodylovesmeblog

Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


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One Year of Life Since…

Mom with Baby Bernadette

Mom with Baby Bernadette

Today is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death.

Much has happened in that year’s time, including the birth of our first grandchild, and our move across country to be near him. There has been pain, suffering, fatigue, intense stress, confusion, and grief. However, there has also been a deepening of faith, excitement, joy, and a closeness with my mother that I never experienced before. I feel like her spirit, her heart, is one with mine. I can feel her presence all around me and feel her love for me, my sisters, and our whole family every day.

A few years ago, a friend of mine who lost her mom, told me that when you lose your mother, she is just “gone.” This friend did not have a close relationship with her mom before her death, however, when she shared those words with me, she had tears in her eyes. She was communicating her feeling of emptiness, and the reality that there would be no more stories, no more chances to ask her mom questions about her life and her experiences, no more chances to physically feel her mom’s love or to have the opportunity to show her mother how much she appreciated and loved her.

Sometimes we focus so much on ourselves and our own needs and pain, that we forget that our parents are human beings. They had a life before we were born, and had struggles and weaknesses to overcome just as we do. As we lived our lives and became more mature and “educated”, it was sometimes easy to overlook the lives of those closest to us, the ones who brought us into this world, and who loved us the most.  Many “eye-rolling” and “here we go again” moments…and many times, for legitimate reasons.

The love our parents showed us was the best they had to offer. Just as the love we showed them and to our own children, family and friends, was the best we had to offer at the time.

For we are all flawed. We are sinners.

I believe that when our loved ones die and are united with Jesus in heaven, and when our hearts are also open to Jesus, a connection is forged. The Communion of Saints.

That is what I am feeling very strongly from my mother. Especially today.   I know that sin and weakness no longer affects our relationship. We are joined in perfect love now, and nothing can take that truth away.

During this past year, many truths about my mom have been revealed to me. I would like to share some of them with you, in the chance that they may be of help to you. Such simple things that help to keep my heart filled with love and a smile.

 

How would I know:

That when you repeated the same stories over and over, you were sharing with us that these were some of your most treasured memories. At the time, it was frustrating to actively listen to those repeated stories over and over. In fact, I could repeat them word for word. However, now I feel so close to you when I remember those same stories, and imagine the scenes you described to me over the years of my life. You are helping me to know you and myself more and more each day, by understanding your life experiences.

That when you called me into your room each morning, or for special occasions, when I was rushing out the door, just to look at what I was wearing and how I looked for the day, that you were missing those “good old days” for yourself, and that it brought you much joy to see me “dressing up”, wearing make up, getting my hair done, wearing jewelry…and going out into the world.   You were living your memories through me and my life, and were sincerely happy for me…always telling me that I looked beautiful. Even when I didn’t feel beautiful, I saw my beauty through your eyes.

That when you requested certain foods or things during holidays or seasons, and they sat uneaten or unused, that you were reliving a time and season way past…from your growing up years, to your times with dad and our family life. It wasn’t the things themselves that were important to you; it was the connection, the memories associated with those things. Many things come to mind. Ribbon candy, Easter peeps, filled chocolate Easter eggs, jelly beans, candy corn, embroidery kits, Barbies, baby dolls, beanie babies. Also jewelry, red lipstick and nail polish, and your favorite fragrance, “White Shoulders.”

I have been wearing “White Shoulders” all week in memory of your last week here on earth. The connection between us, and the beauty during that painful and precious time will always astound me and fill my heart. I never thought that death could be beautiful, however, your passing from this world to the arms of Jesus was inspiring to me. You grew older gracefully with humility; and with a trusting heart, let go of us and the world to reach out to your next adventure.

Thank you for trusting me with your life during the time you lived with Joe and me, and thank you for loving and trusting me with your very life at the end.

It is an honor and privilege to be your daughter. I will always feel you with me, and will always strive to have your faith, humility, love and forgiving spirit.

Rest in the peace and light of the Lord, Mom! I love you.

https://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/spiritnot-personality/

https://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/remembering-my-mother-mary/

 

 

 


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A Glimpse

Today I would like to share something that actually gave me chills when it happened.  There is really no exact explanation, however, I do believe it was one of those blessings that come as a glimpse from heaven…allowed by our Heavenly Father.

My three sisters and I are working through our grieving processes regarding our mother’s passing pretty well, at our individual paces.  Honestly, I feel as though my mom is a part of me, and for the most part, any tears cried now are tears of joy for who she was, and the love she brought to our family and all those that she touched.  The only way I can describe the way I feel, is that my mom’s spirit permeates my whole being.

My husband and I are enjoying our time together…the first time we are “alone” since our sons were born.  We are having fun going out, spending quiet time together, just enjoying each other.  Although my mom is in my heart, I am not dwelling on her passing away.  It just IS.

About a week ago, I wore one of the special pairs of earrings that I had given my mom as a birthday gift.  They are small flowers made of sparkly crystals.  Each petal is a different color, and my mom LOVED color!  The day after I wore them, for some reason the thought went through my head that my mom was wearing those earrings when she was dead, and those same earrings were in my ears.  The thought came and went without much thought.

That same night I had a dream of my mom coming back to our home.  In my dream I kept thinking, “Mom you died, how can you be back here?” but I couldn’t bring myself to say those words to her.  I felt bad because all of her clothes and things were gone, so I told her I had given away most of her stuff.  But I went downstairs to retrieve the little miniature case with the miniatures that represented years of memories for her.  I wanted her to have something that belonged to her and would help the room to be “homey” for her.  When I came upstairs, she was outside running in the grass.  With no cane or walker.  You see, she had used a cane when she first came to live with us, then progressed to a walker, then a wheelchair.  When I saw her outside, she was carefree and happy.

When I woke up, I was filled with a warm feeling about my mom being in heaven with Jesus.  I described the dream to my husband, and then went on with my day.  I didn’t think much about it after that.

A few days later I was talking to one of my sisters.  She told me that she had a troubling dream a few days before, and that she didn’t understand why she would dream something like that.

She told me that in her dream there was a woman that died, and that someone took the earrings out of the dead woman’s ears and put them in hers.  She didn’t know who the woman was or what the dream may have meant.  The hair on my arms and neck stood straight up and I got chills as soon as she said it.  I remembered my thoughts about mom’s earrings on that same day, and shared it with her.  I also told her about my dream about mom.

There was a moment of silence while my sister processed what I said.  She then soulfully said, “Mom visited you that night to let you know she is ok.”

I am not quite sure how or why these kinds of things happen.  However, I do know that the kingdom of heaven is a real place and state of being.  I also know that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit reside there with all the angels and saints.  And sometimes, I believe, we are allowed a glimpse of the joy of that kingdom.

 


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Our Weakness

Since my mom passed away in September, many emotions have been ebbing in and out of my heart.  I know this is a normal part of the grieving process, so I am attempting to allow  myself to feel each emotion as it comes.  Along with all the emotions, comes the questions of what I could have done better.  How many times I let my selfishness keep me from enjoying more time with my mom and doing more than I did for her.  And hidden in the back of my mind and heart, are the questions about the things that came between us in the past.  The growing up years.

Although the recent years of living with my mom brought us closer together, each of us learning to forgive and overlook weaknesses, these questions were lingering in my subconscious mind.

The other day I was thinking of my mother, and could feel her presence.  I told her I was sorry for all the ways I let her down, and for not always being there for her in the way I should have been.

Instantaneously,  I heard her voice.  She said, “You did the best you could.  And I did the best I could.”

Those words, simple as they were, really broke through to me.  In this life, as humans, we will always fall short.  No matter how much we love someone, and no matter how hard we try to do the right things…we will always fall short.  I realized that my mom loved all of us so much all through the years, and she never stopped loving us.  Even though she was the perfect mother for us, she was not perfect.

And neither am I. 

And that is ok.

Dear Lord, thank you for shining your beautiful, healing, comforting light on our families.  Thank you for filling our hearts with your love, and then touching those we love through our imperfections.  Thank you for always working through us…even when we are unaware of your presence, or  not “feeling it.”  For it is in our weakness that your power is made perfect.

 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 


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Beauty and Love are Always to be Found

Since my mother’s death in September, it has been hard for me to focus on the feelings and truths that are waiting for me to acknowledge.

It’s  not that I am consciously afraid of the feelings that will bubble up, but more that I know the immense tidal wave of feelings and memories that will engulf me, and I just need “me time” to sort it all out, and actually have the time to feel, face and process all that the Holy Spirit reveals to me. 

My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to all of you that have prayed for my mom, me, and my family, and also for your love and support.  An extra thank you to Tina, who reached out to me in her special way, to empathize and encourage me to write.  She knows that writing helps me to sort things out, and hopefully my search and struggle will help others who may be experiencing similar things.

Right now I am feeling overwhelmed, with the magnitude of what is occurring in our country and the world, and also with the tapestry of my own  life.  Although none of us will ever know the full beauty of our life tapestries until the Lord reveals them to us in His Glory in heaven, I feel as though some of the golden threads will be made visible to my eyes, through the Holy Spirit.  Somehow, the Lord will open my eyes and heart to understand the reasons for events in my life, and also the lessons that I was meant to learn through each struggle.  How everything was interconnected, and how the Lord always leads us to beauty, even through things we consider to be evil and ugly.

Beauty and Love are always to be found, especially when things are the darkest…especially in the midst of pain, struggle, and any evil that Satan wreaks on our lives.

So I ask for your patience, as I trudge forward, one step at a time.  I ask the Lord to use me as a vessel, to touch hearts that need to be touched with love and comfort.

This past Saturday, I went grocery shopping.  As I listened to Christmas music while strolling the aisles with my cart, my eyes caught the rice pudding.  The delicious, all natural rice pudding that I always bought for my mom.  All of a sudden, I was overcome with emotion.  It was an all consuming sadness, happiness, and love, all at once.  I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, and  just stood there, looking at the pudding, unable to move.  I allowed myself to feel all of it fully, and then just moved on.

After that, little snippets of memories kept popping up.

The awesome birthday parties mom gave us.  Mine was a fall birthday, so the decorations were always fall themed…lots of orange and black crepe paper and pumpkins.  Orange, yellow, and brown flowers on my cake, and honeycombed bright orange  pumpkin centerpieces.  I absolutely LOVE fall, and those birthday parties are probably one of the reasons I love it so much!

The delicious soft boiled eggs she made for me mixed with pieces of white bread.  When I was feeling a little sick, the eggs were so comforting to me.

Playing cards and board games with mom…she was the master of Canasta!

The way she always had something to serve to visitors.  Even if it was store bought cookies and coffee, or sharing our dinner, there was always something to offer to guests.

The grocery store.  When Mom first moved in with us, she would go grocery shopping with me, using her cane.  She would just want to buy everything, mostly sweets, so we got two carts and we both filled them.  Then she started using her walker, which then led to a wheelchair.  Although it was stressful when she shopped with me, it was sad when she no longer asked to go.

As soon as I walked into the house after shopping, she would always ask, “What goodies did you get?”  Meaning, cheesies, donuts, ice cream, cookies, pudding, etc.  I tried to limit them a little, but she  ended up getting most of what she wanted.

“The rosary is on at three thirty; would you like to pray it with me?”  When I finally accepted Mom’s invitation to pray with her, our relationship changed.  I remember one occasion vividly.  While we were praying, I looked over at her face.  There is no other way to describe what I saw…her face was illuminated and transformed.  I could literally see the Holy Spirit shining from her.

The many times she told me to just relax.  There was always so much to get done after work and on weekends to stay caught up as well as I could.  She was always telling me to let things go and just relax.  Maybe I should have listened???

On one of the days right before she passed away, my sister asked how she felt.  Mom said, “I’m good, but not as good as I will be in February.”  When my sister asked her what happens in February, she said, “I am going to have a great grandson!”

At one point, I said, “Mom, you know you will see your great grandson once you are in heaven.”  She looked at me with a glint in her eye, and said “I know, but I am not ready to leave this world yet.”

One night when she was having a hard time sleeping due to her breathing issues, I climbed in bed with her, and held her hand.  I asked her if it was ok that I was in bed next to her.  Her answer?  “We should do this more often.”

The look of wonder in her eyes the day before she died, when she looked straight into my eyes and said, “You have the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen!”  And then she called me “Jan” and proceeded to tell me about her daughter, Bernadette, and her husband that take care of her.  She said they did such a good job, but she worries that they do too much and worries about their health.

That moment when our eyes connected, when she was so weak and had gone through another breathing episode.  She asked me if I gave her “the pill” yet.  I “knew” that she meant that she was ready to pass on…she was ready to leave.  I am not sure why she thought there was one “pill” that would allow her to die, but I do know that she trusted me and she was telling me that her time on earth was ending.

Where does this all lead to?

Beauty and Love are always to be found, especially when things are the darkest…especially in the midst of pain and struggle.  And too many times, we do not understand the truth of that, until our world is shaken.  Until that person is taken away from us.  Until a stressful or difficult situation is behind us. 

I take great comfort in this truth:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

 

 

 


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From the Other Side, With Love

Since my mother passed away, my husband and I are slowly getting back to our life.  After so many years of my mom living with us, and the accommodations we made in our life and marriage due to her needs and happiness, we are having difficulty figuring out what “getting back to our life” means.  Our love and our marriage is strong, however, we are kind of in a waiting place…to see where the Lord is leading us at this time in our life.

There are many thoughts and feelings filling my heart and mind, and I miss my mother in a way that I never could have expected.

Her heart and spirit are a part of me now, and although she is gone from this physical world, I know  she is alive… in and with Jesus forever.   That doesn’t stop the pain of her absence, and also the pain of knowing the sorrows, struggles, and suffering that she endured throughout her life.

My dear friend wrote the following poem about her husband, when he was taken from her and her family.  Her beautiful and comforting  words touch my heart deeply and I wanted to share with you.

 

Today one more soul is heaven sent, 

A husband, father, and papa to many has finally found his way home; 

An eternity to spend. 

 

A place of rest, where everything is at its best, 

No more sorrow or tears to shed, 

A place where all are heavenly blessed. 

 

No more darkness or sickness; things of the past. 

A home at last; to the Father I must go. 

My time here has ended, the life we once knew gone but not forgotten, 

I’ll be watching over you. 

 

As I step out of this body and enter love’s pure light, 

I look back at your tear stained face and long to tell you it’s alright; 

The place I’m going, I do not fear. 

 

As I run to the Father, life’s pains and struggles disappear; 

And are replaced with everlasting joy. 

I think I’ll be ok staying here. 

 

Don’t you spend too much time crying over me. 

Remember the good times and don’t dwell on the bad; 

Take what you can from the things I have taught 

And you may learn a thing or two. 

 

Pay attention; tune your ear to the still small voice; 

I am always with you, not so far away. 

Just close your eyes, think of me, 

And remember to smile; 

I’m going home to the Father above. 

 

From the other side, with love. 

 

Written by Melissa Cox

 

 


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Spirit…Not Just Personality

Out to Dinner Bernadette and Mom

Out to Dinner
Bernadette and Mom

God always answers prayers, although sometimes they are in ways we could not have imagined. I am learning to trust His ways, especially when we cannot see the answers, because He knows what we truly need, not just what we think we need or want.

When my dad was experiencing a decline in health twelve years ago, I prayed that he would pass away before my mom so I could get to know her. In my mind, I would be able to forge a “true” relationship with her, and get to know her as a person. I imagined long heart to heart talks over coffee and lunches, enjoyable shopping dates, being there to help her with household chores, and do all the things I fantasized were things that close mothers and daughters did together. I wanted to know her true personality, and I wanted her to know me. This was my prayer.

The Lord knew what my true prayer request was, even though I didn’t know the fullness of what was needed to fill that spot in my heart that was longing for my mother’s love.

He knew that I needed to know her spirit…her heart; not just her personality.

So the Lord placed my mother with Joe (hubby) and me, and she made her home with us for the past eleven years.

I wish I could say that all those years were a breeze, and that every moment spent together was quality time. I wish I could say that my heart was always right and that every thought I had was loving and peaceful. I wish I could say that we had long, intense mother to daughter talks that allowed me to know about her life, and that we chatted endlessly about mother/daughter things. Because those were the things that my mind had the capacity to wish and hope for.   I was looking for an illusion of what true love is.

God, in all His mercy and love, revealed to me what true love is all about.

He gave me eleven years of snippets and moments of love with my mother. He helped me to love my mom through our interactions, especially when my mind and heart were not in it. He showed Himself through her smiles, her patience, her love, her gentle spirit, her ability to take life as it was given to her, accept it, and offer it to God each day. I watched her as her health declined through the years, and she was able to do less and less. I watched her struggle to walk a few steps to the bathroom, then struggle to move in bed. I watched her struggle to just breathe. I knew in her last week on earth, that her suffering was united with Jesus, and that I was privileged to share in that beauty. That beauty was manifested in a love that permeated my whole being…an all-consuming love that was almost overwhelming in its intensity.

You see, God answered my prayers, although in a way far superior to what I requested.

I asked that He allow me the time to get to know my mother’s personality. What He blessed me with, was the opportunity to know her spirit. And her beautiful spirit is what will be a part of me, and all who knew her, forever.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so completely, that you know our hearts and needs more than we do. Help us to always trust in your mercy and love, knowing that your desire is for us to find peace and true joy in your presence forever.


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In Memory of My Mother, Mary

Visit with Gram at Rehab

Visit with Gram at Rehab

There is no easy way to say this…my mother passed away on Thursday, September 17, 2015. So many emotions have been ebbing in and out of my being, however, right at this moment, I am feeling kind of locked up…like I have not been able yet to comprehend all that transpired.

The only way I know to sort things out and remember, is to write.

So here I am, with a heart full of pain, wonder, gratefulness, sadness, joy, and a love that is permeating through my heart as I never felt before. For I know that the Lord, and His Mother, have been with us each moment.

Being 88, my mother had been getting weaker and shorter of breath throughout the years. She was at a point where she was more than happy to just read, watch tv, or do her word search puzzles while in bed. She slowly started to choose eating in her room versus eating with my husband and me in the kitchen. Her appetite started to decrease (she was always a “foodie”!!!) and she only wanted very small portions of meat. Her short trips to the bathroom were more labored.

Then the breathing episodes started. After, and sometimes during, any physical activity, she would become extremely short of breath, and then start gasping for air. It was terrifying for her to experience, and horrifying for me to watch.

Joe (hubby) and I celebrated Mom’s 88th birthday on Saturday, August 8, with her. She enjoyed her favorite coconut cake, and we gifted her with the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy rosary that she requested.  A few weeks before, Joe and I drove her to Ohio to visit with my two sisters…I knew in my heart that it was the last trip she would ever take.

A short time after that trip, on July 31, I had emailed the following thoughts to myself, so I would not forget:

“Today I feel a total emptiness and sadness that is running deep in my being. I feel a deep sadness like I have never felt before.

I was talking to God this morning, and asked why has my mother’s life been so sad? She was such a beautiful young girl, and since that time she endured so much pain and struggle. Why??? Why couldn’t she just enjoy her life, family and friends, in a carefree way like so many do?

As I was asking Him these questions, He immediately answered me. He said, “Through all of the pain and struggles that she experienced, it brought her closer to me, and she will be with me soon.”

That is why I knew she didn’t have too much time left with us on earth. But I had no idea of what would happen in the next two months.

Mom ended up being admitted to the hospital the day after her birthday. Her stay there was almost a week, and then she was admitted to the rehab center for a little over three weeks.

With oxygen, nebulizers, and meds she had never taken before, she seemed to get much better. She actually had a good time in rehab…loved the food, received at least 50 cards and some beautiful flower arrangements, had many visitors, did well in rehab activities, played bingo, got her hair done in the salon…and smiled big when we came to visit each day.

One day my husband noticed that she was “down” a little…barely noticeable, but not quite as “up” as before.

We took mom home on Friday, September 4, and she was admitted to Hospice (in our home) the next Friday. So, in essence, she passed away two weeks after coming home from rehab.

There are many stories to share with you during my mom’s hospice time, and there will be many blog posts, I’m sure.

I will leave you with this: my mother had a special devotion to the rosary meditation. One of the promises of the rosary is a holy death.

At my mother’s moment of death, she just peacefully stopped breathing, and I felt nothing but happiness for her soul, because I knew she was with Jesus.

But that doesn’t take away the pain of missing her.  I know it will be a journey, and that the Lord will walk that journey with us all…leading us closer to Him.