somebodylovesmeblog

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


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My Second Mother’s Day Without my Mom

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!

Mom’s Final Gift to Me

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.

 

 

 

 


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Listening for His Voice

IMG_2728Being that it’s a gorgeous sunny day today…in the eighties, I decided to take a walk during my lunch hour.

As I stepped outside and breathed in that amazingly warm and comforting air, I asked God to speak to me.  You see, usually I pray (talk!) the whole time I am walking, so I asked the Lord to do the talking today.

And I was listening for His voice.

For a few moments I was hearing the common drone of cars humming down the main road, and those sounds gave way to the gentle whirring of the breeze around me.  All of a sudden, there was the sound of a bird squawking.  The sound was getting nearer and nearer to me, and I looked down.  The bird was running in circles right in front of me and making all sorts of crazy sounds.  Then I saw it.  Her baby was off to the left of me, running toward the grass.  I realized that the mommy bird was protecting her baby!

Seeing the natural instinct of a mother protecting her little one really warmed my heart.  I thanked God for showing me such beauty, turned the corner and stepped up to the sidewalk.  Then I saw something I wish I hadn’t.  I saw two little furry baby birds, all soft and downy, lying dead on the ground.  I asked the Lord why He allowed me to see that?  Why did I need to see those sweet little birds that looked as though they just died?  And why did they have to die in the first place?

He answered, “there is beauty to be found through both life and death.”  After a few more steps, once again I looked down, and I saw it.  A bookmark had flown over and landed on the side of the path I was walking on.

I saw the words…Jesus is Alive! And I understood that because of Jesus, death holds no power over us.  In Christ Jesus, we are saved.  He is waiting for us to invite Him into our hearts and our lives, and accept the precious gifts He offers us.  Love, mercy, and salvation.  These are not merely words to bring us comfort.  Jesus is truly alive…He is right here with us now!

Lord, there are so many times I don’t understand your ways.  I don’t understand why some people suffer more than others, why some seem to attract the good things of the world, while others struggle just to survive.  Help me to understand that you are present in all of our lives, and in all circumstances.  Help me to trust that your grace is sufficient in all things, and that suffering, even death itself, can bring us closer to you.  All we need to do is open our hearts to you, and ask that you fill us with your saving holy presence.

 


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Searching for Miracles

Hello World!

Hello World!

Many people are on a never ending quest for miracles… looking for evidence that the Lord is working in their lives.  They wonder why God is not revealing himself to them, or to the world in general.

I see things much differently.  Our Lord communicates and speaks to us constantly.  He reveals himself to us in many different ways, and if we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts, and ask that he open our eyes and ears to him, we will discover the never ending  miracles and blessings of each new day.  The miracles are always there, we just need to expect and be open to them!

This is a little miracle that God blessed me with today.  If I didn’t keep a journal, I would have missed it.  The knowledge that the Lord is ever so close, and sometimes chooses to reveal himself through unexplainable events in my life, just overwhelms me!

So, here is what happened:

My husband and I have been re-watching the old series “Lost.”  Although I know it is not biblically correct, there are many interesting characters, and the story line is filled with symbolism and spirituality.  This series is making me think even more than usual about how our lives all interconnect, and how the Lord is always working all things toward good.  While I was thinking yesterday, I remembered a dream I had in the past about my son and his wife. My curiosity about the dream led me to pick up my journal to investigate.  I randomly opened the notebook to the correct page.

The entry was written on February 4, 2015, and I described the dream I had the night before.  The dream was kind of silly…my son and his wife were telling me excitedly that they were being sent baby powder every day for the rest of their life.  At the time, I remember knowing in my heart that the dream meant a baby would be coming soon!

I had the dream on February 3rd, exactly one year from the date little Brayden was born into our world!  Wow!

This is just a little reminder from God that he is with us always, and there is always more going on in our “unseen” than we are aware of.  The dream was a gift to me, and I would have missed the significance if I did not write it down, along with the date.

Dear Lord, help us to open our eyes of faith, so that we can see, hear, and feel your presence in our lives.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit so that your love touches all the hearts that we encounter in our daily lives.  Help us to always believe, even when we don’t see, hear, or feel you in our lives…for you are always with us.

 


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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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God’s Vessel of Love

Last night I finally followed through on something that has been on my heart for quite some time.  There were two reasons that held me back from doing what I knew the Lord was calling me to do.

Right before my mom passed away, she was in rehab for about a month.  She enjoyed her time there.  Being the social person that she was, she forged a friendship with her roommate, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had been in rehab for quite awhile, and the center was now to be her home.  Her eyesight started to get worse, and she was not able to walk on her own.  She was confined to her wheelchair, which she sat in most of the day, listening to her television.  She had not participated in any of the activities offered to her.

Enter my mom…she invited and prodded Elizabeth to attend Bingo with her, and also some worship services and the Rosary.  They ended up going together, and Elizabeth ended up really enjoying herself.

When Joe and I visited my mom each day, we would bring treats for her, and also for Elizabeth.  Things like chocolate milkshakes, candy, homemade guacamole, and cookies.  We also brought two of my mom’s small wooden crosses…one for each of them.  Elizabeth instantly held it in her hand, feeling the smoothness of the wood, and tracing Jesus on the cross.  Every time we came in, the crucifix was either in her hand or on her bedside table.

When my mom was discharged,  we all felt bad leaving Elizabeth, and I knew she felt the same sadness.  We gave her a hug, and I made the decision to continue visiting her once my mom was settled in at home.

Two weeks from the date of discharge, my mom passed away.  During the whirlwind of what transpired once we  brought mom home, and then Hospice Care in our home, I didn’t have time to even remember or think about Elizabeth.

Once life settled down a bit, I started to feel the draw again to visit Elizabeth in the Health and Rehab Center.  However, as I mentioned before, there were two things that held me back.

I knew that Elizabeth really bonded with my mom and I also knew she would ask about her.  Being that Elizabeth was in failing health herself, and felt so close to my mother, I was reticent to tell her of my mom’s death.  I am not the kind of person that could lie about a thing like that, and I was concerned about how the truth would affect her.

The other issue that was lurking in the back of my mind was that I was not sure I could handle the emotions of walking into the room where my mom enjoyed the last month before her struggle and then her death.  I can still see her in that bed by the door.  She would be sitting up, with her cute reading glasses on, and doing word search or reading.  When I asked her how her day was, she would say, “I had a beautiful day!”  Then we would visit and she would force me to stash all the sugar packets, snacks, and cookies that she collected from her dinner trays into my bag.  It was our daily ritual!  So I was not sure what emotions might come up if I visited Elizabeth in that same room.

The Lord kept nudging me to make the visit, and yesterday was the day!  The room that my mother and Elizabeth were in was visible from the outside walkway.  I looked in through the back door window (locked from the inside) to check for Elizabeth’s name that was posted by the room.  Her name was gone.

I had a sinking feeling that maybe I was too late, and that she passed away.

Even though my heart was fluttering, I made it to the front desk, and asked about Elizabeth.  The receptionist smiled and told me that her room was moved, and pointed me in the right direction.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I walked down the familiar hall, and made a left turn.  When I walked into the room, Elizabeth was sitting in her wheelchair, looking ahead, in waiting for her dinner to be brought in.  I made sure to get close enough so she could see me, said hello, and introduced myself.

What a beautiful moment for me when her eyes and face brightened up in recognition and remembrance!

We started talking, and she related to me that my mom, and our family have been in her thoughts.  She talked about the treats we brought her, and how she enjoyed getting to know Mom, and the visits we shared.

Then she asked the question.  “How is Mary?”

As gently as I could, I let her know that she passed away a few months ago, and that she died a peaceful death.  I told her that it was my mom’s time.

Elizabeth’s eyes started to tear up, so I comforted her, and let her know what a wonderful time Mom had with her, and that Mom appreciated her friendship.  Elizabeth told me that Mom brought sunshine into her life, and that because of my mother, she still goes to Bingo and the Rosary.  She said my Mom was fun and feisty, and that was a good thing!

I remember when Mom would wonder why she was still alive at such an old age…much older than she expected to live.  I always let her know that she touches many hearts just because of who she is, and that all the prayers that she offers for everyone is part of her Divine Purpose.  She literally prayed for hours and hours for everyone she knew.

Now, it is being revealed to me one person after another, what my mother meant to them and how she touched their hearts.  She left love, and a piece of her heart with all that knew her or crossed her path.

Through my mom’s journey, I am learning that we all strive to understand God’s Divine Purpose for our lives, and we all believe that we fall short.  However, our Divine Purpose is revealed many times through our daily interactions and choices to love and forgive.  It is in taking the needed steps when we hear the Holy Spirit’s familiar whispers to our hearts…moving past the fear and uncertainty that we feel and making the choice to reach out to those hearts in need of validation and love.

My prayer is that the Lord fill me with the humbleness and purity of heart that my mother possessed.  And I pray for Him to use me as a vessel to hold and pass on His love to all He sends me.

 

 

 

 


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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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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.