Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Mom's last mother's day Posted by Hello

Back to the blog

This is my first blog of the new year, and it's already April. Mom's passing has absorbed my emotional energy, but I am finally doing more than treading water.
I want to share the words I spoke at her funeral...they're all I feel about the last year and finally losing her:

I just want to say a few words today, as I pray for the strength to get through them without faltering.
Often people asked me why I called Grandpa "Grandpa" and yet I called Grandma "Mom." It made for a lot of confusion over time, but the reason is this: I knew my dad, Bob, growing up, but I never knew my birth mother, Arlene. Grandma was the only mom I knew. So I will refer to her as Mom just as I have most of my life.

I stand here today knowing that I have gained more and learned more from these last few difficult months than I have in any other time in my life. Prior to this, losing Grandpa was the hardest thing I ever had to go through. But every day I carried him with me....his wit, his kind spirit, and his love. I never had a doubt in my mind that it was his desire for me to take care of Mom...and he knew I would, God willing. There were at least two nights where I dreamt Grandpa was speaking to me, encouraging me and telling me he was proud of me for being there for her. I believe God allowed me to have those dreams to remind me of what He had called me to do. For at times, despite the many wonderful times we had, and though I loved her deeply, the pull of my career, desire to spend more time with my friends and immediate family, or sometimes my own health could make me feel overwhelmed. It was during those times my spirit was always refreshed by God. Whether it was a phone call or an email or even those dreams, He always sent something or someone to lift up my head again. I give Him glory for that.

There were occasions, especially this last summer and early fall that I felt especially ill equipped to deal with what I saw ensuing in Mom's life. I wanted so much to make everything okay, to wave a magic wand and return things back to normal. Mom and I both felt powerless. She felt like she was becoming a burden, and I felt like I was unable to stop the events that were taking place right before my eyes. I don't know how many times she said to me, "Kris, I don't know how I am ever going to repay you for all you have done. I just don't know how." I always said to her, "You can repay me by getting better, Mom. That's what I want from you."

On late afternoon Christmas Eve I went in to her room and she was in tremendous pain. I helped her open her gifts; that was the day she hugged the kids for the last time. She held on to Josiah and kissed him and told him what a sweet little boy he was. Soon after she fell asleep, exhausted from pain.
From that day on, she was in such pain every time I saw her that I almost couldn't bear it. I know she was growing tired of feeling so bad, and I know she also realized I was having a hard time coping with it. Several times, even during times that she was experiencing dimmensia, she would look over at me and say, "You look tired. Why don't you go home and get some rest?"
On Friday morning, I sat by her bedside and held her hand. I looked at her face, so pale and drawn from the battles she had survived. That day she refused all food and water and medication. She had given up. I didn't want to accept that this was the end, but she had.

And somewhere, even though I couldn't hear it, she heard the voice of God. That day, in His mercy and grace, he called out to her in that hospital room and said, "You look tired. Why don't you come home and get some rest?"

So, with her spirit willing, her body complied....yet even in her departure, she considered my feelings. Her heart, weak as it was, continued to beat until Dad and I got there, and then she went home. One day, when I see her again, I am going to thank her for that gift in person.

There are a thousand scriptures that apply to today, some of which may be read here today, but only one reading I found among the works of man applied to how I felt about Mom. I leave you with this:

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt my love.
-William Shakespeare-

In these words, I cleansed my soul and shared my heart. I miss her still. It's the funniest things that I miss. Seeing her down the aisle at Walmart, looking for cat food. Calling me on line 3, because years ago I had given her a pen with that number listed on it. I think it was a sample pen, a business trying to get us to buy their product. But she never forgot that number and she called me almost every day. She ALWAYS said, "Kris? This is your mom." And then she would start apologizing for bothering me right away. Sometimes when line 3 rings for a second I think it's going to be her. Funny how the mind plays tricks on folks.
On Easter I fought off sadness all day. Usually on Easter I would come out and we would have ham and potato salad and then the kids would hunt eggs. We would sit around and talk and she would plan out what she wanted to get done that summer. It felt strange without her.
I am sure Mother's Day is going to be tough. I am close to tears just thinking about it. In tribute, I want to share a photo of her, reading the Mother's Day poem I wrote last year for her. I am so glad I did that now.