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Friday, May 25, 2012

A Treasure in the Darkness

My daughter Carrington with my Dad at my Mom's graveside service.

I have been frantically trying to write in a journal about my Mom's hospitalization. I don't know why I want to write everything down, but I feel desperate to record all of the events.  I don't want to forget our last days with her.  I want my children and grandchildren to be able to read about it too.  It seems strange in a way because it was such a gut-wrenching time for all of us.  But I'm also very greatful for that time to be able to say goodbye to her, thank her for all that she did for us, ask her questions, and be able to tell her how much we all love her.  I decided to take a break from the journaling to write here about an event that took place in the hospital.  It was very special to our family.

One Thursday evening was a particularly emotional time for us.  Kellie, Marcy, my niece Abigail, and I were standing around my Mom's bed praying.  My Dad, Carrington (my daughter) and my nieces Lydia and Mariah were in the ICU waiting room .  I started praying, and thanked God for our Mom and for what an amazing Grandma she was.  I thanked God for some of the wonderful ways she had blessed us and for specific things she had done for us.  I remember mentioning "family night" when we watched the Walton's and ate donuts and popcorn when my siblings and I were kids.  :-)  I also asked for God to give us wisdom to make good decisions and for the "peace that passes all understanding" during this horribly sad time.  I remember asking God to help us feel His presence.

Later that evening, we started asking my Mom questions and frantically writing down her answers.  Questions like, "who made the quilt that I have?", and "where did the cake plate with the handle come from?".  We were desperate for answers to questions that we should have asked a long time ago.  She was also telling us things she wanted at her funeral, like pall bearers and different songs to be sung.  She talked about not wanting to miss her 50th wedding anniversary that's coming up and also her first grandchild's wedding (which will be taking place within the year).   My Dad and my nieces Lydia and Mariah had joined us in my Mom's ICU room.  About an hour or two after our prayer, Carrington called on my cellphone and said, "Mom, you have to come out here so we can tell you something.  I have the neatest story to tell you!"  I told her that I would wait and come out a little bit later.  I knew that once I left my Mom's ICU room that I wouldn't be allowed back in for the night.  They were very strict about visiting hours and the number of people in the room.  We broke the rules constantly and had been kicked out of her room on several occasions because visiting hours were over.  I finally took Mariah out to go sit with Carrington and Abigail because it was getting so late and the nurse was getting irritated with us for having so many people in the room.

To tell the rest of my story, I have to give some background information.  20 years ago this summer, my Mom and Dad, and several other wonderful Christian people started a small crisis pregnancy center in the town they live in.  My Mom ended up becoming the director of the center and worked there for 17 years.  She was passionately pro-life and also counseled many women who were broken-hearted over abortions that they had had. 

Back to my story........  When I went out to the waiting room, Carrington and Abigail were so excited.  Abigail said that they had been watching "I Love Lucy" on their dvd player.  2 women started humming to the music.  Abigail asked them if they wanted to watch it with them.  One of the women said, "Is your Grandmother a patient in the ICU?"  She also asked Abigail what her Grandma's name was.  When Abigail told her, the lady said, "17 years ago, I found myself divorced with 2 children, and pregnant.  I thought about getting an abortion.  I went into a crisis pregnancy center, and your Grandmother counseled with me and was so sweet and understanding.  She encouraged me to have my baby and now I have a 17 year old daughter.  I'm so thankful that your Grandmother helped me when I didn't know what to do." 

Needless to say, my Dad, sisters, and our daughters were thrilled and thankful for this story.  We prayed with the lady and hugged her.  One of the pastors who spoke at my Mom's funeral told that story.  We were so thankful that God sent that lady to remind us that He was there and that our Mom had "fought the good fight" and we will see her again some day.

Isaiah 45:3  "And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

GRIEF


I love this picture of my Mom and Carrington (my Dad in the background).  We had gone to the mountains with my parents.  My Mom loved and cherished her grandchildren.  She would do anything for them.  My sadness is more for my children than for me, although I am having a pity party for myself too.  :o)  I hate the fact that my children don't have their biggest fan anymore, cheering them on through every milestone and accomplishment in their lives.......giving gifts that were so meaningful and special..........listening to their problems with the best reactions.

I was standing at her kitchen counter a few days ago, thinking about all the many delicious meals she had cooked for her family over the years.  Everywhere I look, are constant reminders of my Mom, at her house and mine.  Grief definitely comes in waves, and for me it is mostly in the evenings for some reason.  Two nights ago, my son Clayton was saying his prayers.  As he usually does, he prayed for Grandma and Grandpa and then caught himself.  I started crying, and Clayton asked me why I was crying.  I said, "you don't need to pray for Grandma anymore".  Clayton responded with, "Mama, she doesn't need our prayers anymore".  He is so right.  I don't grieve for my Mom.  I grieve for us, the husband,  daughters, and grandchildren that miss her so much.  I know that my Mom is doing great!  She is happy and healthy.  She has no pain or sadness.  I cling to the fact that we will see her again someday, and we won't have sadness anymore either.  But in the meantime, we have to go through this sadness like everyone else who has lost a precious loved one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Saying Goodbye to My Mom

I lost my Mom on May 5 at 8:30 in the morning.  It has been a very sad time for my whole family.  She was the heart of our family.  She had a husband, 4 children, and 14 grandchildren (and 1 on the way).  She dearly loved all of us.  She took interest in every one of her grandchildren.  She always got excited about their accomplishments.  She was just as proud of our children as we are.  She loved holidays and celebrations.  She made everything fun and special.  She left an enormous void in our family that will never again be filled.  We miss her terribly.  There are grandchildren that are so young that they won't remember her at all.  My son is 9, and he won't remember when she was healthy and vibrant and always on the go.  She had Gout for about 5 years that totally ruined her life and destroyed her body. 
We miss her so much, and yet we would not wish her back to this Earth for anything.  Her body was wracked with pain.  She had gnarled hands and feet.  She could barely walk with a walker.  She doesn't have to go to dialysis anymore (which she hated).  Now she is pain free.  She is happy, joyful, and enjoying Jesus and Heaven.  She can walk, run, and enjoy life.  She has seen her Mom and brother, and her Grandparents.  She has seen her grandchildren that have died (miscarriage).  We are very sad that she is gone but we have the comfort that we will see her again someday.  That will be a wonderful reunion!  I know that she will be waiting at the gates for each one of us.

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