Mommy!! Oh, how I miss her. How do nineteen years slip by so quickly without seeing her dear face…or holding her gentle hand? Time…it boils down to one thing…doesn’t belong to us. It’s just lent to us for a season, then time, as we know it here, is taken back. It’s a mystery.
I woke to a strange buzzing sound that I didn’t recognize immediately. I’m guessing that’s because my sleep was so deep after laying awake for three hours in the middle of the night once again. When I finally became alert I realized it was my phone that was ringing. 6:00a.m. Not good! My kids know I’m an early riser but they usually only call at that hour if there’s a serious issue of some sort. I looked at the phone and froze because it was my daughter, Keely, who has health issues of her own. I answered the phone this way: “Are you okay??”
As it turns out I had to get up immediately and go to the aid of Keely’s mother-in- law who is having another bout of cancer. A precious woman, who’s beat this nasty disease twice already, is now facing yet another round of it. She needed immediate help and Keely and Bruce were away. I hopped up, threw on my clothes, and left the driveway quickly.
By the time I was about to pull into Rosemary’s driveway, I heard from Keely that two other family members from Bruce’s side of the family had already arrived. We decided it was best for me not to go into the house. An ambulance had to be called and another person present would bring more confusion to an already unsettling situation. Honestly, I was relieved. I felt scared. Scared to face an ambulance. Scared of the ER and all the dear ones waiting there, desperately hoping for help.
“I felt His mercy spill forth over me at that moment, not His condemnation for the fear I had.”
This fast-moving incident had now turned into a time of reflection which left me reeling a bit. After much prayer for Bruce’s dear Mama, I looked inward and asked God why I tend to shy away from medical emergencies. Why do I find myself afraid in times of crises? I am NOT an ER fan, although of course I’m grateful for doctors and their expertise. But when I’m there I feel terribly uneasy. “Am I not courageous, Lord? Why do I fear in times of medical emergency? Why do I so fear not being in control?”
The Lord, so gentle, His tender ways so freely given…I felt as if He was right there in the car with me. I sensed his love pour over me, gathering my heart that was so scattered with thoughts of my fear and failures…reminding me of His grace and how much He has poured it over me and into me when He knew I couldn’t walk the path He had before me. I felt His mercy spill forth at that moment, not His condemnation for the fear I had.
In His love, He drew my heart back to the memories of years gone by when our family had the privilege of caring for my precious mother from 1993-2000. I remembered His ever-present grace…His love, His patience with me AND within me, given freely through me to my dear, failing Mom.
I remembered afresh how those days were so “otherly”. I knew the strength I had to love and care for this precious woman was not my own. And I felt Him say, “You were courageous. You loved and cared for your Mommy.” My heart began to fill and gratitude spilled over.
Thinking back, I remembered all the gifts God gave along the way…gifts of such mercy to me, His own broken-hearted, little girl. It was heart wrenching to trade places with my Mama, becoming and being the Mom myself, yet I never resented it. Caring for this frail person who couldn’t utter one word, but spoke volumes of love with her eyes, became a treasured gift. As someone who could never do this in my own strength, I was given peace and grace to do all Jesus had called me to do.
I still weep at the thought of all He provided in those days. And I know He will do the same for Keely and Bruce and their family as they face the road ahead with dear Rosemary. I feel safe as I reflect on the mercy He is pouring out upon her as she looks to Him for her daily and hourly strength to face this journey yet again. I feel a sense of awe as I watch her navigate through, knowing what He gives in our darkest hours is something that’s given freely…His nearness…and as those days come for Rosemary, and when they come for each of us, He will be right there by our side as He always is.
“Caring for this frail person who couldn’t utter one word but spoke volumes of love with her eyes became a treasured gift to me.”
As I wind down now I want to share one of the most treasured gifts Jesus ever gave me as I cared for my Mom. I could fill a book with stories about my mother’s life…her kindness, her love that was always unconditional and how loved she was by all, but today I want to share this one precious memory that will be etched in my heart forever.
One day I had showered and dressed Mom, and settled her in her chair. I was drying her dear feet that she hadn’t been able to walk on for years. As I was putting on her shoes and socks, she spoke so clearly, so tenderly, with such love…”I love the things you do.” I hadn’t heard her voice in eighteen months. I looked up, tears immediately flooding my eyes, and she was gazing down at me with the love that ALWAYS shone through her. That scene is frozen in time for me. I can picture it like it happened yesterday. It’s stands alone as one of the most memorable and impactful moments of my life.
I wondered this morning as the Lord brought me back to that memory… I wondered if she heard her own voice…if she knew how long it had been since she’d been able to speak…if she felt so much love that her words just had to burst forth?
As I pondered these things afresh today I knew Mommy was still Mommy, though she was trapped in a temporal body that didn’t work anymore. Then I remembered that September 8, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. my dear mother was set free to join Daddy and the Lord she loved so much; that her voice was free again to sing praises to the God she had come to know and love!!
I also remembered, with relief for my Mom, but constraint for me, that time, as we know it now, isn’t ours. It’s a mystery that is lent to us, that will one day come to an end.
I pondered that as I traveled back to my home this morning. In light of what took place in the last few hours, I was amazed at the personal, intimate heart of God and His timing in all this morning held. I pondered on how He knows what we need each day and how He’s working closely behind the scenes of our everyday lives to encourage, strengthen, and equip us for our journey this side of Heaven.
In closing, I encourage you to find the above article and read it. It’s such a beautiful, heart-felt testimony and it makes us realize time, as we know it, will end one day. There will come a moment when we have to say goodbye to those we love so much. We are never promised tomorrow. It’s so important to let those we love know how much we love them…even those we struggle with…no matter whose fault it is, we want to keep short accounts and make amends prayerfully and to the best of our ability. We all know life is fleeting.
As I reflect back, I know dear Mommy knew I loved her so much. I am grateful for all the days I got to cherish our moments together…the precious ones and the hard ones, because in both I know first-hand that it was God who strengthened Mommy (and also me) for our journey. And in His amazing love, He will strengthen you for what lies ahead as you look to Him for His grace.
…Grace… ”God enabling us to do what we could never do on our own”. …Grateful beyond measure…
On this journey together, Deb