Today is the day. One year ago today, Mom left her earthly body and went to the arms of her Savior. I have a beautiful picture I've created in my mind of her leaving her body, the one that had failed her and kept her from so many of her dreams, and gracefully, joyfully, flying into the arms of Our Lord. It was Easter Monday morning, about 4:45. I had wanted to stay that night before, but my pregnancy was getting the best of me and the nurses suggested I go home to rest. I guess that is what she needed. She needed to be left alone to make that final journey. I have often thought about this and how we all meet the Lord by ourselves. No one goes with us. We are on our own. Our own private, intimate moment with Christ himself.
For a long time after she passed, I wondered if she was afraid when she died. I wondered if she woke up, wondered where I was, and then died. It was a horrible feeling. Sometimes I catch myself dwelling on the negative. Then I am reminded that these thoughts are not from God.
Her passing causes me to pause often and reflect on a few things. This is what I have learned this year from my mom.
1. Love even when it hurts. When the love must leave, you will hardly remember the arguments, and you will wonder why you wasted time having them. Love is what Christ asks us to do. Not just when it is easy, not when it's convenient, not when it's pretty. Just love. I must admit that I did love. Even when it hurt. Even when I didn't want to. I did not always do it well, not gracefully, not willingly. But I asked for the strength to love, and it came.
2. Repair the hurts. No matter what you must do. Find a way to repair the hurt. You will feel so much more peace once you do. And there is a point that will come when you won't be able to do so. We never know when.
3. Laugh often. It eases the pain of illness. It cures the old hurt that still lingers even after the forgiveness comes.
4. Touch one another. Look at their hands. Drink in their scent. Study their eyes. Feel their skin. Embrace them fully. Remember that feeling when you do.
5. Take lots of pictures. Don't be afraid to look at them after your loved one has passed. Touch the picture. Feel the feelings. Rejoice in their happiness.
6. Journal. Write to your loved one. Write down anything you would want to tell them. Write to them on their birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, any day. Tell them your troubles. Ask for their prayers.
7. Don't be afraid to talk about them after they are gone. The kids long to. It is sad at first, but it is getting easier and we are laughing at some of the things we used to do.
8. Ask all the questions you would ever want to know about your loved one. I never asked Mom about her first date, her first love. I really wish I had. I will never know that information now.
Matthew and I bought some Limon chips the other day. We talked about how Nana brought them to our house one day and we all tried them and thought that they were gross! We kept trying to eat them, because she loved them so much! Then she was told to stop eating them. They were bad for her heart condition. We continued to eat them. Now, whenever I get a craving for a chip, I can pull them out and visit with Nana...
Somethings that come up that I never thought about before she died that would remind me of her.
Seeing a new Mary Higgins Clark book. I got angry the first time I saw a new book come out! I felt like I should buy it just because...
Seeing a display of Winterfresh gum. That was Mom's favorite and she chewed it often while in the hospital. Seeing that display almost brought me to tears.
Smelling Estee Lauder. I found myself following a lady around in Walmart the other day because she was wearing it. I couldn't help but want to talk to her, but I refrained. I figured they'd lock me up.
Something else I've done this year is put a picture of her in my wallet. She always wanted to travel, especially to San Antonio, Austin, anywhere to see the sights in Texas. Her illness prevented this from happening. But now she is able to go everywhere with me!
As you can tell, I am still greiving. I suppose I always will. I can't believe that I can't pick up the phone and call her. I know that I will see her again in Heaven some day. Until then, though, I will hold her dear to my heart.
I love you mom.