My mom died today. It wasn't that we weren't expecting it, it just happened sooner than we thought it would. She's in Heaven with her husbands, rejoicing at the feet of Jesus (now there's a picture for you!) Fortunately, both of her husbands were a lot alike and I've always thought of them sitting around, trading military stories about Korea, up in Heaven. Now she can sit with both of them, waiting on them hand and foot, like she did here when they were alive. Laughing at their jokes, keeping the house spotless, watching whatever they wanted to watch on TV. She definitely was devoted to each of them and they loved her dearly. She was devastated when they died and really never recovered after losing her second husband, Richard, almost ten years ago.
My Dad, George (she and everyone else called him Ed) was totally devoted to her as well. They made a good team. I was fortunate to grow up in a home where I never had to worry about my parents divorcing. They bickered but never seriously. I always felt that Mom was in Dad's shadow but I didn't understand their relationship. They were happy and content with their lives, and that was all they needed. When Dad died, Mom was only 56 (5 years older than I am!) and she began the life of a single woman, unhappily. She was incomplete without Dad but she managed. I remember teaching her how to put gasoline in her car - we both cried through it!
Years later, she met Richard, a neighbor who lived a few houses down from her. I didn't know Richard very well, as I had married and moved away by then, but I do know he was devoted to her and our family. They were happy, traveling a bit but mostly spending time together at home - my Mom's happiest place to be. Richard totally accepted and loved me and my sisters, plus our families. I was so happy for her, to have another husband to enjoy. Richard had two grown children of his own and I count his daughter as another sister, as close as my own. She and her daughters loved my Mom and we were happy to add them to our family.
My Mom was happiest when she had her family with her. The house was full of daughters when I was growing up, and then full of friends of the daughters as we grew. It was normal to always have company and everyone loved my Mom. Some of my sisters friends would stop by, just to visit my parents, after my sisters moved away.
One's perception of one's parents tends to change as we grow (it should, anyway) and I certainly watched my Mom change over the years, learning from her as she handled whatever life handed her. She was stronger than she let on, relying on God to see her through. I know I learned about God from her at such a young age that I do not know life without God. I learned to pray from her, and I know she prayed for her family. I am grateful for all she taught me. She turned 85 last Monday. I hope I will continue to live my life in a way she would be pleased with. She and I have had a terrific phone relationship for many years, since I moved away. She always asked about my family and the last few years, always sent her love to them at the end of every conversation. I spoke to her every day for the past year or so. I will miss that. I feel empty. I am so glad she taught me the importance of devotion to family. And how to do my taxes! Many blessings will come to mind, I am certain, as I reflect on our relationship of 51 years. Since her birthday was just a few days ago, I was able to send her a card, thanking her for all the things she's been to me. I had a feeling it would be her last birthday, the Lord gave me that nudge. I feel like I was able to convey my gratitude, I am so glad I had that opportunity. And I talked to her yesterday, a short but nice conversation, ending with "I love you, Mom" and saying I'd call her later. These are the things that one needs to remember, for comfort and peace of mind. She is at rest. I will miss her.
Thank you, Lord, for my Mom.