Thirty three and a half years later – this is a moment in the making.
The past two months have been almost as hard as what I went through when Mom and Dad died…but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Life happens and we do our best to take what we’re given and “roll with it.”
God never said the “roll with it part” would be easy.
The most fortunate thing God did was bless me with a faithfilled mother. God maximized the few years she had to “mold” me into the person I am today.
Now I know that it is only by Faith through Grace that He walked me through fires. How do I know? Because in the subsequent years following Mom and Dad’s passing, I heard time and again that the things I experienced would have caused “the average person” to crumble, quit living and give up.
The only thing I can attribute any of this protection to is The Father’s faithfulness in His promises. He promised us He would always be with us…no if’s ands or but’s….until the end of time.
Until this moment, I had thought that a better part of me died with my Mom back in ’83. It seemed like it took me decades to get beyond mourning her loss. God is faithful though and uses his “super-natural-ness” to fill in those empty spaces in ways only He can.
I’ll revisit this once more:
November 1983 – A Foreshadowing
When I finally arrived back “home” for funeral proceedings (and I will never forget this) there in the family room, centered on the kitchen table was a candle, burning bright and strong…..
3 days Prior
My mother had fought a rare form of cancer for nearly a year. The disease emaciated her once strong and familiar frame.
We hadn’t seen her since before I started school after Labor Day and we weren’t planning to visit again until Thanksgiving (which at that moment was just two weeks away) but Mom requested us to come sooner. She requested we come that weekend. She knew God was going to call her home.
Having walked in the front door, I took one look at her and knew that death had taken residence. My emotional instincts kicked in and somehow I “shut” down to avoid emotional shock.
Fear I’d never know, raced through my mind and my body tightened. Dad and I exchanged glances. We said nothing and I kept my mouth shut. Until that moment, even after 9 months I hadn’t allowed myself to recognize what was ahead. I kept my distance all evening and dared not look her direction.
This could not have been easy for her and it went against every instinct I’d ever known…because we’d been so very close throughout my childhood, at least up until her diagnosis, treatment and ultimately my permanent removal from her care.
I considered her my best friend and I was always by her side. Until now….until this.
Our visitation was short lived (pun intended) and the next day, as we readied to depart, she called me to her side and her message remains a haunting memory:
Please listen and be good, your guardians will take good care of you. They know what’s best.
But for possibly the first time EVER, she was wrong. I think she knew it, too. But she wanted to let go of this world and give me words of encouragement because she was at death’s door. She knew she was leaving while I was just now facing the first elements of denial.
And as much as I should have been in good hands, the opposite was true.
My mother wanted to say goodbye to me. I’m sure she wanted to tell me she loved me. I can’t remember if she did, I don’t recall if I ever gave her the chance. I could barely look at her. I’m certain she must have read the fear in my eyes. I didn’t recognize the woman I had called Mom for 15 years. I think I may have given her a brief kiss on the forehead as she lay in her hospice bed. My memory is too foggy to remember.
The last time I saw her alive is etched permanently though…
We’d left the house and were in the car; having taken our seats, our doors now closed. That’s when I noticed movement in the garage. Apparently, Mom had plans of her own. She was not going to have me leave and allow my last memory of her to be from her hospital bed “wasting” away. No, she had insisted on “modeling” the fighter she was.
The cancer may have been ravaged her body but it never decimated her will. She was determined to show that WE could be bigger. That with God and Faith, nothing could stand in our way. That WE are bigger and more powerful with Jesus, than without.
With help from Dad, she had him escort her from her death bed to the garage. That is where we watched her wave goodbye to us. Her pathway to Eternity set in place. In that moment, I knew….something – everything would never be the same.
I don’t blame her or my dad for the events of the next few years. The trials I faced were designed for me to grow and learn. In hindsight, profound strength is only possible once we emerge from an intense battle. Strength that would not have been possible otherwise.
God meant me no harm. He knows everything that occurred and probably with much more detail than I would care to recall.
In the minutes after Mom’s passing, my brother had lit the candle whose flame even still remained sitting on the table. Her spirit had left her body, but he was fighting to keep the warmth of the woman we knew as Mom alive in that house. The body she left behind was just a shell but there would be no mistaking what God created when He made her. That candle contained within its flame a very real representation of the fire of her essence in our lives…and in each of us.
I s’pose it’s really no accident that I ended up with this blog or that God directed me to select this name for it. I imagine it’s all part of His master plan. My mother’s spirit may have been snuffed out decades ago but the candle that was lit that day was a foreshadowing of events in my life.
She believed in my writing, my creativity, my imagination and ultimately the foundations of faith that were laid within my soul.
Even if she was right, when she lamented during her illness, “I won’t live to see my baby girl grow up,” I’m beginning to see there was a reason for that moment. That candle was a message God was sending to me. Even if I wouldn’t know or recognize it then; I have only truly recognized it’s significance now – with this blog writing journey.
The foundations were being laid for what was…for what is to come. So yes, Mom: my eyes are being opened and I’m beginning to understand…the puzzle pieces are taking shape:
God does indeed have a plan
– my part is to Stand & Wait
for His Fruition
Above all things; I will keep the faith. I will walk the narrow path. I will follow Jesus – just as you did and like you, I will continue with the purpose God has set before me and I will keep:
Shining a light in the darkness