Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom...We Miss You!!

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; 
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: 
when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; 
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
Isaiah 43:2
(KJV)

I knew it was coming...I just tried to ignore it.
Then, I opened our email, and there it was....another reminder from birthday alarm....
sitting in our inbox.
"Send a greeting card to Mom for her birthday...", it said.

Our sweet, beautiful Mom
(I miss that mischievous twinkle in her blue eyes...
among so many other things.)

I let it sit here...in our inbox....for days.
Somehow, having it sit here helped me pretend that she is still here.
That I can buy her a card....and present.
That I can take her out to eat to one of her favorite restaurants....
and/or cook one of her favorite meals.
That she, Zach, and I can take a long drive together, 
like she enjoyed doing so much.
That I can bake her favorite kind of cake for her
and invite Debbie, LD, Mark, and whatever other family is around over,
so we can celebrate together.....
as we have so many times before.
Thinking about it makes me recall so many, many happy memories.

"Precious memories, how they linger!
How they ever flood my soul!
In the stillness of the midnight,
Precious, sacred scenes unfold!"
(Written by J.B.F. Wright)

She has gotten two things in the mail here at our house,
over the past couple of weeks, reminding us of her upcoming birthday.
Each time I see her name on the envelope, I stop in my tracks,
tears fill my eyes, and I miss her so much that my heart breaks all over again.

It is impossible to believe that it has been nearly two years...
since I stood there and watched them close the lid over that precious face.
The face that first peered into mine....terrified and crying for all I was worth
after just exiting a safe place to enter such a cruel, cold world.
The face that looked concerned when I was upset or hurt,
that tears streamed down during times of grief and loss,
that smiles covered when something made her laugh.

Sometimes, I feel a sudden sense of panic that I am forgetting what she looked like...
that I wouldn't recognize her voice, should I have the sweet opportunity of hearing it again,
that I could think of nothing to say, if we had the chance to talk.

If Mom were here today....
I would do my utmost to show her the happiest 86th birthday possible.
In addition to her cake, I would make sure there were candles
and birthday plates, cups, and napkins...
and the special birthday tablecloth would be on the table for everyone to sign.
We would sing to her and try to make her feel as special as she deserves to be made to feel.
I would make sure she was comfortable and had what she needed.
And I would tell her over and over and over again how very much I love her.

Did I tell her enough?

I told her...a lot.
Nearly every day of my life.
I showed her...as much as I possibly could.
But, did she really know?
Did she realize how very important she was to me?
Did she comprehend the depth of my concern for her?

I can only hope that she did.
I can do nothing for her now.
The very best care and treatment I could ever give her or provide
would fall so hopelessly short of the kindness with which she is now being treated.
There are no sweeter, more loving, compassionate arms with which to enfold her
than the arms that will hold her for eternity.


If I could somehow get a phone call through...to Heaven....
to Mom today, on her 86th birthday, this is what I would say.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!
It is so good to hear your voice again!
I miss you.
Every, single day.
I sometimes feel like I won't be able to go on without you.
I am doing what you told me to...remember?
That night in your apartment..as I paced the floor in front of you,
while we waited for the ambulance to arrive?
You told me you didn't think you would make it through that time.
It turned out, you were right, Mom...you didn't.
You told me to stay encouraged and to keep the faith.
And remember that day in ICU?
You had the bi-pap machine forcing air into your lungs.
You were trying so hard to tell me something.
The nurse took it off long enough for me to bend close to your face, so I could hear.
Keep pressing on, you said.
I have, I am, and I will, by God's grace.
There have been moments I have felt the urge to give up.
A lot has happened since you left us.
Unexpected changes have come...both good and bad.
But, through it all, I have not let go.
I know that in order to ever see you again, I must hold fast,
and I must press on.
Your fight is over.
You have won your crown.
No one has ever deserved it more!
I can just picture it...in all its glory...resting on your head.
My fight continues.
I am bound and determined, by God's grace, to finish my race with victory,
and to finish strong....just like you did.
How I miss your prayers!
Oh, the times I have wanted to pick up the phone and call you!
Oh, the times I have needed you, Mom!
Just to tell me it is going to be okay...
just to encourage me in your sweet, motherly, firm way 
to help me snap out of whatever doldrums I was in.....
to hear you quote Scripture to me!
Oh, I miss that!
More than I ever thought I would.
I miss our talks, our car rides, our trips down south, our prayers together.  
YOU were the best mother a girl could ever ask or hope for, Mom.
You were not only my mother....you were my dear, precious, cherished friend.
Will I ever stop missing you?
I have been so sick...fighting things you didn't know about...
and new things that have developed....since you were here.
Those are the times I miss your prayers the most.
I have even cried out to you...begging you to pray for me....there in Heaven.
You must be so close to His throne!
Oh, the glory!
The wonder!
I can only imagine!
What did you do, Mom?
When you first saw HIS face?
How did you react?
Remember your favorite song, When I Bow At His Feet?
What was it like????
The very first time??
Oh, how I wish you could tell me!
Do you talk to Him?
Or do you just rest?
Do you think of us...down here?
Or would that bring you too much pain?
Have you seen Dad?
And Papaw?
And Mimmie?
And other loved ones?
And all of those old-time saints you used to talk about so much?
How does it feel to be rid of that walker?
And to be out of that pain???
And to never cry?
And to never have to worry...about us....or anything......ever again?
What does it look like, Mom?
What does HE look like?
Does He still have marks and scars from the nails?
Is that how you first recognized Him?
Or did you just know?
Is He the One Who carried you over....as you left us there in that dismal, depressing hospital room?
Who came for you?
Do you and Dad sing together?
Are you looking for me?
Oh, Mom, there is so much I want to say!
The main thing I want you to know is that I love you, Mom....
more than human words could ever convey....
with more love than my earthly heart could ever hold.
And one day, I will meet you there, Mom.
I promise, by God's grace, I will get there.
Then, we will never part again."

Our family circle broke in two when our precious Mom was called away.
Sometimes, I feel so lost without her link.
She was like the glue that held us together.
And though our family get-togethers are still beyond precious to me,
they will never be the same without Mom.

Her love for all of us,
her deep concern,
her kindness,
most of all, her prayers...
are things we will all miss for the rest of our lives.

If you still have your Mom...and/or Dad...why not pick up the phone and give them a call?
Why not drop by for a visit, if they live close by, or make plans to go see them, if they don't?
Why not tell them how much they mean to you and how happy you are to still have them in your life?

Unfortunately, there are no phones in Heaven.
And once our loved ones cross over to the other side,
we must wait until eternity to speak with them again.

So, if there are words that need to be said, why not say them now?
While they are still here,
while they can still hear,
and while you can still bless them with your words?

Why do we procrastinate in these matters?
Always thinking there will be a more convenient time.
Sometimes, there just aren't any more....
opportunities...chances....moments of life.

If there is something between you and your loved one,
why not forgive and let go of the past?
Don't let another day go by without mending fences and relationships.
It just isn't worth the risk.

Regret is a heavy, but unnecessary burden.
If your loved ones are still around you,
you still have time and opportunity to do the right thing...
to prevent those nagging, life-draining regrets.

I will more than likely miss my parents for the rest of my life.
But, knowing I did all I could for them while they were here,
makes the grief a tad bit easier to bear.
I can't imagine having the sting of regret added to my already-overwhelming sense of grief.

I thank God for every one of Mom's birthdays that He allowed me to spend with her.
45 of them, in all.
I was blessed to keep her in my life a lot longer than a lot of people are blessed to keep their mothers.
I am eternally grateful for every moment He allowed us to share.

To anyone who grieves, I offer you my deepest condolences.
I know how you feel.
But, more than I know, Jesus knows.
He was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
I encourage you to turn to Him...in those heart-wrenching moments that are flooded with anguish...
those times when you feel you will succumb to the pain....
call on Him.

He will be there every time.
He will hold you...and console you...and comfort you,
as no other can.
Trust me on this one.
I know.

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up."
Psalm 27:10

"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you..."
Isaiah 66:13

"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him."
Psalm 103:13

Happy Birthday, dear, precious Mom!
You meant more to us than we could ever put into words,
and we all miss you more than you will ever know.



8 comments:

  1. Ah, Cheryl! I weep with you today...it's been 6 years - or has it been 7? - since I buried my mother. I still cry remembering her and missing her. Guess I always will.

    I didn't have the opportunity for sweet last words, or to know for sure if I will meet her one day again, though God knows I've tried to help her understand grace. But God has comforted my heart, and allowed me to just leave it rest with Him.

    It doesn't matter how old you are, you still need a mother.

    God give you special blessings and hugs today, my friend!

    Lisa
    www.thecourageousjourney.com

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    1. Oh, dear Lisa! Thank you so much for stopping by...we can surely empathize with one another having both walked through this vale of tears! Bless your dear heart! I am so sorry for the sorrow you have endured. You are so right...no matter how old we are, we need and long for our mother. I am so very thankful for your kind words, and I pray that God will bless you and comfort your heart in those moments of grief. Love to you, Cheryl

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  2. To my dear, precious sister! What a precious blog about our loving Mother! We miss her, too! The grief still gets overwhelming at times, but God is so faithful to gird us and comfort us> My heart truly goes out to anyone who has lost one or both Parents. While it may make you feel like an adult orphan, rest assured we have a "heavenly Father" who will sustain us through, and someday carry us to heaven to be reunited with our earthly parents, if we remain faithful! Praise God for that comforting thought! Love you more then you know!

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    1. My dear, sweet sister! How I thank God that I still have you and our other siblings to comfort and share the sorrow! you are beyond precious to me, and I appreciate you so much. Yes, thank the dear Lord, even though we have lost our earthly parents, our dear Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. I love you more than you will ever know! So happy you stopped by.

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  3. Dear Cheryl - thank you for your brave heart! Your sharing and love and your deeply moving tribute to your mom is something we all can appreciate, whether or not our parents are here in this world or the next. Seeing Dad standing with your Mom (and the rest of the family) is a reminder that, ultimately, we all stand together regardless. I know that as I try every day to make sure my mom is cared for and knows that she is loved as she faces her constant health struggles and wonders if she will ever walk again -- or live independently again -- I try my very best to offer her the most comfort and reassurance that I am here for her and that she has our prayers. It is so hard to watch your parent's health deteriorate before your eyes, someone who has loved and cared for you your entire life. But they've taught us that example, that being strong isn't just physical, but spiritual and mental as well. We can do it -- with the strength of Christ, and those who support us. God Bless You, and thank you for sharing your journey. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your dear mother sees everything you are feeling and going through, and that she is praying for you and rooting for you even as she watches everything from a unique vantage point :-). Don't ever doubt that she is aware of your trials as well as your love for her. She knows you miss her -- and I believe that she is right beside you as you talk out loud to her sometimes. Our loved ones are never really gone. Not as long as they live in our hearts.

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    1. Dear, precious Julie! Thank you so much for these sweet comments! I think of you so often as you are walking this same path with your dear Mother. I know God looks down upon you with smiles as He sees the daily sacrifices you make. It is SO hard when it comes time to reverse roles...as you said, when the one who has loved and cared for you your entire life becomes the one YOU are caring for and helping to stand. Thank you so much for your encouragement and the sweet consolation that Mom is with me still. I needed to hear all of this today, and I appreciate your words more than I could ever say. God bless you as you walk this walk every day, and I trust He will restore your Mom's health. Give her a hug for me. Love you, Cheryl

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  4. This is so sweet, Cheryl. How we all long for seeing those we love again, but the memories are precious. Thank you for sharing with us. Love, Debby

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    1. Thank you, dear, sweet friend! It was so great to see that you stopped by today! I hope all is well with you and today has been one of your better days. Yes, the memories are so very precious, and they sustain us on the more difficult days, along with God's amazing comfort. Love, Cheryl

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