Saturday, August 24, 2013

Her beautiful spirit...

So this is grief... frequent flashbacks. Memories. Sweet memories. Thinking back over the last few years, the last few weeks, her precious last few days. Sensing an emptiness left void, one that only her presence can fill. Worrying about those who miss her most, wondering if they will be okay. I always knew she was special; I just had no idea how much other people treasured her. I didn't realize the impact she made in their lives.

Loved ones came to visit her as she lay in her hospital bed. She was too weak to open her eyes. She was too weak to speak. Yet somehow, she mustered up the strength to smile. People whispered sweet things in her ear. A few even told her they came to know Christ because of her. Oh how precious that they came to see her, to tell her these treasures in her last few days. Oh how precious that we (her children) could witness such beauty.

I believe God began healing her of each of her afflictions as she lay in her bed. She was wearing a hospital gown, & she slept more peacefully than we had ever known. At times, I felt as though she was enjoying our company & holding on for just one more moment. I don't think she wanted to leave us, but then again... she had such peace. Maybe she just knew she had an eternity to live in Heaven, & a  few more days on earth, a few more hours, or even moments were worth her tarry.

As each day passed, we realized that God is God, & we are not. The Lord gives, & the Lord takes. Yet, strangely enough, it seems (in some cases), He allows people to hang on for the arrival of one last precious family member. We were told that some like to give up their spirit privately. They might be a little shy. Others go peacefully when their family members are present. We were grateful she wasn't suffering. Her peace surpassed our understanding.

So... we kept her company. We sang her hymns. We played her favorite music. We prayed. We shared scripture. We told her favorite jokes. We held her hand. We kissed her. Lots of memories were recounted. It was a cherished time, a time more precious than words can describe. She amazed us right up to her very last breath. Now she is fully healed. No more suffering. No more tears. As she abides in Heaven, we carry on... knowing how blessed we are to have been touched by her beautiful spirit.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Life Well Lived...

"It's better to wear out than rust out." This old adage was something my mama passed down to me. Her Aunt Hallie passed it down to her. Without a doubt, each of them lived out this truth. Today, we gather to celebrate the life of someone especially dear to my heart, my mother. I don't think I will ever understand why God chose her for me or me for her. I can only be thankful.

Sadly, many children in today's culture are jipped of their childhood. My mom gave me a childhood. I got to be a little girl with dresses, dolls, hula hoops, & a jumprope. I got to have friends over to play. If my classmates hurt my feelings, I always knew my mama would care. She would comfort me.

In my childhood years, my mom was known for her hospitality. She would welcome guests with a cookie or 2 when they stopped by to visit. It didn't matter if they called ahead or just came by. She had a passion for music & a love for painting. She was an outdoor kind of girl. She wasn't into fine dining but thought an ice-cream cone was a special treat.

She loved the Lake. Oh how she loved the Lake! Christmas lights never failed to bring delight. A funnel cake at the carnival wasn't bad either. I could always count on her to be nice to my friends. She never embarrassed me (even when I deserved it). A few months ago, I asked her what was the best thing she ever did with her life. She responded with ease... playing the piano for her church. She even played the piano at the early morning chapel service at First United Methodist and was a dedicated member of the bell choir. She and Everett were married in that little chapel. Their grandchildren were their wedding party.

My mom leaves a legacy I can only aspire to emulate. Each of her grandchildren held a special place in her heart, & now, she... in their's. A few weeks ago, with tears in her eyes (wrought with emotion), she met her great grand baby. Yes, she even held him. The playful spirit of my mom will live on for generations to come. First with her children, & secondly, with her beloved grandchildren. Many of her genes are showing up in them as they walk through this journey called life. Her spontaneity, her kindness, her unconditional love, her passion for music, her artistic talents, her funny sense of humor, & her love for the outdoors will long be remembered with great fondness. Her legacy will carry on through her adoring grandchildren.