my mommy went to Heaven.
I have learned that we are never old enough
to stop needing our parents.
And I have learned that we never stop missing our loved ones
and grieving their loss.
But that's not what this post is about.
This post is about the woman I grew up with
and the one who entered God's presence
just after midnight on March 28, 1981
and heard those wonderful words,
"Well done, good and faithful servant."
My mama was a unique woman.
She was incredibly shy and insecure.
She was brilliant.
She was fun and funny -
she loved playing practical jokes and was really good at them.
She had a beautiful voice.
She had a beautiful face.
She was compassionate and loving.
She was kind.
But she had that Irish temper and could be dangerous when provoked.
She loved her family passionately.
She was a nurse in the newborn nursery and she loved her babies.
She was gentle but when angry, she could make a sailor blush.
Like most of us, she was very complex.
My mom did not have an easy life.
She was a child in a single parent home,
the result of divorce,
in a time when that was shameful for the entire household.
Her marriage was a bitter disappointment.
At 34, she was diagnosed with cancer.
She spent the last nine years of her life having surgeries and chemotherapy.
Over the years, she had become understandably bitter and cynical.
She expected the worst from life and was not often surprised.
My mother was raised in church and,
in the early years of their marriage,
my parents were in ministry.
My mother spent years loving and serving God.
But the stress of her life took it's toll on her spiritually.
Her emotions and weariness began to take over
and she came to believe that she was a disappointment to God
and there was no point in trying any more.
She worked nights and slept days.
It was a convenient excuse to give up going to church.
And she settled into a sad and lonely existence.
Now, one would think that would have made her more bitter,
would have made her more distant from God.
Cancer changed her.
I believe it gave her the ability to allow herself
to become the woman God created her to be.
She lost her bitterness.
She became a woman of great forgiveness.
She became a new creature.
The last nearly nine years of her life were physically hard.
Facing death, the knowledge that she would not likely
get to finish raising all her children was emotionally difficult.
But she thrived spiritually.
She began to trust God.
She trusted Him to take care of her children.
She trusted Him to take care of her mom and family.
She trusted Him to take care of her friends.
And she finally, finally began to trust that He loved her,
just as she was.
My mother and I are emotionally similar.
And God has taken us on a similar journey spiritually.
He has chosen a different learning tool for me.
But I am learning.
Thanks, Mama, for being a good example!
I miss you!