Today would have been my mother’s seventy-first birthday; instead this Christmas will mark the second year of her passing.
Your gut reaction is to give me sympathy. That isn’t necessary. I’ve moved well beyond the need for comfort. Besides, I know where my mother is, and one day I’ll see her again.
This may sound strange, but of all the memories I have of my mother that last Christmas will always be the most vivid and most precious.
In late summer of 2010 Mom was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. It had already spread to at least her liver, so she didn’t have much time left. Everything became surreal. I had just started homeschooling Buttercup, and suddenly was faced with another life altering situation. Needless to say that first year of homeschooling was more than a learning curve for Buttercup and me—especially since Buttercup was about to lose the best friend she had in the world.
Living five hours from my parents spared me the visual decline of my mother, but as we spoke almost daily and I could hear it in her voice. One thing she never let any of us know what the amount of pain she actually suffered. This was verified by the doctor many months after her passing.
God prepared me that 2010 would be the last birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas would spend with her. In His infinite wisdom, He worked our schedules to be able to make monthly trips to see her. Each time, more of the matriarchal duties were passed to me, as well as her specific wishes for certain beloved items, or my decision if I wanted a particular family heirloom.
So many decisions and details with so little time.
Our Christmas visit started on December 17. While packing I debated on adding dress clothes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to place them in the suitcase. A choice I would later regret.
We celebrated Christmas and Buttercup’s birthday (as tradition) early—the weekend before. By Sunday afternoon, our festivities were over and some family was scheduled to begin the long trek home to Alaska. My mother’s body could do no more. That afternoon she was put in the hospital in ICU.
Monday was pretty special in itself. I spent the morning hovering over my mother—watching over her much the way she watched and cared for me as a child. In fact the ICU nurses chided me for being in the unit so long. Personally, I didn’t care. I knew there wasn’t much time. One of the last things I did with her was pray. I held her hands—the ones that look so much like mine—and prayed that God take her pain.
I released her to Him.
I know she did the same for herself.
After the prayer, she was taken for test, and I appeased the nurses and by moving to the waiting room. When she returned, she looked good, was in good spirits. Told me she was going to take a nap. So I left the hospital for a while.
By 7:00 pm—with family surrounding her—she went to be with her Lord.
As of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother, so in honor of her, I wanted to take this week to honor all mothers. My mother never homeschooled me, but she made sure I was educated. She sacrificed for my college education. She battled for me when no one else would. She cheered for me when no one else cheered. She would love this blog and feel both unworthy and honored over this post. I wanted to take a week to allow those living to honor their mothers’.
So this week will be filled with surprises for many moms. I can’t go into details, but you need to check back daily to see what’s going
Surprise posts aren’t the only good things happening this week, of course I have giveaways. My good friends at Tyndale graciously supplied me with several copies of Ann Spangler’s new The One Year Devotions for Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace. Bright Ideas Press has blessed this blog with a copy of WonderMaps. This is a mapping program every homeschool mom needs, and will soon discover she can’t live without. Media Angels is sharing an expo ticket for the upcoming Fall/Christmas event. As the week goes on, you’ll learn more about these wonderful prizes. If you want to be registered for all the prizes, just leave a comment on any post.
Feel free to leave a tribute to your mom or grandmom.