As I process grief, I wanted to share some thoughts that I had regarding my mom who passed away recently. A stroke destroyed much of her brain giving her little chance for survival 2 weeks ago Tuesday. From that point to now, my life has felt like a blur and as though I was stuck in time all at once. My thoughts have swirled as I have had tough times eating, sleeping and even thinking…
I want the next few posts to share some ideas of hope, celebration and honor to the legacy my mom left to me. Let me start with retelling some of what I briefly shared at the memorial service this week.
I remember when my parents came to visit me at Bible College my freshmen year. After introducing my parents, one of my professors replied that my life was a great commentary on their parenting. I thought wow, but how much can he know me as it was only my freshman year.
In that I see how every life has a story to tell, and every story gets told through the lives of those around that person.
For me one life motto that sticks in my heart from my mom is, “get back on the horse”. My mom exemplified this characteristic and showed me how to literally get back up on the horse after getting thrown off of her horse when I was a young teenager. She also demonstrated for me the ability to get up after life knocks you down. My mom had more than her fair share of life knocking her down. We often don’t understand the Biblical idea of suffering and view it as punishment. My mom suffered and kept going throughout her entire life.
I came into the picture smack dab in the middle of much suffering as I was the fifth child of seven. My older sister died as an infant with a heart defect while my other older sister, Angela, came down with severe brain damage as an infant and lived to be six. She couldn’t do anything on her own, so when I was born my parents rejoiced over everything I did. They imprinted on me how amazing every move I made was. It didn’t matter what…even if I peed on the ceiling as a baby during diaper changing; my mom thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world. I was a great baby in their eyes.
I learned to love life, and at the age of two, as the story goes, I would wake up in the little camper as we I joined my parents on a retreat. I woke up early in the morning (I guess I used to do that back in those days). I would wake up with a big dose of optimism for the day, open the curtains near my bed, look outside to the world before me and enthusiastically say, “Hello, world!”
I loved life and saw my mom bounce back from devastation after devastation over her lifetime. Things seemingly rarely went according to plan, but she always kept pressing forward in her faith and in her life.
So when I was a teenager and began losing my sight, I already learned that obstacles get overcome. Life’s problems don’t keep us down, but we get up and keep riding that horse. My brother who went through similar trials in losing his sight gave me a practical example for this obstacle, but my mom imprinted on my life the attitude to overcome anything.
My mom was an incredibly Godly woman who will be greatly missed.