“When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child, I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself.” -Nancy Friday "
A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary." -Dorothy Canfield Fisher
It was my honor and privilege to have spent the last twelve months of my mom’s life with her when she came to live with my family and me last May. Because she chose to live in the moment and trust God with her future, none of us really knew how sick she really was until the very end. Mom you taught us to live well. Mom, I watched you fight for your life over the last twelve months and instead of giving up or giving in to your circumstances you embraced them and made the most of them.
You made it clear from the moment you arrived until the day you died that you trusted God more then you trusted the diagnosis. I will never forgot the last doctors appointment when the conversation turned from your care to the doctors faith, your doctor wanted to know more about what you believed in and by the time we left you had her requesting for you to bring her a bible to your next visit, she wanted to know about this God you trusted and the Jesus you loved. It was amazing to watch the look on the doctor’s face as you shared with her all you did and all you had planned on doing. You pressed in and pressed on when many with your disease had chosen to just quit and give up.
Living in the moment and letting go so we could grow was a running theme in your life and only now looking back can we truly appreciate all that it cost you to let us go, the balancing act it took for you to not hold on to tightly or to let go too quickly of all six of your children. Mom, how many times did you hide your tears, as you slowly let us go, knowing that for us to grow you would have to let us go? You did not just do this once or twice but six times. Even in your final hours, it was easy to tell that you were still holding back so we could let go.
One of your greatest strengths was the way you allowed all of us kids to go through our struggles, you never tried to fix, rescue or save us from ourselves or our circumstances. I use to think that your silence meant you just didn’t care, but I could not have been more wrong. You sat patiently by waiting, watching and listening as we all continued to grow, some of us taking longer then others. We are the kind of adults we are today because you let us go so well. Mom, you were more concerned with listening then speaking and because of that, many people outside of our family would seek you out. Mom, you had the ability to create community wherever you went, you gave others a sense of belonging and I think that is why so many people adopted you as their mother, sister, and friend.
Mom, you taught us how to fold into the moment and press into the pause. Even before your disease, you were not one to rush. You took in every moment and enjoyed it to the fullest, what a gift you have given us, what a life lesson we will never forget. I will miss the early morning sunrises we use to share as we headed out to the farmers market, the evening chats in the sanctuary as we watched the sun go down and the afternoon chats on the front porch drinking our smoothies with the kids and just taking in the day.
Mom, one of my last and favorite memories of you at the house was when you came into the kitchen early one morning, shuffling along the floor, a sound I came to enjoy hearing in the house, we knew where you were by the sound of the shuffle and the lay out of your oxygen cord. This particular morning as you came into the kitchen you stopped me in my tracks, with out words you had me step into the moment and grabbed my face, bent my head down and planted a kiss on my forehead and said, “I love you” and then shuffled back to your room. I followed you like a little girl wanting to know what that was for and when I asked you looked me in the eyes and with that great big smile of yours and said “just because”. I left your room with the feeling that all was well with my soul at that very moment, not knowing that that was going to be one of our last moments in the home together.
Mom, even in the end you still lived so fully in the moment, I wish I had a video of the scene I saw as I walked into the E.R. the last Thursday night of your life, Dennis and Patrick celebrating mother’s day with you, you were completely engaged in the moment, a smile a mile long as the boys lifted your oxygen mask so you could enjoy some simple wine tasting, the balloon and card on your table spoke loudly that you were a women who celebrated life.
Mom, every nurse and every doctor in that I.C.U. had been touched by your presence. As the calls came in from Eileen and Michelle, and David arrived with his family, your eyes would tell us that you were entirely aware and that you were leading all six of us through the process of letting you go once again by helping us stay in the moment. Mom, you will be missed by your family and friends, your smile your laugh and the way you made the moments count. We will forever remember how you lived in story and made memories out of your moments and a legacy out of letting go.