After weeks of trying, it’s time to write this post which has so eluded me. As someone who loves challenges, it’s been surprising to see myself so stuck. Yet at this chasm is something that’s still raw & hard to think about …but I can’t move forward with showing you the beautiful weddings I’ve been so honored to be a part of or new things in my life without first honoring the life of my incredible Mom. So while it comes with tears, I choose to push in.
My sweet Mom went to be with Jesus this past November after a long, courageous battle with cancer. I still can’t believe those words…they make my stomach churn and my throat ache to hold back tears. Somehow it seems that she’s on an extended trip or vacation when I’m suddenly hit w the truth of reality which takes my breath and reminds me it’s real.
I miss her like crazy. I knew I would….she was too amazing not to and one of the most treasured parts of my life since my first breath. As you who have lost loved ones know, even when you suspect it may be coming, there is just no way to prepare. So here we are… a day at time navigating what this new normal looks like. In the meantime, I just wanted to share publicly what an INCREDIBLE Mom I was blessed to have. I can’t wait to see her again. When I tried to write about all she has meant to me, what came out was a letter to her….so here it is….
My sweet Momma,
Words will never be enough to describe all you have meant to me and the incredible role that you have played in my life.
As I sit here tonight with a heart longing so intently to see you again…to feel your warm embrace…and to hear your sweet laugh, I just can’t help but think….how did I get so blessed?
I’ve always known that you were something special, but oh how that feeling has grown as I watched you day in and day out not only live the love of Christ, but let it pour out of you even in the hardest of moments.
Thank you Mom for all that you were. Thank you for your incredibly warm spirit that has been the sunshine of my life and touched so many others as you made all who encounter you feel so loved and at rest. I hope you know how immensely you were loved…it’s something I’ve heard countless times this since you went to heaven. And your patience. My goodness…it seemed like an unending well as you were able to bear so much so well (even my purposefully off key car singing -which we both know deep down, you love 😉
You had such a zeal and joy for life and adventure and yet it makes me so proud to say that you did not require any of it to be happy. In fact, you found joy in the simplest of moments and truly lived Paul’s words of being content in all things. I remember so many times asking you what you wanted for your birthday or what you wanted to do and your reply being “I don’t need anything or to do anything in particular, I just enjoy spending time with you”.
You have been my most trusted confidant, my greatest cheerleader and most importantly, you have taught me to always lean on the Lord as my foundation (still a work in progress). I could come to you with anything and I knew that you would give me the benefit of the doubt and gently nudge me towards what is right (which usually included more patience, and putting other’s first – A trait which you excelled at so beautifully!) And yet, when I struggled with doing what is best or right, you gave me so much grace…just loving and accepting me while I worked it out in my own time. You were such a safe, beautiful haven. Gosh how I miss it! Gentleness, forgiveness, generosity, and bearing with others in love were your cornerstones. How you maintained these so consistently leaves me in awe and is something I’ll always be striving to learn from and make you proud.
You were also one of my best friends. Whether traveling to new places, watching cheesy hallmark movies, working on a house project *our favorite* or just running errands, I so loved being in your presence and the deep impenetrable bond we shared. I always knew I was safe and at home with you. Because of that and so much more, you were always one of my greatest treasures…but in the last few years you have also become my hero.
I stand here at the end of a really long battle and I just feel completely overwhelmed with pride. I can’t believe I get to call you my Mom.
– If you guys could only know the depths of difficulty that she faced, and yet I can’t think of a single time I heard her complain…or say “this isn’t fair”. Instead, in those moments of her pain when I would get upset for her suffering, she often would comfort me saying “it will get better”. She fought like you can’t imagine…bravely facing so many tough roads and yet never wavering in her faith. I watched her day after day pick up her cross with courage and determination and fight. And as you might imagine, that fight was coated in sweetness and no matter where we she was at…from doctor’s appointments, to IV room’s to days in the hospital she loved on so many caregivers along the way. She always wanted to call them by name and let them know they were deeply appreciated. I’m just SO proud of you Mom! I will always be in awe of your strength and even now already find myself so often thinking….how would Mom handle this? Thank you for teaching me by being a living example of so much that I hope to one day be as well. I won’t ever be able to express how deeply I love you and I know that I will miss you everyday until we meet again at the Golden Gates and dance together with our Savior.
And finally, I can’t leave this without saying how incredibly grateful I am of those who were God’s hands and feet in our lives during such a difficult time. First, to the incredible doctors, nurses, etc who treated my Mom. Darren, The team at Progressive, Dr Ketterl, Dr Kyle, Dr Melissa, the team at MD Anderson, and so many others who have given everything they could to lift Mom up. There is no doubt we had more time with her and a better quality of life because of it and I am so thankful for every extra second we had.
And to my family and friends who have tregged through this wilderness with us…you are my heart. I could never express what you have meant to me and to Mom. You were a lifeline, a breath of fresh air, a place of peace, and a reminder of hope when we needed it most. I only hope that I can one day do the same for you. I love you and will be forever grateful.
Most of all, thank you Jesus. Our Savior…the hope of the world. Life is hard, messy, painful, unpredictable & can feel impossible at times. And yet what’s beyond comprehension is that it’s also joyful & beautiful….sprinkled with love & laughter, forgiveness, redemption, adventure & growth. How is that? Because God. He made us and gave us countless beautiful touches in creation that speak of Him and remind us that we are His and that this world is not our home….the one ahead is so much greater! So even in our worst most unimaginable moments we have a God who IS our hope. He catches every tear. He breathes new life and promises to use all things for good and to make all things new. This has become more real to me than I could ever tell you as I grieve – & trust me, not always healthily. Yet the strength he’s given me is incomprehensible and I can already feel his grace and love holding and shaping me through this. He IS good…even in the hard times.
I leave you with this sweet song by Ed Sheeran song that I love which says “You were an Angel in the shape of my Mom”. Oh how true that is.
“Mom, there’s a tear every time that I blink
Oh I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up, but I know
A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved
So I’ll sing Hallelujah
You were an angel in the shape of my mum
When I fell down you’d be there holding me up
Spread your wings as you go
And when God takes you back we’ll say Hallelujah