In a week we will have a memorial service for my mom. I wrote the following in the wee hours of the first night after learning of her death. The thoughts are random and certainly reflect my state of grief. I share with you so that you too might think of your loved ones. Whether they are alive or not, it is good to reflect on the qualities of those we love. I would encourage you to write out that reflection and what that person means (meant) to you. If you are fortunate to have your loved one still alive, I would encourage you to send him/her a note telling them. We never know what tomorrow will bring.
I am awakened in the early hours of Easter. I cannot sleep. This afternoon I received the call that my mother had died. I know that I am still in shock. Yet I know that the best way for me to honor and remember her is through words.
My mom loved words. She loved a well turned phrase. She loved books. She was a veracious reader. In the years she and my dad lived at a retirement center, she was an active part in the community library, reading every book that was purchased or donated to the facility before she placed on the shelf. One of my earliest childhood memories is of her reading the Children's Illustrated Bible to me at bedtime. I can still hear her voice telling the story of Jesus' birth, David and Goliath or Joseph and his brothers.
Mom loved Jesus. She loved stories and words that told of Him and His love for mankind. Words were her way to impart God's love to others. She was the queen of sending a note of encouragement or a card or remembrance for a birthday or anniversary.
Mom loved music especially hymns. She played the piano from an early age and her maternal grandfather, a Presbyterian minister, would have her play hymns. "Keep up girlie," he would say to her if he felt she was dragging the hymn tempo on a hymn that he thought (and it seemed that he thought most) should move along.
She had a way of making the music speak to the tenure of the worship service. That music was to be used as another expression of God's love. Whether in church through her role as organist/choir director or through her teaching as an elementary music education, she would explain to the congregation or audience the meaning of the words and how they connected to one's life or situation. Long before it was part of the educational curriculum she would tie the songs, folksongs to whatever the children were learning in the classroom. She imparted the idea of looking at things broadly- get the bigger picture and interconnectedness of life.
She believed without a shadow of doubt that Christ was the son of God and that He came to earth with the sole purpose to rescue us and bring us back into community with God. He was sent to bridge the gap of separation with God. Our original sin, when we disobeyed God, placed us with a chasm between being in absolute communion with God. Christ came to be the sacrificial one, to once and for all bridge the gap so that we might have eternal community with God.
I believe without a shadow of doubt that she is with her God and Savior. She is also in the community of the saints who went before her. She has reunited with her mom, dad, aunts, uncles, dear friends and her grandfather.
My mom was passionate about life and about certain things. Whatever she became involved with, she did so with gusto. When my one sister and her family were missionaries in Africa, my mom sent them regular care packages. They were not for their personal use, but because mom had heard that the clinic where my sister worked did not have any linens, she would send boxes upon boxes of sheets that she found on sale or at estate sales. She could've filled a container ship with the amount of boxes she sent.
There is a hole and ache in my heart that I do not have her here physically with me. I knew this day would come but no one is really prepared for it. I do believe that I too will see her one day when the temporal world in which I live is replaced for the eternal one with God. For now I can only wish that I impart and encourage others like she did through my words.
I was blessed to have such a loving mom. She was not a famous, wealthy or powerful person but she was influential on her family and in her small circle of friends. She will be missed.