It's too late, again, and I really should be wrapping up a couple other things that need to be done before tomorrow. But it's hard not to get sidetracked.
Tomorrow my siblings and I will say our last goodbye to Mom.
The previous week was rough; she fell and broke her hip—the beginning of the end, really. We kids sat with her around the clock, until Sunday night, when she breathed her last and slipped into the presence of Jesus, her Saviour and Lord. The combination of grief and relief can create a somewhat overwhelming emotion.
Eight years ago, we celebrated Mom's 80th birthday with a party. Other than my parents' 25th wedding anniversary, I think it's the only time she's been honoured in that way. But tomorrow we will honour her once again, sharing the most cherished facets of who she was to us.
I'm going to share the tribute I wrote for Mom 8 year ago. Or maybe I'll just share it now.
(February 2, 2011)
Mom, you’ve taught me so much….
You taught me how to play dolls—really play dolls.
In fact, you taught me how to play in general; and you taught by example! Remember Family Court? And exercising in front of the TV with Ed Allen? You’ve always enjoyed a good belly laugh, and you taught me how to laugh until the tears came.
You always made time for walks to the creek, and singing on the old swing—those are wonderful memories. I think I’ve done pretty well at putting chores aside at times to play with my own kids, and I think that I learned that from you.
You taught me how to butcher chickens, and how to enjoy doing it. I loved those times working with you for hours on end—gutting 25 chickens each, and then spending the whole night in the barn canning the old birds to deem them edible. You taught me to be frugal and to make the most of what I have, passing on that absolute pleasure that comes with filled jars lined up on the cellar shelf.
And you taught me how to really look for something that was absolutely lost. I would misplace something, and you searched what I thought were the most “ridiculous places”—but 9 times out of 10 you would find it!
Dad always loved to play table games with us kids, but you preferred to sit close by with your knitting needles, or even playing your own game of solitaire. And from this I learned that it doesn’t matter that we’re not all doing the same thing, but that we’re close—just enjoying being together in the same room.
Remember that time Dan tricked you into playing a game with us? He said we were going home if Mom didn’t play. It only worked that one time, though :-)
And you taught me how to enjoy crazy-long road trips—the kind that last too long and has everyone out of sorts by the end. I know that those trips weren’t usually a treat for you—trying to keep everyone fed, passing out the tuna sandwiches and the non-travel-type mugs; and encouraging us to try and sleep for a bit when what we really needed to do was pee. Dad wouldn’t stop between gas fills, but the pop he bought us at the last station processed a lot more quickly than the gas in the tank! Oh, but you worked so hard to make it fun for us, and those trips have become part of my portfolio of wonderful childhood memories.
But probably the most important thing you’ve taught me, Mom, is how to pray—how to take everything to Jesus, big or not so big. You knelt by my bedside when I was little, and you didn’t pray a sweet little good-night prayer, but a prayer that came from deep inside; a sincere prayer that touched my heart and made me know that you were not talking to me, but to Jesus.
You have influenced my life in so many good ways, Mom, and I want to say “Thank you!”—Thank you for the lessons, thank you for the love, thank you for the memories!
I love you so much!