This past few years have brought a myriad of losses, trials and triumphs. There have been a gamut of emotions – from extreme to extreme. My daughter moving out, my son graduating, my cancer diagnosis, my miraculous healing and holistic health journey, and now the loss of my mama. From heartbreak to fear, celebration to sadness… through it all, I have a constant guiding presence that keeps my ship on course. The pain is real, but my faith is stronger. There’s no way I can explain joy in great sorrow… it’s just a thing that the Lord does… a magical thing that steadies a soul.
In May – just a few short days ago, I said goodbye to my biggest fan – my sweet mama. She was an ever-present light in our lives, always visiting us, every week; helping us in every small endeavor. She wasn’t above washing dishes, spending her last dime on us, babysitting at a moment’s notice, driving on trips, or telling us what she thought when we weren’t up to much good. She was a good listener, and selfless with her attention and time. She often left her own life on hold just to sneak in a few more moments with her grandkids.
We buried her a few days ago behind her mama. We wrote our last notes on the box we put her in, and left a magnolia flower on the spot where she rests. Now we wait for her stone to be placed.
Something I do know? I have to keep counting the blessings and watching to see Him in the small details. I have to keep keeping on. Mama would say that I need to find the boys a good piano teacher who loves music as much as she did.
Here are a few blessings I’ve been counting since she’s gotten her wings:
1. It was me and her against the world and she already won. I plan to be victorious in my own time, too. Thanks to Jesus, I’ll get to celebrate with her later.
2. Dust and ashes are just art materials for my God… not an ending to anything.
3. She is hidden in every memory and everywhere I look.
4. Part of her lives on in me. I always know what she would say in any circumstance because she spent so much time talking to me every day.
5. She’s beyond the grip of pain, sadness, toil, sickness, or loneliness.
I can’t imagine spending holidays without her. I’ve been thinking of things I wish I had said or asked her every day since she’s been gone. I’m going to miss her sweet texts and how she was always there for me like no one else in the world. I told Jesus He was just going to have to be my mama for me from here on out, until I see her again.
It’s easy to feel relief for her, though… she had a hard life and a lot of stress. Her back hurt, she struggled with type 1 Diabetes since she was in her 20’s, and for the past few months, she was in a lot of pain and so tired. I can’t wait to throw away all those insulin needles. I’m glad she can’t hurt any more and she can finally rest without insomnia and leg cramps or blood sugar episodes. She’s finally free. Finally at peace.
This photo was taken on our last Mother’s Day adventure together – she went with me to my last photography job at the Texas Homeschool Coalition Convention in Arlington. I took this photo of her and the boys:
I put this poem on her program for the memorial service. It rings true…
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found His peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free.
Crying….you have such a gift with words, sweet Heather! How proud she is of you as she smiles down on you with Jesus by her side. Love and hugs to you my friend. You are a precious gift!!!
Your mama loved you. She ‘s still loving you and will always be with you – and she’s proud of you too. What a wonderful tribute you are to her memory!
Stacy Courtney says
Heather, you are the most eloquent writer. What a special blessing to have had such a sweet relationship with your mama. So thankful that your faith is strong and Jesus is great enough to carry you through. I love you, sweet friend.
She liked you a lot. Thanks for your encouragement. Diabetes sucks rocks.
I’m so sorry for your loss, but I am rejoicing with you in that your mother is free and that you will meet again!
Heather, I’m so sorry that you lost your mom. There are really no words, except that I lost my dad and step-mom over the past few years and you’re right…..God somehow sustains you with his love and comfort.
I can tell you that the grief will ebb and flow and so will the tears. On days when you least expect it, they will come and then other days, you will surprise yourself at how “ok” you are.
But it all takes time.
I pray that the peace will continue to wrap it’s arms around you, even on the hard days.
There are no words in me with which to express the sadness in my heart after learning about the death of your Mom, my sweet Shannie. The poem you have posted above has provided a great deal of relief, as I feel that those words are actually being spoken by her. I know that’s how she feels about all of the people she has left behind. The Lord was kind in giving me the cushion of exactly one month to the day to discover her fate, .I was really worried about her, but I will worry no more, knowing she’s in the good hands of sweet Jesus. Punkin Jones, one of my cats, and Shan’s beloved friend, still waits each evening by the end of the driveway for her next visit. My heart also goes out to Ollie, Lucky, Lokey, and Booty, her sweet cats. God bless all of you who share my grief over her loss!