My intention today was to blog more on values-based time management. However, in keeping with the theme of giving ourselves grace when needed, today I am recycling a post from a blog I used to host at MomEncouragement.com.
Yesterday marked 13 years since my mom passed. 13 years since Lewy Body Dementia took her at the young age of 64. Additional events happened yesterday that have left me even more of an emotional wreck. So today, I invite you to journey with me through Mom: A Life Well Loved:
Floaties on my arms, to keep me safe in the creek.
Layers of clothing, to keep me warm against the winter chill of awaiting the big yellow bus.
The memory of her rubbing my legs at night when the painful growth spurts hit.
A scoop of ice cream in my morning bowl of cereal, an extra special treat.
The look on her face when my balloon slipped away, as if she was determined to retrieve it so my heart wouldn’t break.
The open arms I took for granted so many times, always there and always open.
The wisdom, love and kindness she exhibited to everyone. She never knew a stranger, especially in the grocery store!
How I wish I could go back, knowing motherhood myself now, and see her memories from her perspective as a mom. To hear her thoughts, her wishes for our future. To know the pain, hope and fear she experienced as she watched us flail through our childhood and adolescence. To have her perspective after I transitioned to adulthood with my own teenagers and hear her say, "It will be okay."
Last week marked the 9th year since mom’s passing. A day that would forever change my life and that of so many others, more than our family ever imagined.
We held her memorial in the spring. By then word of her death had spread, but little did we know the extent of her loving reach to others. We were in awe of the amount of people who showed up, many we didn’t even know, to pay their respects for the woman who left an indelible mark on their lives.
Where did all these people come from?
When did she have time to reach so many people?
She had a factory job and worked hard. She suffered from horrible migraines that would stop her in her tracks. She was a dedicated friend, daughter, sister, wife and mom, raising three children, including twins! She was adamant that we ate well and her home-cooked meals usually reflected a variety of nutritional colors. And our clothes were always ironed!
Sorry mom, I didn't inherit your green thumb or your penchant for ironed blue jeans.
I remember when we got the extra long phone cord, later the cordless phone, and then, as an adult myself, offering to get her a headset to sync with her phone. She was often on the phone while preparing meals and cleaning house. In those years it didn’t dawn on me that she was changing lives in those conversations.
I recall, in my young adulthood, when I visited her at work during her breaks. I would walk in and ask if she was on break yet, and at the mention of her name faces would brighten, people would stand a little taller, and whoever I asked would enthusiastically go find her.
I've been trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up, now that my kids are older and transitioning into adulthood.
I think I’ve figured it out...
Much to the shock of my teenage self, I want to be more like my mom.
I wish I could go back to those years and stop myself from railing at her so much. From yelling, from saying spiteful words I can never take back. I know it's a normal part of teenage development, but I sure wish she could be here for me to call when my own teens are struggling, to hear, "It will be okay, after all, I survived you didn't I?"
Thankfully, I came to my senses in my 20’s and asked her forgiveness. From there we developed a relationship that was above and beyond even the precious bond of mother and daughter.
We became best friends.
Turns out my passion for encouraging others to find joy in life is a natural result of having grown up witnessing my mom be an encourager. While I may not have realized it at the time, she made a profound impact on those around her, simply by living a life of love.
She helped people find love, joy and contentment in the midst of life's chaos.
A call here and there. A smile to someone in the store. An inquiry into her co-worker’s day.
Wow. Simple, yet profound.
Thank you mom, for embodying Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV), 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
What if we walk away from some of our high expectations for everyone else and simply love each other?
What if we walk away from some of our daily distractions to make time to simply love each other?
How can you make an adjustment today to add one simple act of love toward someone in your life?
Simple, yet profound, and not only life changing, but life giving for the giver and receiver.
Thank you mom. You live on in the hearts of everyone who was touched by your life on this side of Heaven. May you live eternally in us as we endeavor to pay it forward and make the world a better place, one act of loving kindness at a time.