11 Years. It seems like yesterday, yet it seems like a lifetime ago. This year is especially rattling for me, as it happened on the exact same day of the week. I find myself reliving everything. I remember every single detail about the week leading up to it...what we ate, what we wore, what we watched on TV, who visited the house, etc. I had taken some time off of work because I knew the end was in sight. I stayed at my parent's house desperately praying that a miracle would come. I remember trying to act so positive, so upbeat as I watched her grow more and more weak. I remember trying to hold it together for my dad, my grandma, and my brothers. I remember absolutely crumbling after my mom cried to me that she was so sad to be leaving us- she was never angry, just sad. I remember trying to console my granny- my mom's mom- as she watched her daughter prepare for the inevitable. I remember the sunny Monday when hospice said it was time for her to go to the hospital for good. I remember her telling her beloved puppy goodbye. I remember the doctors saying she would be gone by Monday night...then Tuesday night... then Wednesday night...I remember not leaving that hospital until I left without her - with my dad, in the wee hours of Thursday morning. I remember what I wore. I remember the little bits I ate while staying at the hospital. I remember wiping her face with a cool rag when she became restless. I remember who visited. I remember making funeral arrangements in the middle of that very night instead of going to bed. I remember it all. Everything.
In the 11 years since her death, I have constantly tried to learn from it, from her. The book that she left me is my most treasured possession and a constant source of strength and life lessons. Number 79 in the book is strong- when I think back, I kept praying that "thy will be done" and for "thy will" to be for her to get miraculously better. I was so angry when she didn't. I couldn't understand why my prayers weren't answered. I had a hard time coming to terms with how God could take away my 50 year old beautiful, usually healthy mother from me. She didn't get to see her youngest son get married, she didn't get to meet any of her grandchildren, she didn't get to travel like she wanted to, she didn't even get to retire on her own time. Why on earth would God not have listened to what I thought "thy will" should be!?
|Our last Christmas together|
|So grateful she was there for my wedding, even with low blood counts in between treatments.|
I wish she was here everyday of my life, but I have come to accept that what I was praying for was not what the ultimate will for her was. I know that she is still here with us, every minute of every day. I know that she sees every basketball game, every cartwheel, every snuggle. I know that my kids have an extra special guardian angel. As difficult as it has been to accept, I know that God's will for her was much greater than anything here on Earth.
|My all-time favorite picture- I love the light shining down on my kids.|
I still pray the "Our Father" all of the time. I now try to pray not for just what I want, but for what God's will really is for the situation and for each day. I take strength in the fact that no matter what, God always has a master plan and reason. To this day, I still try to use my experience with my mom to help others. She always said that if what she went through could help one single person, then it was meaningful. I like to think that her courage, strength, and faith still inspire others. When I run into people that knew her, hear from students of hers, talk with friends of hers, I am reminded that God's will for her on earth still carries on. She impacted so many in her 50 short years and there is no greater honor than when people tell me I remind them of her.
|One of my favorite pictures of my mom and my little brother at my older brother's wedding...such pure joy on her face.|