On Tuesday, November 5, 2019 my mother went home to be with the Lord. I can not even begin to tell you how lost I feel. Devastation? I don’t think that is what I feel. I can tell you that when the call came, I was not prepared. I had rehearsed it a thousand times in my mind, but to play it out in real life was so much more than I ever expected.
I can tell you that I’m so thankful for the support that God put in place for me during this time. My family and friends are so amazing and stepped up without hesitation. What’s even more amazing is the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us that when He would send a Comforter (John 14:16, 18 and 16:7). Even as I write this, I’m struggling with being an orphan….an adult orphan. John 14:18 just reminded me, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” (ESV)
Grief is a process and I’m just beginning this journey of grieving and healing. One thing I find comfort in is writing and expressing my feelings without anyone trying to put a band-aid on them. I, along with my sister, not only had the honor of celebrating my mother’s life during her homegoing service, but I was given the honor of eulogizing my mother. I had written this love letter to Mother in 2012 for Mother’s Day. This is what I shared at the service and want to share it with you. I hope you will be blessed as much as it blesses me.
“My Mother’s Love Never Fails”
All the gifts, cards, and words can never express how grateful I am to you for being my mother. You are unique and special in every way that God created you. Over time, I have come to the realization that God’s love never fails, and neither does my mother’s love. Even as I write this I think about all the special things you did for me.
I remember when I climbed up on top of our glass coffee table for the umpteenth time, after you repeatedly told me “Angie, get off of that table!” I stood there with my sweater draped around my shoulders, playing Superman and diving over Janet as she lay napping on the couch. As I prepared for my final descent, and before I could leap from table, the glass beneath my bare feet shattered. There I stood in a pool of blood and broken glass, stunned and shocked, unable to move. I remember the terrified expression on your face as you hurriedly scooped me up in your arms and took me to Dr. Hammer’s office for the seven stitches in my left ankle. My mother’s love never fails.
I remember when “The Wizard of Oz” would come on TV and you, Janet, and myself, would camp out around our TV and prepare to watch. I don’t know if you ever knew this, but I hated that movie with its flying monkeys, creepy soldiers and green witch. I was so terrified that I climbed up in your lap with long, lanky legs, and you would wrap your arms securely around me as I buried my face against your bosom and tried to tune out the eerie cackle of the wicked witch. Since we only had the one TV, I couldn’t just go to another room and watch something else. As big as I was, you never complained, but lovingly embraced me and my fear. My mother’s love never fails.
I remember how you would exhaust yourself wrestling with two heads: one thick & coarse… the other, soft & fine. Every two weeks, you intensely labored while shampooing, rinsing, combing, and plaiting hair. You would tug and pull my hair as gently as you could, but to no avail. I would cry from the beginning of this grueling process until it ended with scalp scorched, hair pressed & laid heavy in hair grease. I remember the frilly, lacy dresses that I hated with the itchy tulle, wiggling as you dressed me, only for me to say, “It itches…take it off!” I remember when I couldn’t even comb my hair, let alone part it, complaining about my part down the middle not being straight. I remember you tying my shoes and the bow not being exactly centered. To those tasks I would say, “It’s not straight. It’s crooked. Do it over.” Cutting those gray eyes at me, you responded, “Angie, you need to learn to do your own hair and tie your own shoes.” She did not complain. My mother’s love never fails.
I remember you making us go to church when we didn’t want to. I remember a particular December morning. It was icy and you wanted Janet and I to come to Friendship and pick up our Christmas gifts. We didn’t want to be out in that wintry mess, but you insisted. You never seemed to mind walking anywhere, but you didn’t have a choice. We had just turned down Burke St. and were less than 100 yards from the church, when all of the sudden…BAM! Down you went on black ice… feet flying up in the air in your Sunday best, as you landed on your behind. Physically, you weren’t hurt, but your pride may have been slightly bruised. You made the decision to send us on to church while you returned home. In my mind I thought, “Umph, that’s what you get for making us go!” It is because of that commitment that we know Him for ourselves. My mother’s love never fails.
I remember our wonderful Christmases! Every Christmas Eve I would go to bed thinking, “Where are the toys? How is Santa going to get in here? What will I get?” You and “Santa” went beyond anything I could have imagined or expected! When we awoke on Christmas morning, the living room floor and furniture were covered with presents, and I screamed to Janet, “Wake up! Santa Claus came!” I never knew the sacrifices you made so that we would have many Christmases like that. My mother’s love never fails.
I remember my graduations and how you were always there. High school. College. Graduate school. I remember how you never discouraged me from pursuing my dreams, even if it meant taking me clear across the country to Seattle, WA or Austin, TX. You always allowed me to spread my wings. I remember how encouraging you were. I remember the financial struggles I had upon finishing school. You were always there, always willing and continuing to make a sacrifice if you could. My mother’s love never fails.
I remember the physical bumps and scraps; the emotional hurts and disappointments along the way. Through broken relationships and friendships you remained the one constant in my life. When Marc called off the wedding I was broken and sat in a crumpled heap at your feet, with my head in your lap…brokenheartedly weeping. I remember begging you not to be mad at him because he was just having jitters and would soon come to himself. He did not. He was gone, but you remained. In my brokenness, you wanted to take my pain away, you wanted to stop the hurt. You did the only thing you knew to do. You rubbed my head and my back, while you cried with me and loved me. You did not leave me nor forsake me. Your love exceeded the hurts, the disappointments, and the frustrations. My mother’s love never fails.
I remember always being let down, always being on the receiving end of broken promises. You picked up my shattered pieces, dusting them off, and putting them…me…back together again. You trained us up in the ways we should go so that when we were older we would not depart from them. You never said a harsh or cruel word to or about anyone. In my struggles with abandonment and rejection, you stayed and you endured. You were, still are (and will always be) father and mother to me. My mother’s love never fails.
On Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, our Heavenly Father called you home to your eternal resting place. Beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, and servant, we cannot promise that we will not be sad or cry many tears. What we can promise you is that today and going forward we celebrate your life and your legacy. We did not have much in terms of things, but the values you instilled in us will forever be present.
On the night you were born, God created you with purpose. Well done, thy good and faithful servant. Mother, if I could have chosen anyone to be my mother, I would have chosen you! My mother’s love has never failed.