I share this with you because I know many of you can relate. I share this as a tribute to my mother. I share this to allow you to see me as I am.
I found a letter stuffed in the back of a drawer yesterday. It was the letter my mama wrote to me for the last birthday we spent together. July 12, 2005. She recalled the day I was born and the events that occurred. Funny story. Then she went on to tell me how much she loved me and how a mother’s love is unconditional and goes on forever and ever.
I had forgotten about this letter and feel pretty bad that I did. Last night I kept thinking and replaying things I wish I had known about her especially how she felt while she was sick. I don’t think I knew how much she loved me until now. Reading that letter and some cards I found with it makes me realize I never knew the intense love she had for me, I didn’t know the dread she must have felt knowing she would be leaving us all, I didn’t know how proud she was of me. I’m trying to understand where I was and what was I doing! Did I just check out mentally while she was sick?
Guilt is a terrible thing. If I could go back and do it all over again I would show more compassion, encourage her to talk about how she felt and hold her tight. She was so very afraid of dying and I didn’t know it. Who wouldn’t be? I kept thinking she just really wasn’t going to die so I pushed her to get stronger, which never happened. I pushed her to do things for herself and all the while I should have done it all for her because she was weak and sick and wasn’t going to get better and she knew it.
I believe now all she wanted was for me to spend all the time I could with her caring for her with compassion, spending quality time together, and giving her hugs and words of encouragement.
My hubby says I did everything I could, that I was a great daughter. But deep inside I know different. I know at times I was resentful because my life was put on hold during this time. I know I should have spoken gentle, healing words to her. I know I should have laid down with her and just held her and reassured her of my love for her. It seems I was always in such a hurry and time is something I didn’t have between taking care of her, my family and all the other obligations I had.
Obligations? What a wrong view of things. My family is not an obligation, taking care of a dying parent is not an obligation. No, they are sweet blessings from God. If only I had seen it that way then.
I think I finally came around to this conclusion after I got home from a weekend retreat. God spoke to me at that retreat and let me know my mama would not be with me much longer. I had decided to devote every minute I could to loving and caring for her with a new attitude. She went in the hospital a week later and never came home. However, I spent the next six weeks by her side or outside her door watching over her. Even though I feel I came through for her at the end I know I failed her in many ways for two years while the disease took every part of her away from me.
One thing I am thankful for today, right this minute, is I KNOW my mother loved me until the day she died. And that love was not an ordinary love. It was a desperate, forever, hard, strong love like no other.
As hard as it was to find that letter yesterday, I am so thankful I did find it. My tears are steadily flowing because I miss the woman who changed my life, the mother who was my best friend, the one who loved me for me with no exceptions, the one who knew every secret I have and always loved me anyway. Thank You Lord Jesus for the blessing of a loving mama and the privilege of knowing and loving her too.
- Creating and Accepting Mom’s Love (lightworkersgifts.wordpress.com)
- Mother’s Day thoughts: How to love your mom (rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com)