Okay, last post for today.
Here are the words I used at my mom’s memorial,read on what would have been her birthday, 4/3/2011. I hope they expressed the love and hope I feel to all who attended.
Today would have been my mom’s 72nd birthday. I miss my mom. I certainly wasn’t ready to say good-bye. It is difficult for me to imagine my life without her. Who will I call when I have some medical or “mommy” question? I’m not sure I remember the correct spices to use in her famous pumpkin pie. I already miss our daily chats, her “mom-isms,” her nagging, and all of the little other things that filled my past 34 years. But most of all, I miss her love. A mother’s love endures forever, and now especially, I think we all pause and contemplate the meaning of love’s eternal effect.
One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Corinthians 13.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, dimly; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
What could be greater than a mother’s love here on Earth? I believe it is only a glimpse of the love we receive from God. I am sad that I’ve lost my mom, but I know my mother’s love has not left me. I have faith that she remains.
The Bible tells me to have “faith like a child,” and I must admit, that as I’ve grown into adulthood and the slings and arrows of life continue to assail me, I find myself like Paul, seeing only a reflection of God’s love, dimly, as I await the day I can see the Truth currently hidden from my view. Thankfully, when I worry my belief is fading, God blessed me with my own children who remind me what faith, unobstructed by the failings of this world, truly is.
My sweet, caring, roll-with-the-punches daughter, Emma, knows her Nana is better now, living in Heaven with Jesus, with an unlimited supply of ice cream. Although I know she didn’t want to lose her Nana (when I first told her that Jesus would soon call Nana to come live with Him, she demanded to know his number), she found comfort in praying beside my mom (even buttering Jesus up by telling Him she thought He was ‘kind of cute’). After Nana left this world, we celebrated the fact that she is now in Heaven.
My three year old, AJ, has faith that is just as beautiful, if not a little bittersweet. You see, when we go to church, Mike and I tell the kids we are “going to see Jesus.” That weekend after Nana left us, we walked into church and the first thing AJ wanted was to see his Nana. He asked if she was behind this door, or that… And the more I thought about it, I realized how she is now on the other side of an invisible door that waits to be opened. We are all on this side of the door, waiting to see what lies beyond the threshold of this world.
When we lose someone we love, we look to find comfort and healing – in memorials like this, in the love we share with each other, and in answers to the question not of what is, but of what will be.
Faith, Hope, and Love. These three things not only remain after all else in this life ceases to exist, they endure forever. Love is considered greatest for many reasons, but I believe one of the most compelling reasons is that, for us here on Earth, it is the most tangible. Love is something we give to each other, something we feel, something we continually long for. Love is the greatest indicator, to me, that God truly exists.
Faith is harder to define. It is not religion. As many would argue, religion has the tendency to be corrupted by the ambitions, politics, greed, what have you, of humankind, and often causes people to turn away in hurt and disillusionment. Faith, on the other hand, true faith, is something that cannot be touched by the outside world. It is that voice inside your soul, tugging at your heart that urges you to seek what is just beyond your grasp. It is knowing that the love we feel is a gift; that there is a Higher Power who cares for us and gives us the opportunity to leave the hurt of this world behind and enter something more profoundly beautiful than anything we could possibly imagine.
Faith brings us hope. Hope that quells our fear, anxiety, loneliness, and the feelings of grief over the loss of someone we love. All of us worry about what is on the other side of this door. My faith, though, tells me that love is strong enough to last an eternity; that my mom’s love endures, and through this faith, I have hope that we will all be together again.
So when it is my turn to open this door and see the world beyond, I fully expect Mom to be waiting for me on the other side…although she may be busy giving St. Peter tips on how to get those pearly gates a bit more pearly, and telling her friends how happy she is that I went back to being blonde because it really is a better color for me. If in the end, my faith proves false, and we are nothing but shadows that disappear from the light of this world, I still would not wish to change anything because I am grateful for the peace and hope that comforts me today and tells me my mom isn’t really gone.
And though today I say good-bye, I know it’s not forever. So Mom, I will end with the words I’ve said many times before. “I love and miss you. I can’t wait to see you again. The kids send their love. Don’t worry about us, we’re fine. I promise I will come home soon.”