Hugging Mama

This week marks nine months since Mama went Home to Jesus. I miss her so much. It feels like anything and everything can remind me of her. Maybe because she’s never far from my thoughts.

I just want to feel her close to me again. I know aromas can bring you back in time, but Mom didn’t use perfume, so I wonder if scrubbing the bathroom with Comet and Lysol would bring a sense of her presence. Do they even make that original liquid extra strength Lysol anymore?

Baking is another idea that comes to mind. But I’ve been using Mama’s recipes ever since I got married, so the memories they evoke aren’t just mama related now. They are a sweet mix of history, and growing children, and family parties past and present.

I just want to hug mom. I just want a big, long, warm hug of her soft motherliness. I picture a memory I have from five years ago that is so vivid I can almost feel it, and it brings back a glow of joy…

When I went to visit Mom and Dad today, their front door was locked. Mom tried to unlock it on the inside, while I used my key on the outside. When I finally got the door open and walked in, Mom’s face lit up with such delight and she wrapped her arms around me to give me a hug. Even though she struggled to remember my name, the sweetness of her smile and hug is still warming my heart.

Oh how I’d love that hug right now!

And it makes me think how Mom must have been welcomed into Paradise. Imagine the hug her own mama gave her! And the hugs of brothers, friends, a sister and others that have gone on ahead of her! And I can picture Jesus hugging her, too!

It also reminds me of the verse, “Look! I stand at the door and knock! If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in…” Rev. 3:20.

Jesus not only knows all of our names, He even knows the number of hairs on our heads. Imagine the warmth and delight of His love, when one of His children opens the door of their life to Him!

And what a merciful comfort to know that someday I will hug my precious mama again.

Meanwhile, I do have some Comet, and my bathroom could use a good scrubbing. Maybe it’s worth a try…

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Mama Memories All Around

A couple days ago I saw that a purple iris had popped open in our garden right behind the house. I’m trying to remember if I got the plant from Mom, because she grew purple irises behind her house too. I can’t look at it without thinking of her.

So many things have that effect on me. I miss Mama. I miss the person she was before Alzheimer’s. I miss the quirky and endearing and even angry ways she expressed herself with Alzheimer’s. Any little thing, or nothing at all, can trigger a memory that makes me smile or tear up.

When I hang sheets on the line, I remember handing Mom the clothespins when I was young as she hung our sheets and how wonderful they smelled at night. When I bake a cake I’m usually using one of her recipes and thinking about her as I mix it up.

The petunias my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day remind me of Mama’s planters overflowing with petunias. The lilacs my husband picked for me from our bushes, shout of Mama’s love for them and how she’d fill big vases with bouquets every spring. The aroma that fills the house sings of Mama.

Today I was scrubbing our kitchen sink with Comet, and I smiled, because Mom used Comet. And somehow as I sprinkled it in the sink I felt connected to her, when she was younger and strong. I scrubbed the powder around and then left the paste to set for awhile, as Mom did.

On Monday we washed our sheets. After I stripped the bed, I thought about how it was a cooler spring day and how Mom would often open the windows and close the bedroom doors on such a day, so the bed could get a good airing as she washed the sheets. So I did the same. I smiled as I cranked the windows open.

So many things through out the day whisper or shout Mama to me. I’m thankful I had a mom who gave me so many sweet memories. She gave me lessons and smiles that linger. She gave me unconditional love that continues to comfort me through my tears. She taught me to believe and trust and follow Jesus which gave me certain hope for eternity.

Even when the memories make me cry, I won’t avoid them. I’ll embrace them. I’ll treasure each memory because they are gifts from my Mama. They are my heritage. And they keep Mama close to my heart.

I think I’m going to go pick that iris now and put it in a vase.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

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Mourning Mercies

The other day I went to Culver’s to pick up lunch. At the drive thru window I saw a young African American man that has worked there for many years. He gave me a bright smile and asked, “How are you?”

“Im fine,” I said, as I smiled and handed him some cash.

“How’s your mom and dad?”

“Mom passed away,” I said. He looked sad as he took my money and turned to the cash register. “Mom passed away, ” I repeated, and I tried to smile a bit, to show him it was okay to ask. And that I was okay. He nodded sadly as he handed me my change, and drink.

I pulled ahead to wait for my order. And the heaviness of mourning came over me. My thoughts flashed back to the past, when Mom was still able to get out, and every Tuesday I took her and Dad to Culver’s, and Dad bought us all lunch. I remembered sitting in the booth across from them, as they sat shoulder to shoulder. I thought of the managers who got to know us because of our frequent visits, and who were so friendly and kind.

I remembered how whenever Mom got up to use the restroom, or when it was time to leave, if there were any little children or babies around she would stop to talk to them. And I would wonder what the parents thought, as they smiled. Sometimes Mama would point her cane right at a little one’s face to tease them. Then I would apologize for Mama and draw her away.

There was something sweet about sitting in a booth with Mom and Dad. I’d run to refill their sodas. I’d order frozen custard cones when we were done with our meals.

Eventually it became too hard to take Mom out. I’d bring food home instead. And the managers and some of the staff at Culver’s would ask how Mom and Dad were doing. It was nice that they were known and thought of fondly.

Because so many of the people who have offered sympathy to me over the past few months never knew my mama. I’m so grateful for the love and concern they’ve expressed to me over my loss. I know it’s heartfelt and real.

But there is a special comfort in hearing from those who actually knew my precious Mama. Most of her friends have already passed on or moved away, and our extended family all live far away. When a former neighbor, who had moved out of state decades ago, heard about Mom’s death she sent a sympathy card. She shared memories and kind words about Mom that touched my heart. And I felt compelled to send her a program from the memorial service and a copy of the eulogy I had written.

I feel drawn to those who knew Mama, especially those of her own generation, when she was full of life and health. Like somehow if I connect with them I’m closer to Mom again.

But Mom’s best friends went Home ┬ábefore her. And I picture them now welcoming her in heaven with hearty hugs and big smiles. I can see them sitting around a table, shoulder to shoulder, sipping tea and sharing stories and laughing.

And so I can smile, even though it’s often through tears these days. And I’m thankful for the friendly young man who asked about Mom and Dad at Culver’s. Even though he didn’t know what to say, I could tell he cared.

And there is a gentle mercy in knowing Mama is remembered.

 

 

 

We Have a Brother Here

I remember several years ago, I was visiting my Mom and Dad one day. One of my brothers walked by and Mom asked, “Is that Raymon?” (My dad and her husband.)

“No, Mom. That’s my brother.”

“Oh!” Mom said, seeming sincerely delighted, “We have a brother here?”

I chuckled at the time, sad that she didn’t recognize her own son, yet smiling at her enthusiasm about having a brother with us. She grew up with eight brothers herself, and then blessed me with three.

I was thinking about this today. It comforts me, as I miss Mama more and more, to remind myself that she is peaceful and happy with Jesus. She is with our Brother. The best Brother ever. Our Brother and High Priest who laid down His life to take the punishment for our sins, so that all who believe in Him can live with Him forever.

And our Abba Father is watching over her. He is taking care of her. Mama is surrounded by joy and peace and love in paradise.

It helps to remember these things, when the tears take over and keep leaking out. And when my heart aches and I miss my sweet mama. Mama is in the very presence of Jesus. And He loves her and cherishes her!

And He is with me, too. “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) He promised.

We both have our Brother. And we can both take delight in His comforting presence!

“We also know that the Son did not come to help the angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” Hebrews 2: 16 – 18 (NLT)

Mama has our Brother with her. And He is with us, too. Always.

We have a Brother here!

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