My mother died 4 years ago today. It's not always easy for me to pay homage to my mother. But today is a good day to do so. I was her first daughter and she loved me. She never expected to have a daughter. She never actually wanted one. She thought that because she was tall, rather and not very interested in girly things she wouldn't be a good mother of
And she didn't raise me or my younger sisters to be
(though I have to say, I couldn't have stopped MY
younger daughter from being a 'girly-girl no matter what!).
After one son, my mother had three daughters
in pretty short order.
Three daughters she dressed alike,
in dresses she made herself.
We didn't value those look-alike clothes.
But we knew she loved it
and when we were older,
managed to enjoy
what she so loved.
We took so many pictures together--
with Mom on our way to places, or just for the heck of it,
(I'm the shortest one, by the way, shortest and oldest. How do you like dem apples?)
Sometimes posed (with our daughters wearing matching clothes),
Sometimes merely lined up haphazardly like the flock of Crains we are.
Even at the end,
the photographer had to use all the tricks of his trade to get her to look at him
like she was the little-girl mother we'd come to know,
we were still lining up for pictures.
I'm grateful today for all the pictures we have of life with Mom.
Good times and bad, Mom wanted pictures because she
wanted to count us.
It's like she count wipe out the bad moments
when she looked at those pictures.
And when I look at them,
I think I can do the same.
Concluding, I want to re-post what I wrote the afternoon Mom died. It really does sum up what I felt then but also what I still feel. Not sad but very glad!
August 22, 2010Yesterday, sitting at lunch, my niece said, "You know what will happen? You'll get all the way home and that's when she'll die." Well, it turns out that my very tall, newly-married niece is also prophetic. We should have put her powers to work several days ago...but, apparently she wasn't feeling it then. She was, however, absolutely right about Mom's exact time of departure from this earth and home-going to heaven. Just as those tennis-ball toting dogs were jumping in glee at SK and me, the angels in Heaven were doing the same with Mom, to welcome her. Yes, just after 3 PM, Mom finally went home.
When I said goodbye to her last night, I told her I'd see her in God's throne room, but until then, to worship well for me, and, to say hi to Daddy for me. I patted her very dry forehead and kissed it softly, just as RE and BB and I had done every time we left her for two weeks. Last night, of course, I knew I'd never see her on this earth again. But what I rejoice in as I write this is that the next time I see my mother, she will be complete. Not merely back to the full-voiced, clear-minded woman she was at the height of her brain-power on earth, but to the person God always intended her to be before the human frailties, the insecurities, fears and worries overwhelmed her essential made-in-the-image-of-God self. I wonder who she'll be. I wonder what a wonderful world she's discovering this day in paradise with God, her parents, my dad and the host.
And, mostly, tonight, as tears fall, I keep repeating an old spiritual (and my middle sister tells me it's exactly what's been running through her mind as well): 'Free at last, Free at last, thank God Almighty, [she's] free at last."