Today marks 18 years since you went home to be with Jesus. We still miss you. Alot. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to run something by you, to ask your advice, or to share a beautiful moment. You would have loved being a grandmother. Frank is about to have a new addition to his family and you would have enjoyed his excitement. He is always the guy with so much zest for life. He gets it from you and I enjoy that about him. Of course, there are those times when I know you would question, disapprove, or laugh at my choices. But that is the kind of lady you were. You knew your mind and you spoke it. I appreciated that about you as I got older. I knew where I stood! Danee has that same quality and we get along well because of it. You balanced that frankness with encouragement. It was your trademark really, being an encourager. Diana has that quality. Her words are revealing, but not wounding. It is your very best quality – she got it from you and she uses it well.
You would have had a great time with me as I had my new baby, Melody, in my forties. You left us at 45 and I am fast approaching that age. It scares me sometimes. I can’t sugarcoat it. The Lord bringing you home with the kids so young has been the single most difficult thing to handle in all of our lives. Darleen barely remembers you, which is a painful shame, but yet she looks so much like you. She is beautiful. Same sunny smile. And you should see my daughter, Summer. Her eyes are a mirror to your bright, crystal blue ones. They are stunning and comforting to me.
My daughter, Faith is a writer, like you. She is thoughtful and intelligent, wise and insightful. She has really big ideas and amazing ambition, but is still such a team player. You would enjoy conversing with her. You would have so much to say to each other. I was jestingly accused of sounding like you this week, by Dan. Funny how he doesn’t know how much he can sound like you sometimes. His deep thinking, sensitive mind is a Renee genetic acquisition. And that’s not all. Your heart of compassion in Ameleigh makes her a wonderful firefighter paramedic. Your loyalty in Donna makes her a faithful friend.
We all wish we could access your wisdom lately. Sometimes we feel a little lost without you. It is been a tough time for the family. The Lord promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him. I have looked these 18 years for that good. Sometimes I do see it. You once told me you wanted nothing more in this life than to see each of your children walk with Jesus. Your children that are walking in the Way really own their faith, because there has been little to cling to but Jesus. Each day I decide to take up the cross, including that deep grief and all my questions, and follow Jesus. I trust His promise that He continues to work even your death for good. What is the alternative? Bitterness against the God that has been faithful, walking us through each day of grief for 18 years? God forbid I waste a day of suffering. It has brought me close to the cross, near to the broken-hearted, and an understanding of and appreciation for life that I could not otherwise possess.
You know I did the best I could. I could not fix all the hurts and prevent all the heartaches. You know I struggle with wishing I could. I tried to be the Holy Spirit and I was bad at it. I probably created as many issues as I fixed. You are up there where everything makes sense and cheering us on. You have a better idea of the big picture. You were not perfect either. But you were such a good mother. I was so blessed. So many were blessed because your door and your arms were always open. As much as I look like you, I am not you. I am not you because I could never run a household of 8 kids without losing my mind. How did you do it? I know you smile to see my best friend do it so well, though. You would love my fellow co-op mamas. They are powerhouses like you. My friend Tatiana reminds me of you sometimes and it is so fun to see. We have so many kids between us all. at co-op! You would be proud of the arrows we are sending out into the world.
I am also not you because I will take better care of myself. I think from where you sit now, you would approve. Thank God for Gary. He takes good care of me. He still makes me laugh. You loved him when we are dating and you would love him so much more 17 years into our marriage. He has been a rock through all of this. Of course you know we lost his sweet dad 2 years after we lost you. We miss him dearly as well.
I can’t believe it has been 18 years. My tears are falling like it was last month. Time flies to fast that even if I live to 99, it will be but a blink even to me. I still have a lot to do around here, so it will be a while until I see you again. But I love you. You made me hide God’s word in my heart and you taught me to pray. You and Dad taught us to work hard. These are the lessons that have been most valuable in my life and I am trying to teach them to Faith, Summer, and Melody.
Tonight I will immerse myself in a craft project that ends up taking way to long, in your honor. I will do something creative and fearless. I will make up a silly song and I will write a note to tell my kids how much I love them. I will pray with and for them. And I will be frugal. I will make a statement. I will do what I think is right, even if no one else agrees. Maybe I will play a prank one minute and talk theology the next. I will continue to be strong, like you taught me. Today I remember you and I am so glad you are my mother, even if our time here together was far too short.
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