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Fleeting Memories

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She was safe.
Her smile could light up a room.
Her laugh had a childlike innocence.
She loved with abandon.

I can still remember what it felt like to lay my head on her chest and listen to her breathing in and out as she read me bedtime stories.
Her voice was mesmerizing.
I loved the smell of that flowery perfume she always wore when I was a little girl.

She was a quiet spirit.
Quiet is sometimes interpreted as weak but she was so strong.
She knew how to pray.
She was my friend.

She wasn’t perfect but she was always striving to be better.
Her lifelong dream was to be a mom.
She achieved her dream.
She is my mom.
I love her always, forever and eternity.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

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A Special Bond

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Did I tell you my mom owned 5 kittens before she died? I had recently visited her and fell in love with one of them. My husband was not excited about the idea of us taking one (we are still grieving the loss of our dog who passed away January 31, 2012). In fact, he said “No,” when I asked if we could take one.

One kitty in particular had already stolen my heart. I spent the weekend of March 16-18 taking pictures of her and playing with her.

After my mom passed away, I told my husband, “You know, you have to let me have this kitten now.” His simple reply was, “Yes.” So, that’s that! I now have a sweet kitten! Not just any kitten though. This kitten is special. This kitten was loved and brought into this world with the help of my mom. She was there the entire time mama kitty was giving birth to all these kittens. We were looking at her calendar after she passed and she was documenting important moments in their lives, just like a mother would do with her baby. We share a special bond. We were both loved by my mom. Enjoy the pictures – isn’t she cute?

P.S. I named her Debbie in honor of my mom.

Think Before You Speak

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Think before you speak.

20120430-011950.jpgSomeone once told me, “You have kind of a big nose.” I’ve been sensitive about my looks ever since. Another person once said, “You’re just plain. Nothing special about your beauty – just average.” I’ve felt ugly ever since. Another person once said about me to someone else, “She’s not smart.” I cried for days over that one and it still hurts to this day. The list goes on for me.

My mom once told me that someone nominated her for something in high school. She overheard someone say about her, “Who would vote for her?” and then called her a name. She told me many times in her life that those words resurfaced quite often in her life and they always hurt just as bad. She suffered from depression as long as I can remember and even tried to kill herself when I was a little girl. Did those words spoken flippantly by an idiot about my sweet mom have anything to do with that?

This post is short and sweet. I just want to make a point. Think before you speak. The words you flippantly speak to another person may haunt them their entire life. Let your words bring healing and love, not poison.

I Got To See My Deceased Mom Last Night

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There was nothing special about this dream…at least not to anyone else. But it was special to me. In this dream, my mom was still alive. It was like she had never left us and life was normal again. It was beautiful. I got to be with my mom and see her and hear her laughter and the sound of her smooth voice. I got to see that light in her eyes and that big smile she always had when I was around. And of course, she was wearing her “forgiven” pin on her shirt. She wore it every day, without fail. I can’t remember a time she was not wearing it.
This dream was a gift from God. I didn’t wake up sad. Frankly, I was kind of mad because I woke before it was over. I laid there, smiling and thinking about her and enveloping myself in the fragrant memory of her in my dream. I can’t remember any details now, only that she was there and laughing and I was happy.
I’ve been wondering about heaven a lot lately. What is it like up there? We know a few things, but there has to be so much more. Does she see me? I wonder if that’s part of it. I know this might sound crazy, but I send her messages through God. I ask Him to tell her things for me, things that will make her happy for me. Things I want to share with her that I would normally have called her to tell her about. When she first died, I was trying to tell God what to tell her and I couldn’t put it into words. I asked Him to take my heart and take all the feelings for my mom that have no words assigned to them and show it to her so she would know how I felt. I know He did.
She was always afraid that she had let me down as a mother. I found a recent text from her stating that fear. I wanted her to know (even though I had assured her many times how I thought she was a great mom) without doubt how I felt.
I am thankful for the dream I had last night. I am thankful it happened now and not a week ago. I say this because I am now in a new phase in my grieving. A week ago, I was still in extreme denial. Monday night, I suddenly realized that she really was gone. I cried for about an hour. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows what I’m talking about. It’s not like I didn’t know. It’s just that my mind couldn’t accept it. I think it must be some sort of natural defense mechanism. I still reach for my phone to call her on a regular basis but it’s not quite as traumatizing anymore. I don’t think I could have handled a dream with her in it a week ago. I would have woke up crying. God knows what we need when we need it. He knew I needed to see and hear my mom again so He gave me just that. Not right away like I had hoped, but in perfect timing, just like He always does. What a gift.

Did I Really Say Good Bye Only A Week Ago?

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This is the handkerchief that I used to cry tears on when my mom died. Jesus was and is still with us in our grief. John 11:35

This whole last week has been a blur. Exactly 1 week ago today at this very moment (12:24am on March 20, 2012), I said good bye for now. Why do I say for now? That’s because I know with certainty that I’ll see my mom again one day when I, too, pass from this life. I am joyful she is with the Lord.

However, I am also sad because I don’t have her here anymore. She was much too young to be taken from us. Of course, who is to say the time and the day when our loved ones be taken from us? God, the Author and perfecter of our faith. He knew her before she was born. He knit my beloved mother together inside her mother’s womb.
I want to share with you what those precious last moments with my mom on this earth were like.

At 11:53am on March 19, 2012, we noticed a significant drop in her heart rate and blood pressure. There were 4 of us gathered around her hospital bed. Margie, my older sister, Martin, my older brother, Tony, my uncle (my mom was like a 2nd mom to him since she is 18 years older than him), and me. We knew what was going to happen at that point. We told her it was okay, that we would all be okay, that it was time to be with Jesus and not to fight to live anymore. We played music for her (my mom loved music), ran our fingers through her silky hair, assured her that we were still with her and not to be afraid, and we wept.

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This picture was taken March 17, 2012, only 2 days before she left us.

This went on until 12:22am when her levels kept lowering and then finally at 12:24am, her heart stopped beating altogether. There was no struggle. It was peaceful. At 12:24am, she left this world and stepped into the next world.
The world where there is no more pain or tears or sadness. The world where she worships her Jesus not in a church house, but at His feet. Do I wish she was still here? The selfish part of me says, “YES!” But I would never take her away from the paradise she now calls home.

How do I know my mom is in heaven? Because she is the one who introduced me to a man named Jesus Who lived and breathed and died and rose again for me, for us, for her.

I encourage you to read my previous post called, “A Life Remembered” to get a window view of who my mom was. I don’t ask you to read this so that I might get more “likes” or comments or followers. I ask you to read so that your life will be blessed by this woman who was “…a Christian, a wife, a mother and grandmother and friend by the grace of God” (my mom’s own words about herself). Here is an excerpt from that post:

“The last time I saw her well, she was standing on her porch in her purple robe waving good-bye to me. Before we could even get out of the driveway, she sent me a text that said, ‘I miss you.’ About a minute after that, she sent me the very last text she would ever send me. It said, ‘I love you now more than the day you were born.’ ”

One of the last things I said to her was, “Don’t worry about us, Mom. We’ll be okay.” And we will. Life will go on and we will be and ARE better people for having her to call “Mom.”

A Life Remembered

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My mom’s funeral was yesterday.  I would like to share with you what I said about her.  I hope she was able to hear it.

I would like to tell you what it was like to be a child of Debbie Wilson, or as I like to call her, “Mom.” There were 3 of us siblings and she loved us equally. I can’t tell you how she showed her love to my siblings, Margie and Martin. That’s something you’ll have to ask them about because she showed her love to each of us in unique ways. But I can tell you how she loved me.

One of my first memories is of her teaching me how to pray. We prayed every night together. She never made me pray – I only prayed if I wanted to, but she prayed every night and I listened. I remember laying in bed and waiting for her to come in and read me a chapter from a book and sing songs with me. Sometimes she would just lay in bed with me and we would talk. I don’t remember what we talked about, but we talked a lot. Looking back, it must have been childish things that little girls think about but she was always attentive and never talked to me like a child.

She lifted me up in every way. She was always there, cheering me on for whatever new idea or occupation I had decided for myself. She told me I was beautiful every day. She told me so often that she actually had me believing that I was the most beautiful girl in the entire world…and maybe that was true because in her eyes I was, both her daughters were.

The name Jane means “God’s Gracious Gift.” Do you know why I know that? Not because I looked it up, but because she named me that BECAUSE of what it meant. She constantly reminded me of the meaning of my name my entire life. She wrote it in birthday cards, emails, letters, texts and on my Facebook wall. She wanted to make sure I knew that I was God’s gift to her. You know, when I was a little girl, I didn’t like my name. There were no other girls my age named Jane. They were all Heather, Sarah, Michelle, Jennifer, etc. I was just Jane. However, sometime in my 20s I really started to love the name and I love it even more now because it has such a special meaning.

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My mom's Facebook bio

I used to get scared of the dark a lot. My mom would often let me sleep in the bed with her, but she also taught me to be brave. She taught me to repeat the verse, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord.” I still use that verse even to this day when I am afraid. She taught me to be brave and to not rely on her or my dad to get me through scary times (although I still do sometimes and that’s okay too) but she taught me to rely on my God to get me through trials. Today I am afraid. I am afraid of the emptiness that is going to flood over me when this is all over and done with. I am afraid of reaching for my phone because I want to tell her some good news and then realizing that she won’t be on the other end to pick it up. I am afraid of getting sick and not being able to call her to hear her soothing voice to make me feel better. BUT she knew this day would come and she equipped me for it. She taught me that “What time I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord.”

I was loved and I was taught how to love. There was a Christmas when we were kids that she couldn’t afford to get us gifts. A lot of kids would have been really sad about this. I’ll admit, it was disappointing to wake up to no presents under the tree, but us kids went into her room and gave our gift to her, filled with such love for our mother, knowing that she could give us nothing in return. She taught us to love and to expect nothing in return for loving. Just this week when looking through one of her Bibles, we came across something special she had written. She wrote, “I love You, Father. Thank You because Your love doesn’t depend on my love. You are love.”

She told me later in life that it made her sad that she was not the one to lead me to Christ and I told her that she WAS. She introduced me to my Savior, Jesus Christ. I can’t remember not knowing who He is because He was always part of our conversations. She laid the ground work for that perfect moment where everything in my life would come together and I would realize my need for Him. And I did. I was 13 years old and I was all alone when it happened. But I knew exactly what to do because she taught me that all I had to do was believe in Jesus as Lord and give Him control of my life. I did just that and I have her to thank.

She was a good mom and friend. She was safe. I was never afraid to tell her anything. She was trustworthy and the truest example of perfect love in a human I have experienced. She loved without expectations of any kind. She just loved as she saw her Savior love. I hope to one day be even half the woman she was. She is my mom, my friend, my confidante, my soft chest to lie on, my teacher, my mentor. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled and that’s okay because no one else deserves that space but her. She is quite certainly the most caring, loving, innocent, sweetest, most non-judgmental, BEAUTIFUL woman who has ever lived.

As some of you may know, my mom suffered from depression many times throughout her life. I want to share this part of her life with you because I think it is important for anyone else who also goes through seasons of sadness to hear. I want to read something else we found written in one of her Bibles about depression. May it touch you and challenge you in whatever it is that tempts you in this life. She writes, “My greatest temptation is to become depressed. When I become depressed, it is because I focus on my pain – my disappointment – my fear. In other words, I become self-absorbed rather than God absorbed. If my focus is on God where it should be, depression loses its power to control me.”

We had no idea how sick she was. My husband and I just spent this last weekend with her and her husband, Max, at their house. We laughed and talked and played with her kittens. We went out to eat at her favorite restaurant and stayed up late watching a movie. Sunday she went to church and then we talked a little more until about 2:30pm when it was time for my husband and I to drive back to Atlanta, GA. However, as customary for my mom, she wouldn’t let me leave until I did one last thing. I was her youngest. She called me, “baby.” She said to me right before we parted ways for the very last time, “Come here. You can’t leave until you sit in my lap.” And I did. I sat in my mom’s soft lap in her rocking chair one last time and she rocked me just like when I was a baby.

20120324-220147.jpgWe got in our car and started to drive away. The last time I saw her well, she was standing on her porch in her purple robe waving good-bye to me. Before we could even get out of the driveway, she sent me a text that said, “I miss you.” About a minute after that, she sent me the very last text she would ever send me. It said, “I love you now more than the day you were born.”

However, she couldn’t be with us forever. At 12:24am on March 20, 2012, my beautiful mother met her Savior face to face. She will never feel pain again. I thank Jesus for making her whole again. She complained of pain for years and now there is no more pain.

I share all these things with all of you because I want you to know the amazing woman I had the honor to call mother for 32 years. I also want to remind you that you have NO IDEA what tomorrow will bring. Show your love to those in your life. Are you not speaking to someone? Make it right before it’s too late. The argument won’t matter to you anymore once that person is no longer around. Make every moment count. Life is too short and much too fragile. Love so much that it hurts. Love with fierceness.

I love you, Mom.

What a Difference A Day Can Make

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This picture was taken March 17, 2012, only 2 days before she left us.

Yesterday? Yesterday was perfect. Yesterday I was with my mom at her house. I played with her kitties. I laughed with her. I sat in her lap and she rocked me. That’s right. I’m 32 years old but I’m her baby and she still makes me sit in her lap every time I visit.
Today is hell. Today I woke up to calls telling me my perfect mother had 3 heart attacks and was in emergency surgery. I am sitting not on her lap but in an uncomfortable chair in a room in ICU. I am staring at tubes coming out all over her body. I am watching blood come out of her nose and mouth. She needs prayers and healing and a MIRACLE.
The picture you see was taken of me and my mom only 2 days ago.
I write this to beg for anyone who believes in anything to PLEASE PRAY. I don’t want to lose my mom. I’m not ready for this. She is quite certainly the most caring, loving, innocent, sweetest, most non-judgmental, BEAUTIFUL woman who has ever lived.
I also write this to remind you that you have NO IDEA what tomorrow will bring. Show your love to those in your life. Are you not speaking to someone? Make it right before it’s too late. The argument won’t matter to you anymore once that person is no longer around. Make every moment count. Life is too short and much too fragile. Love so much that it hurts. Love with fierceness.