Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It has been the summer of memories---2010. Only I didn't know that they would always stand out in my mind as such vivid, important memories....

  • Late Saturday night, early Sunday morning, May 29th. Joel, me, my sister and my mom all sat back on my bed, timing contractions. It was about 3:00 a.m. It was the first time my mom had been present during any of my labors. Another contraction hit, and I jumped up off the bed to lean my hands on it for support. Mom laughed "You stand up during your contractions? That's weird---but I guess the gravity helps" :) Fast forward just a few hours, and there she stood, holding her fourth grandchild, proudly announcing that she had already figured out that her name would be 'Leanna Rose'.

  • Every Tuesday morning---mom would come get my older three and take them to story time at the library. Then, if my sister was also available, the two of them would take them swimming at the pool. I almost told mom 'No, that's too much, dont' do that'......and I'm thanking God every day that I didn't! Those memories will mean SO much to my children.

  • Every Thursday evening----I would feel guilty once again for leaving Joel with the kids from 7-10 so I could go down to my mom's house for our Thursday Sisters Bible Study. Yet each Thursday, I felt a small prompting in my spirit, telling me 'You should go'. And so I did. And I got a whole summer's worth of teaching and guidance from my mom that I wouldn't have otherwise had. On our very last Thursday evening together, mom said "You know, with my heart condition, I don't know if I'll have two days or two years or 20 years left. But however long I have, I'm okay with that. I'm not worried about it." We almost got mad at her at the time for saying something like that, but now we realize it was a gift to us straight from God.....

  • Two days later, Saturday evening, August 7th. We were dropping Noah off at my parents house for his first ever 'Noah only sleepover'. He proudly marched up on the front porch and gave me a kiss goodbye. My mom squeezed him. "Are you staying at Grandma's house all by yourself?" I waved goodbye to mom and said "Have fun!"

  • A mere 11 hours later---my sister's worried voice greeted Joel on the phone: "You have to come get Noah. I just called the ambulance---Mom had a stroke!"

  • 9:30 that same morning---I gazed at my mom's face as she lay in the hospital bed. Her right side was affected by the stroke and she was having trouble talking. But she managed to indicate to me that she wanted a hug and kiss. I bent down and gave her a careful hug and kissed her cheek. A flood of memories washed over me, as I remembered how she used to kiss my own cheeks like that when I was a little girl. She looked up at me and smiled and said "I love you". As they wheeled her down the hall and toward the waiting helicopter, I choked out : "I love you too, Mom...."

It has been the summer of memories. And the world did not stop on August 9 when my mom went home to be with Jesus. It should have. Death was never 'meant' to be--it was not meant to feel 'natural'. This whole world that we live in is so messed up. There is a hole in my heart that will only ever be filled when I meet my mom again in heaven someday. I told someone the other day "Heaven seems SO much closer now! Instead of being some distant, far-off place that I believe in, it's like I can almost touch it now...."

And so life continues on. But it will never be the same for us. We will find a 'new normal'. Life without mom. It will take time. Lots of time. But we will find comfort in each other, and in knowing where my mom is now. She isn't 'gone' forever---she's just gone on 'ahead'. And when I think of it that way, it doesn't hurt quite so badly.

A few days before mom died, someone I had never meant but who knew my parents came up to me and said "Wow, you look like your mom!" I shrugged it off and didn't think much of it--it wasn't the first time I'd heard that. But during the viewing, countless people came up to me and said "Wow, you must be her oldest daughter---you look just like her." And now, now, I take it as a compliment. My mom was a prayer warrior and a loving mother and grandmother----if I can reflect her in more than just her looks, I will be happy.


Katie said...

I've never officially met you, your dad has talked about you several times. I once visited this site back when Jeni Rempel passed away. Your dad told me about your page and what you wrote about Jeni, so I looked it up. I would love to get to know you and Kristin and the rest of your family. Your dad is like a father to me. He was been with me through thick and thin, when I had my seizures. And Wray has always been a good friend. Actually, when I first got saved I told your dad and then he told Wray and Wray gave me a big hug. I met your mom once or twice, but this comes straight from my heart. She did leave quite an impression on me that stuck. I was new to being saved and her and I briefly spoke about it. But I'm really sorry for your loss. I know words aren't much comfort from people. But I know there have been several times where I felt comfort from scripture, which I am sure you do all the time. I am so impressed and amazed at what a great family you have. All of you stand so strong with the Lord. It's amazing and empowering. I hope maybe we could get to know one another. And maybe one day be friends. My name is Katie, and I'm always here to talk to. :)

Elizabeth said...

Jaime, I hope you keep writing these. Not only do they help all of us remember your mom and what a beautiful person she was but, even the pain you're going through is a ministry to others, because of the faith you have in the pain. And, I know it helps you to keep this up.

I thought maybe you would like to hear some of the memories of your mom that I have.

I remember one of the first times I met your mom and dad. They came to A-B the night of one of our concert choir performances. We both had on those looong nun-like dresses. And, your parents brought a big box of oranges. It's funny the things we remember. I just remember those oranges were really good, and I fell in love with your family right away!

I remember the first time I slept over at your house. I felt so special to have met such a wonderful Christian friend. And then I got to know your parents better and started to see that the way you 'turned out' wasn't just a coincidence :) I also remember your sister was in the basement with a bunch of friends putting on some kind of drama or dance rehearsal. Oh, and I remember your mom egging me on 'Liz, do your Mrs. Sommer's voice....pleeeease! :) We also had a camp-fire in your back-yard that night.

I remember when your mom and dad drove allll the way to WV for my recital. I also remember your recital. There weren't a lot of people at A-B that you could really call 'close friend's. But when you're family came, I felt like I had TWO families there :) I was extra blessed!

I remember your wedding rehearsal and your wedding day. I remember we and our parents went to breakfast together. You were wearing all black and your mom teased you and said 'Jaime is mourning this morning :) Of course we all knew you were on cloud 9!!!

I remember your baby shower that your mom did such an incredible job planning :) I remember when she gave you your favorite present---the dress she took you home in, so you could take Cosette home in it. That's when I found out you were having a little girl :)

I remember about a year ago when your family and my mom and I got together to eat lunch at a local restaurant. I remember watching my mom and your mom talk and thinking 'I sure hope we do this more often'.

I remember last summer when we thought it would be a good idea to just drop by your parent's house and surprise you on our way back from Creation. I remember us playing with Noah who was so tiny and our mom's enjoying a surprise visit....we really needed a shower that day and you still let us in the house!!! :)

And I remember these last 2 bible studies. Your mom was filled with so much wisdom and she was such a good leader in bible study. She always made sure everyone had a chance to share and that everyone's prayers were addressed. No matter how late I stayed at their house, how much I felt I wore out my welcome, your mom always gave me a hug and said 'thanks for coming, Liz. We really like having you here'.

I never told you this before but when I lost my friendship with Abbie, I lost the friendship with her family too. Her mom was just as much a part of my life as she was. When I grew to know you more, and your family, I felt like God had sent me a 'new best friend'. Your family has become very special to me because you've always treated me like family, not just a friend.

You're right this world IS messed up. And if there is ONE good thing about your mom's passing, it's that we DO feel closer to heaven. I felt that way when my grandparent's passed. It was like "Heaven's not just up there....some intangible place I'm going to because I'm a Christian. It's HOME. And, one day, we're ALL GOING TO BE THERE....a really amazing thought. We're all going to be one VERY LARGE family worshiping God. And, this pain we're feeling now isn't even going to be a memory.


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