In the last days and weeks of Mom’s earthly life, I was astounded by the volume of support and love shown to my family. Nothing went unnoticed — no visit, no phone call, no Facebook message, nothing.
As I spent the last several days at my parents’ house, I noticed something I perceived as out of the ordinary. One by one, Mom and Dad’s neighbors visited, brought food, called, and messaged us. One after the other. At one point I remember thinking, “Wow, Mom and Dad have great neighbors.”
Shortly before Mom’s passing, a neighbor from 30 years ago in Pocahontas, Chris, asked me to call him. He was a teenager when I was a little girl and would baby-sit me back then. Though we moved away from Pocahontas in 1988, he talked about how we were more like family than friends. He recounted the love they each had for all of us and especially for Mom. Again, I thought, “Wow, Mom and Dad had great neighbors, even then.”
Not Just Good Luck
Then, I began recounting each place we lived and the neighbors we had. Though none were quite like the ones now and the ones in Pocahontas, I found it peculiar what good luck my parents have had in neighbors.
Then the thought occurred to me. Yes, Mom and Dad have had good neighbors. But perhaps that’s because they WERE good neighbors.
I realized that this is just an example in the life Mom lived. She loved well.
The Journal that Said It All
On Mother’s Day last year I bought a journal and asked everyone I knew to write Mom a special message. As I read each one, I found a common theme. Many recounted specific times Mom had done something for them or had been there for them in tangible ways.
She didn’t just love in word but in action.
She didn’t want attention to be paid to her. Instead, she constantly asked about others, pouring into their lives, thinking about them, loving them.
The fact that so many have poured their love out to our family and celebrated her life with us is a testament to that.
I Want to Love Like That
I want to learn to love like Mom loved. A self-sacrificing, others-centered love.
How does one become like that? I’m sure from the stories I’ve been told, much of it had to do with her godly parents. It also, no doubt, had to do with how she lived her life with a sincere desire to honor God in everything she did.
That relationship with God is what enabled her to face each cancer diagnosis, each treatment, each doctor’s appointment, each writhing day to the end – with peace. She didn’t fear death. She trusted fully in God’s plan for her life, no matter how many years she was given.
Her Source of Strength
So many people have commented on Mom’s great strength. Indeed, I’ve never met anyone stronger. But I believe that she, with all of her heart, would want you to know, her strength came from her relationship with Jesus. Her hope for life after her body’s death came from her believing in His power to save her.
And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 MSG
We grieve. I already miss my mom. But she has not left us without a witness. Our hope, our comfort, our strength – just like hers – comes from Jesus Christ.
For those who want the hope my Mom had, believe in Jesus. For those who do believe, rejoice in the hope that you have. We WILL see Mom again.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:54 NIV
Until then, may we love well. Like Mom did.
The photo at the top of this post was taken by a friend of my family. This is at the top of Wye Mountain. He shared the photo with me because the jonquils reminded him of my mom.