Family, grief, Uncategorized

Mom’s Legacy

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My mom asked me to write her eulogy. I couldn’t say no. I really didn’t want to, but felt I needed to honor my mom and her request. That conversation took place about 6 months ago. Chemo had stopped, and it was just a matter of time when she would go home. With everything out of control in Mom’s life, she worked on the one thing she could have some say in, her memorial. I’m not sure how many people plan their own memorial’s, but Mom did. It’s very much her personality though. A planner to the end.

I put the eulogy out of my mind. It was too overwhelming, too painful. How could I write a proper eulogy? The word “eulogy” felt heavy. Was I up for the challenge? I kept it out of my mind until December 31st, 2019. Mom’s last day on this planet. My youngest sister Heather and I went right in to planning mode.

Mom left a manila folder with specific music, people to call, and pictures. As each detail was put into place the eulogy was still hanging over my head. I prayed for several days, asking the Lord to give me the words to share. I sat down at the computer the morning I flew out to Oregon. The words came. I wasn’t thrilled with what I wrote, but I had to trust that is exactly what God wanted me to share.

It was a whirlwind once I landed in Oregon. The next day I had to go through some of her stuff at her place. I was tired, and overwhelmed. I pressed on with the help of Jesus and my dear friend Carol. The eulogy was still hanging over my head. I hate speaking in front of people, and how was I going to deliver this message that I wasn’t that thrilled with. At the same time I knew I had to do this. No one else could convey my feelings but me.

I practiced reading the eulogy several times that morning. I thought I could do it. I clung to this passage.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

I thought I was ready. As soon as I got up to the microphone I could barely speak. I paused to catch my breath so I wasn’t just blubbering. I’m sure the pause felt like forever to those in the congregation. In the corner of my eye I caught movement in the front row on the left. I thought Oh great, they are going to usher me off the stage. Poor girl. She’s a mess. 

There was an arm around me. I looked down to find my niece Alyssa next to me. She was hugging me, and suddenly I had courage. That sweet 16 year old girl clung to me, and I didn’t let go of her. The words came out of me, miraculously. Mission accomplished. The eulogy was delivered.

You can read my thoughts below, or not. It’s not formal writing. This is just what came out. I trust God that I honored Mom.

God is faithful, no matter what hard thing you are facing today. You can trust Him.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Mom’s Eulogy

January 18th, 2020

 

My mom’s words are forever stuck in my head. And they are good words. I think most mom’s want to leave their kids with advice to get through life. At least the good ones do. My mom was one of the good ones. Here’s just a few of her “mom words” of advice. Words to live by:

 

If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Life isn’t fair.

Don’t burn bridges.

When you borrow something, return it in better condition than when you received it. 

 

These are all very wise, true words. And she was absolutely correct that life is not fair. I’m sure as kids we’d give her the standard “that’s not fair” comment for whatever unfair sibling issue we were dealing with.  

 

Mom’s have the answers to everything when you’re a kid. When we’d need something from her we’d go through the house yelling, “Mom! Mom! Where’s Mom?”

Sometimes she’d answer, “She’s inTahiti!”

Years later I learned that this “mystery” place called Tahiti was pretty spectacular. I can see why she chose such a beautiful place to mentally escape to. 

 

I can only imagine what she juggled with 5 kids. As the recipient of her love and care, it never crossed my mind that mom did a lot. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself, that I really understood just how much she did for us. 

 

Mom did her best to care for us with joy when she could. I can picture her at the kitchen counter mixing up something. Wooden spoon in hand, stirring away, and sort of dancing. She would get this rhythm while she was stirring, and sing. All while cooking. She could’ve grumbled, but she didn’t. 

 

Speaking of wooden spoons, that was her tool of discipline. I don’t recall ever being on the receiving end, but one of my brothers was a few times. I do remember when Heather and I were very young we got the brilliant idea to sneak out of bed after everyone else was asleep. We were pretty proud of ourselves going through the dark house. We stood at the sliding glass door, behind the curtain, just looking outside. We were met with a flannel nightgown and the wooden spoon. The rest is a blurr. We ran back to bed. 

 

Mom took bedtime very serious. Like when the neighbor kids would knock at the door and ask to play with us, and Mom would tell them we were in bed, even though the sun was still out. 

Mom would be laughing right now at herself. We loved to make her laugh, especially when we shared funny stories about her. 

Mom was a big kid. She’d play in the snow with us, or swim in the pool. Or, when we had a VW Bug, she’d make the car hop as she shifted and we thought it was so fun. 

It’s all the little things that I remember and hold on to. 

What will I take with me from my mom, and pass down? What’s Mom’s legacy?

Resilience and faith.

 

Mom bounced back time, and time again through much adversity in her life. She lived with disease and sickness pretty much her whole life, yet she fought. She carried on. She didn’t complain. She grew up poor, and was left alone much of her childhood, yet she never said a bad word about her parents. She loved her parents very much, even my grandpa who was a tough man. 

Resilience was Mom’s middle name. And because of that “don’t give up” attitude she experienced many triumphs in her life as well.

She fought until the end. Doing the best that she should do. Even making sure her grand kids had Christmas cards. She did her very best to love her kids, grand kids, and husband. 

That’s her resilient spirit. I hope I have a tiny bit of that.

Mom had peace about where she was going when she died. Why? Because Mom knew Jesus as her Lord and Savior. 

It all happened back in the early ‘80’s. Mom was invited to a Bible Study. 

She gladly accepted the invitation thinking it was just a social gathering. When Mom arrived at the study she noticed each woman had their own Bibles so she decided she better get a Bible too. The Bible study was on the book of Acts and Mom loved it. For the first time in her life the Bible was alive to her. She was learning and excited. Shortly afterwards she accepted Christ as her Savior. 

I will always be grateful to Mom for meeting Jesus because then she introduced Him to me and the rest of our family. She was forever changed and so were we. I watched her daily read her Bible and get involved in evangelism. She’d blare gospel and worship music in the car. Her new found faith was exciting and she wanted to share the hope she had with others.

There are countless stories and memories that each of us will treasure about Dot. 

 I will always miss my mom but I can’t wait to see her again soon. 

She ran her race. She finished her journey and was lovingly greeted into Jesus’ arms.

 

Mom is free from pain, disease, and suffering. So I rejoice with her. She’s exactly where she’s supposed to be, in heaven. We are made for eternity and Mom knew that. I hope you know that too. 

 

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

 

friends, grief, Trials, Uncategorized

Thank God for Good Friends

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These beautiful chocolate bars were waiting for me as I stumbled into the guest room at my friend’s house the other night. Exhausted, and a bit overwhelmed at the thought of facing Mom’s memorial and all that involved, some sweetness to console me.

Moonstruck Chocolate is my favorite chocolate. It’s based in Oregon and I had completely forgot about it, until Tuesday night. My amazing friend Carol remembered my love of Moonstruck and she blessed me. Coming to her house is a respite in the storm.

When I walked in the guest room in a bit of a daze, and saw a bag of goodies and those two bars sticking out of the top, my heart was full. Only a dear friend would do something that thoughtful.

Thank God for good friends who love, support, and care for you in difficult times. A true friend in life is a blessing. A true friend stands by you in all the ups and downs. A true friend is the one you can call in the middle of the night when everything is falling apart and lend a listening ear. And, a true friend is the one you can laugh with and cry with.

Carol is just this type of friend. The Lord brought us together many years ago and the friendship was instant. We have stood by each other through thick and thin.

I have several other rock solid friends that I will share about another time. God has blessed me beyond measure with good people in my life who love me and take care of me. I try and do the same for them as well.

To have good friends you need to be a good friend. I hope I can give back in some small way the love and care that has been given to me.

During this not easy time of saying goodbye to my mom and preparing for her memorial, I am blessed.

Thank you Lord for good friends!

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, grief, Trials, Uncategorized

Life’s Interruptions

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He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed. 

Psalm 107:29

 

My life was recently interrupted with my mom’s death. We knew it was coming, as cancer was spreading through her body. It still takes your breath away, because you’re never ready. So here I am planning a memorial, and grieving. My life has paused, for now. Pictures are being sorted. Details for Mom’s memorial being planned. Flights booked. Everything right now is about honoring my mom.

I would choose smooth, calm waters. Everything perfectly planned. No interruptions. No death. No disease. No accidents. No real problems. It doesn’t work that way on this side of eternity. This world is broken. We are all passing through. Interruptions will come. They will bring us to our knees. They will bring us to the Father. They can make us stronger in Him, if we choose.

My weakness and God’s strength meet. At that exact point, I am strong.

So today, I surrender. I wouldn’t choose to plan a memorial for my mom right now. I’d put it off. It’s too much. Too hard. Too painful. Yet, I am forced to deal with this. I make the choice to stand on The Rock, Jesus. As I stand, He holds me. Guides me. Makes a way.

Most of life’s interruptions are unexpected. We are stunned in these moments. Sad, overwhelmed, fearful, and lost. There is good news. God is never surprised by anything. God is never overwhelmed. God is never afraid. God knows each painful thing we have to face. God will give us the grace to carry on. He sustains. He is faithful. He knows what good can come out of these interruptions.

I choose to trust God. I can’t see past these waves, but God can. He’s holding me, and He promises to get me through. God never goes back on His Word. God is constant, faithful, loving, and true.

What life interruption are you facing today? Maybe you think there is no way you are going to make it. That is a lie. You are going to make it.

God is a way maker.

God can still storms.

God can give you peace.

God loves you!

Hold on to Him. Trust Him. Obey Him. Praise Him.

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

P.S. If you need prayer, please leave your request in the comments or on my contact page.

 

Photo Credit: EliasSch from Pixabay

 

Faith, grief, Trials, Uncategorized

I Hate Goodbyes

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The last day of 2019 was Mom’s last day on Earth. Even though we knew it was coming, it still really hurts. No matter what, you’re just not ready to say goodbye. I wasn’t, that’s for sure. Selfishly, I wanted more time. Come on Lord, give her a few more years. Then I don’t have to deal with that pain quite yet. Yet, here I am grieving. Not ready for it. Who is ever prepared to grieve?

I have peace. That’s the funny part. I have complete peace of where my mom is, heaven. Mom loved Jesus and knew Him as her Savior and Lord. She is not suffering anymore. That makes me so happy! Mom spent most of her life sick. She is now free of all pain and suffering. She wasn’t big on complaining, so most people would never know just how much illness and disease she dealt with. And, she always looked incredible, not like a sick person.

If I had my way, we would skip off to eternity together, holding hands. Young and old. No one would leave this earth until we all went home to Jesus, together. That’s not how it works. We were made for heaven. This is just the temporary part. We can easily lose sight of that and think that this life is it. When our loved ones die, it is a reminder that there’s more. We miss them, long to be where they are.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20 

It’s bittersweet. Mom is gone, and I will always miss her terribly. But, she is rejoicing with Jesus, with a new disease free body. No pain. No sorrow. No sin. No evil. And Jesus is there, waiting for all of us who said yes to Him.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? John 14:2

So Mom, I love you and miss you, but I’m happy for you. The life you lived was filled with many struggles, but many triumphs as well. The glass was half full to you. There was always a fight in you. Resilience was your middle name. God knew you needed that quality, and it served you well. I hope I picked up a tiny bit of that fighting spirit.

When Mom was down to her final moments I asked her husband to hold the phone to her ear. I felt so strongly I needed to say goodbye. I can’t explain it, just a strong feeling that I needed to do this. I love you. I pray for peace. Goodbye Mom. She didn’t respond. No movement. Her eyes were shut. I believe she heard me. Minutes later she passed away.

We are now preparing for Mom’s memorial. Though difficult, it’s a blessing too. So many loved my mom. She touched many lives in her 76 years. Well done Mom. You did it. Now dance with Jesus.

I won’t say goodbye. See you soon Mom! I love you.

 

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The beginning for Mom and me. She was pregnant with me in this picture.

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This picture was taken at least 25 years ago and how I see her. Healthy and beautiful.

Dorothea Louise 

October 19, 1943 ~ December 31, 2019

Love you Mom ❤