"You are headstrong and inquiring. Something of her spirit is in you."
This is a quote from a movie I just watched, Woman in Gold, about the heroine having a great similarity to her beloved aunt. As soon as I heard it, I grabbed my laptop and began writing, because it hit a nerve. Oh, how I wish that this statement was spoken about me and my beautifully headstrong, now departed mother. If you know me well (and friend, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and get to know me well), you know how much I love and miss my mom. There is something so truly special about our moms, isn't there? Such comfort and love is wrapped up in that short, sweet phrase: mother.
I miss her laugh (she always told my sister and I how she fell in love with my dad because he made her laugh). She wasn't always the first to laugh, and that made a laugh from her all the more rewarding when you heard it. I miss her insane knowledge of the Scripture (I can barely remember my grocery list, how did she do it?!). I miss her love of literature, great men & women of history, and the theatre (all things that I was far too young to appreciate while I had the chance). She would discuss biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte and Patrick Henry at the dinner table. She was always yearning to be a part of something greater, something larger than herself. And she was. Her role in the Church defined her. Her passion for the Lord is something that I have seen rivaled by only a few others in my life (my sweet mother-in-law is one. I so fiercely wish they could have met. I think they would have been kindred spirits).
Really today's post is just an excuse to share with the world a bit about her beautiful soul. She was a reader and a writer. Those were her two greatest passions, all of her life. I can never hope to write 10% as beautifully as she did. Her writing was more iconic, more rich, just more. I can't properly describe it! Here is a bit of her writing:
"Hope keeps the swimmer from getting sucked into the undercurrents of fear and anxiety. Be glad for it. It is a gift. Rejoice in every shred of it crossing your path. The atmosphere of hope provides the necessary protection for the heart, one's inner being."
and in an article she wrote for our church's newspaper,
"Will my lifestyle be a reflection of the eternal love I am absorbing? Will the only thing that counts in my life be faith expressing itself through love?"
Dang, just reading her writing challenges me. What I wouldn't give for a 60 minute coffee date with her. Perhaps watching this movie (which I highly recommend BTW, it's available on Netflix) has me a bit too emotional and nostalgic, but I wanted to take this time to share a bit with you about my mom. If you love my writing or me, you have her to thank for it. If you have ever appreciated my style or a fashion tip from me, you are seeing a bit of her live on.
My longing to meet her is quenched when I remember the hope I have of seeing her again. Some of her last written words were, "I will surely see you in the morning of our bright, eternal day." You see, her death was not unexpected. It did not arrive suddenly or quickly. Sadly, she battled cancer for eight long years (half of the time I knew her), being pronounced cancer-free twice. But if she was here she would remind me not to focus on the fight, but on her Champion. The one who conquers death and the grave, who goes before us and writes our names on the Lamb's Book of Life. She would remind me, "to live is Christ and to die is gain." She knew her end was near and approached it with grace.
What an odd memory to have as a 16 yr-old, to be called into your parent's room and sit on their bed while your mom talks to you about her dying requests. She made it clear that she wanted to pass away at home, surrounded by her family. She requested that those around her never focus on death or passing, but rather on life and joy. And that her daughters would love and embrace the next woman their dad chose to love (something I'm sad to say I mucked up horribly the first 2-3 years of my dad's relationship with his now wife). That last one was the toughest request for my adolescent heart, but through prayer and wise counsel the Lord has taught me much through that relationship.
Ok, now how do I end this diary entry of a post...? If you've made it this far, thank you. I poured out my soul to you over a cup of coffee or tea (or through your smart phone while you take a break from your work today). Thank you for reading. Thank you for allowing me to share a few memories of my mother, and some of her writing. To this day, she inspires me to leave a legacy greater than myself, as I know she did.
What will be your legacy?