Journal: Saturday, October 20, 2018
Today was a day of crying and praying and missing my Mom. Of all the people in the world that I can talk to and tell anything, she was always the one I could be the freest with. The one I could count on to comfort me and pray for me; to love me and forgive me when needed. So today was just a day that I really wish I could talk to her. Some days I miss her so much. I need her love, wisdom, thoughtfulness, and care. I know there will always be days like today and it won’t be easy but I know God can be my comfort. I can go to him. I can take him my heart; I can ask for strength. He is faithful. He loves me even more than my mother.
I miss my Ladybug and our late night talks; our inside jokes and laughter; our trips to the Dairy Queen when we’d sneak off without telling the guys; The drives we took in the country when we were restless. I miss all of it. I love her so much.
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 NLT
One of the things I miss the most is talking to my Mom. Before the Alzheimer’s took so much away from her we would talk constantly. I’d call her or she’d call me and we’d talk about everything and nothing in particular.
Even after the Alzheimer’s I’d call home, Dad would answer the phone but I’d always ask to talk to Mom. Sometimes she’d talk a while, other times she’d have trouble with the phone. Eventually, she pretty much gave up talking on the phone.
I missed our talks even while she was still living. There were times I’d tell her things knowing that she didn’t fully comprehend, or remember later, but at the moment she’d try to let me know all would be well.
A few months before she died we had a wonderful conversation about forgiveness. I’d recently been short with her. I told her that I was wrong and hadn’t treated her as kindly as I should have. We talked about forgiveness in general and what it means and I asked her if she would forgive me. She ever so sweetly said yes she would. Even though she probably didn’t remember the incident in question and probably didn’t remember our conversation later, at that moment she understood my need to ask forgiveness and she sincerely, without question granted it. Much like she had several years earlier when I had needed to ask for forgiveness. (you can read about that time here)
Growing up, forgiveness always flowed freely. If Mom and I had had a particularly trying day as can sometimes happen, she always made sure before bed that all was well between us. We would talk things out and I always knew she was there for me. Even as a small child I remember kneeling beside her to pray about whatever was troubling me. Being the melancholy child that I was it seemed I was always needing to pray or talk about something.
That did not change as a teenager. We had lots of adventures together. I remember one summer or two that she spent a lot of time driving me around the countryside chasing a dream of a piano player (not Rocky, that came later) that I thought I was in love with. I also remember having many late night conversations about boys, dreams, life. It was nothing to stay up until the crack of dawn talking. Even after I had married and moved away from home, we always had at least one all-night talk session when I’d come for visits. Rocky and Dad would come downstairs of a morning and there we’d be still sitting on the couch.
Later, when Rocky came on the scene I wrote her a letter telling her that I was in love and I knew he was the one. I was in college and cell phones and Facebook didn’t exist, so you either made a long distance call or wrote a letter. I found that letter last year when going through some of her things. She had kept it all these years. I know my Mama’s level of sentimentality and I know she hung onto that letter to mark a significant time in my life that she rejoiced in with me.
I’ve always shared my everyday life with her. Each new adventure, each crisis, everyday moments. It was all chronicled with her. And she never failed to cheer me on or commiserate when necessary. Every new move she was there helping and planning with me even when it took me too far from home. She never tried to hold me back, but always rejoiced at each new opportunity.
She did tell me, as she grew older, that she missed her daughters and wished they could both move back home. She once offered to give my sister her house if she’d move back home. And my mom really loved her house. She is now buried on the hill facing her house. When Rocky and I moved to Louisville in 2007 she was glad we were closer. She and Dad would come to visit and we would go see them when we could.
In 2010 when we went in with Dad to purchase the house next door to them she was excited for us to fix up the house and be there on breaks, but before we could spend much time there the Alzheimer’s was fast approaching. When we moved there in the summer of 2012 between the seminary and whatever was to come next, it was clear that Alzheimer’s had set in and we were needed. I know it was a God thing that we had decided to buy the house two years prior when it didn’t really make sense to do so. We had no long-term plans of settling back home once schooling was finished, but home was exactly where we needed to be.
Living there was as it should be. Mom was restless a lot and had lots of questions about everything in the early days. She would come to my house for reassurance or sometimes just to chat a moment. The door was always open for her and sometimes she’d be back and forth several times a day. We’d have the same conversations, mostly with her trying to make sense of the muddle in her mind. Memoires were hiding and bits and pieces would show up and she’d need me to help her make sense of it all. She trusted me and I did all I could to honor that trust.
Even in the difficulty of living with Alzheimer’s, we had some good times and lots of laughter. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. But sometimes I’d miss our old conversations. The last couple of months before she passed away there were several times I’d think I need to call Mom only to immediately remember that things were different. I went through a spell in the summer of nesting and tweaking my living room, buying lamps and finally hanging pictures. All the things I would have discussed with Mom. So, I called my Dad and shared with him. I suppose I could have told mom, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same and I also knew that she might not even engage at all on the phone. I wish I’d tried anyway.
Since her passing, I have had several times where I wish I could talk to her or something will happen and my first thought is to call Mom. I’ve needed so much to hear her words of wisdom, comfort, and encouragement. I’ve needed to laugh with her. There are times that you just need your mother because no one understands you like she does. In those times I remind myself that God can comfort me and that he truly understands.
I cling to all the hope, dry my eyes, and do my best to live life without my Ladybug.
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. ~~ Washington Irving
Grace for the journey,
Come back tomorrow for more of the journey? Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!