“ I thank my God every time I remember you.”
This is my very first Mother’s Day without my mom. In fact, it has not been a complete year since she left this earth and is now resting in heaven. I had no idea how I would feel when this Mother’s Day week came around. I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. Other people’s expectations can leave you confused sometimes. What would mom want? Should I be overwhelmed with inconsolable grief? Should I plan to cry all day? Should I plan to busy myself with other things that will keep me distracted so I won’t have to think about it? Or should I celebrate her memory by honoring everything that she was to me? I choose the latter.
Out of my mother’s three children, I was her most challenging one to raise. As a child, no matter what she did for me it was not enough to please me. I was the middle child. I always thought she loved her oldest and youngest child more than she loved me. Of course, that was only true in my childlike mind. It wasn’t until after I become a mother did I come to realize the depth of love that she poured into me so that I would become all that she knew was potentially in me. Thank God she lived long enough to reap the benefits of what her love produced in me.
My mother was an only child who was raised by her paternal grandparents. She was married at age sixteen and began her journey of motherhood at a very early age. Between the ages of 17 to 20, she had birthed four children, one of who died at birth. Even though she was quite young for such a huge responsibility, she took her role very seriously. She poured her heart and soul into caring for her three daughters. Her home was her heart! She made sure that her children and her house were always clean. There were always home-cooked meals on the table. She showed us how to cook, bake, clean, and care for a husband and children.
When I remember my mother, she was not one of those playful type moms. She took things seriously. She was not going to repeat herself or renege on a decision or a promise once she had made it. She taught us to keep our word and to tell the truth. There were certain things in her house which were not optional. Not going to church was not optional. Not going to school was not optional. And not eating your vegetables was not optional!
My mother was very big on celebrating holidays and having family outings. She loved the Christmas season most of all. Every room in the house (bathrooms included) had something in them that represented Christmas. From the outside to the inside, you knew when the holiday season had arrived. She liked baking holiday cookies and trying new recipes for her holiday meal. And she would always plan. When she passed away this past August, she had already started stocking up on sugar, flour, and other ingredients for her holiday baking.
I didn’t visit her very much in her home. I would see her during the week at church. But we texted each other almost nightly. She was a night owl and so am I. So we would catch up on TV shows, family news, and whatever new meds her doctor was trying out on her. Mom didn’t trust the doctors much once she got the hang of using Google. I really miss those conversations.
I could go on and on remembering things about my mother. She taught me so much about life…and then about death. By the time mom passed, she had already buried her parents and grandparents, a son and a daughter, and her husband. After dad passed mom began to lose her zest for life. Nothing felt quite the same although she would try to enjoy them. She was thrilled to see how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren she had but it waned to what her heart was longing for. She just wanted to be with Jesus. She would make that very clear to us years before she ever got sick. Little did we know that the day would come when she would not be able to verbalize those words to us. Thankfully, we were very clear on what her wishes were.
It was not just mom’s wish to go and be with Jesus, but Proverbs 3:20-22 says what mom wanted for us. 20 My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.
There is just something about this text of scripture that is just comforting to me. It reminds me that even though mom is not physically here, her teachings remain a part of me.
I am thankful every day for the mother that God gave me. I have videos and audios of mom. I know I will never forget her. When I think of her, I think of love. I know that no one will ever love me the way that she did and that love will guide me for the rest of my days.
Blessings to all of you and Happy Mother’s Day!
Pastor Karen Jethroe