My Mom . . .

MomThis is a hard post to write. I have put it off for days. It will be sporadic at best and completely discombobulated at worst. My Mom, after a long struggle with a very weird disease, passed from this dimension into the dimension of God on October 7th. She was only 60.

This has been a very weird time for me and the rest of my family, especially, and obviously, for my Dad. They have been married for over 40 years. It is a very hard time for us.

It has been said, by more than one person, that my Mom was the glue that kept the extended family together. She was the cog for the wheel. She was the 'wheel within the wheel'. And it's so true. Even when she was sick and in the hospital, she urged me and my family to go visit my Grandmother's sister ('Great Aunt'?) and her husband while they were visiting from California. (He's a famous artist and you can find some of his work here.) She was a lovely person. Someone whom I miss deeply.

My relationship with my Mom was good. Not good, but great. She loved me. I know this because it was customary in my house growing up to say it all the time. But, she not only said it, she showed it. Like most moms, she was always their for me. Even when things were out of control in my life, she was there for me. She stood by me. She corrected me when I was out of line (the details of that are for another time). She made me hot chocolate when I walked home from school in the cold and snow. She hugged me and told me that everything was going to be alright. She kissed me and told me she loved me.

And not just me, she was there for my Sister as well. When my Sister was going through a very hard time in her life, my Mom would pray for her. And I mean, pray. She actually prayed that God would bring a good, solid, Christian friend to my sister. And God did. They have been friends for over 15 years.

My Mom, like me, struggled with Christianity. Not the faith, but the praxis. She saw too much. She continued to search and seek God. She went from tradition to tradition (and by this I mean the different Christian expressions) trying to find that spot where she felt at peace, where she felt a good balance in the message and walk. She finally found this in the Episcopal tradition. Like me. Some of my fondest memories are from the last few years. We used to sit out on the porch at Dad and Mom's place in Stigler and talk about God. Not only did we talk about getting our thoughts and understanding straight, but how we could and should implement that in our daily lives. But, no matter how much we griped and complained, we were certain, are certain, about one thing -- no one has seen God, but Jesus of Nazareth has revealed God. That was a very big thing for me about my Mom. Her unwavering faith. Even when things were all out of sync, even when she doubted, she still had faith. For Mom, it was not a question of 'if' but 'why'. And even then she knew that 'God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them' (Romans 8.28) even if she didn't understand them. And when she didn't understand, she knew that the problem was with her and not God. She knew that it was because she is mortal and God is not. And if she doubted, when she doubted, even then she seemed to echo the prayer of the disciples, 'Lord, increase my faith'.

My Mom longed for balance. Like so many of us, she longed for this dimension to be put to rights. She longed to see the day when the New Creation was fully implemented. Where tears would be wiped dry. Where mourning, crying, and pain would be no more. Where death itself would be done away with. She longed for that day when the dimension of God ('heaven') would be joined with our dimension ('earth') and the two would become one (Revelation 21). Part of that longing has now been fulfilled for her. She, like those that have gone to sleep before her, are awaiting the final consummation in God dimension. When that day comes, we will be standing in our new bodies, our resurrected bodies, our 'spiritual bodies' holding each other, laughing, hugging, and talking. It will be a glorious day. I can hardly wait!

Until then, I only hope that I can live up to the examples that my Mom set before me. She exemplified the Christian walk. Everyone I know, everyone I have ever talked to, relates how my Mom put others first. How she gave of herself for others. How she would walk that next mile. How should would take the crap people where dishing out with dignity. How she would love us to the utmost. I think I can sum up my Mom with a passage from Scripture:
'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'

I believe . . . no . . . I saw my Mom live that. I only hope that I can do the same.

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.



Aunt Nell said…
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your throughts with us.
Uncle Jim said…
I could see the pain and the love in the words. God bless you.
Kent said…
Jack, you did a wonderful job of writing about your mom. We are going to miss her until we join her again. I know she is in an awesome place and I hurt for you guys. My memories of Kaye are very fond ones. I remember her laugh very well. She could absolutely get fired up on occasion and there was a "look" that let you know everything she was thinking. She and my mom partnered on a lot of the "family stuff" in dealing with grandma and more. I know that she will miss Kaye so much . Know that we all love you, Denise, your dad and all of your family.
Anita said…
As we talked about on Wednesday, when Jimmy & I think of Aunt Kaye, we think of how vibrant she was, so full of life, and of course that mischevious streak she had! Jimmy remembers her picking on him every time she saw him, which we knew that meant she liked him and that meant a lot. She was too young to be taken, but at least she's in a better place and not suffering any longer. Your memories of her are precious, so hang on to those. We'll be praying for you all. We love you guys!
Pam Niell said…
You did a great job reminding me of what a strong women she was and how much fun she was. She would be very proud of what you wrote. Rest in the knowledge that the place she longed for is exactly where she is. How she must be delighting the angels around her!
Denise said…
Hey Bubba....that was great. Mom is proud...I can tell you that. I am so thankful to God for the incredible Mom that he gave us. Even though she was here for such a short time, she has impacted so many lives and my wish is that I can in some small way honor her by trying to do the same. She is someone that I look up to and miss desperately everyday. Thank you for sharing these wonderful words about mom with people who may not have known her personally but will maybe a little be able to tell who she was and is through this. And I want to say a big thank you to all of our family who has supported us and is continuing to support us through this terribly difficult time. I love you...Sis.
Steve said…
Big Daddy Jack........very well written! Denise and I have been struggling with the "why" for a week now. Our faith has been increased but we are still asking why. Just trying to make sense of it all. Your mom was very special to me. She has a very special place in my heart and I will miss her daily for the rest of my life. Though saddened still, I am comforted in the fact that she left a lasting legacy for all of us to hold onto and follow. My heart breaks for dad. I know that as we (family) put all of our strength together we will be able to help each other through our valleys during this time. I love you and am proud to be your brother....Hop
Odysseus said…
Thanks to all of you who have responded to my blog. It means a lot, not only for me, but for the rest of my family.

Grace to you all.

Sam Fitzgerald said…
Hi Jack,

I'm so sorry about your mom, and I'm sorry that my family and I could not make it to your mom's funeral. Your post, however, makes me feel the emotion and love that I'm sure filled the church. Your descripiton of Kay's search for Christian expression is something that I (and many of us) can relate to. Her rock solid faith, on the other hand, is something that I (and many of us) only aspire to. The last time I saw your mom was in 2003? '04? in Pauls Valley, and Margaret, my wife, commented at the time how cool your mom was: funny, engaging, very at ease. That's how I've always seen her, too.
Linda said…
Jack, I know it was hard for you to write all this but you are so right. Aunt Kaye was a one of a kind lady. I love her very much and am going to miss her tremendously. Our trip to Idaho to see Jan a year and a half ago was a memory I will never forget. We talked for hours and the flight to and from was more time to talk. I know your pain and am praying for your family a lot. Your dad is going to need your love and strength too because the next several months are going to be the hardest months of his life. The loss is great and your pain is so overwhelming but I KNOW GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGHT IT. Love to all the family. Linda
Aunt Sue said…
Jack, I really appreciate your sharing this w/us. I know it was hard but I'm grateful you shared. I miss your mom, my sister, but the pain she suffered is gone and the great big wonderful God we serve we'll get you through it. My thoughts and prayers are w/all of you and we'll be available for you.

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