Sunday, June 19, 2016

Remembering Mom on Father's Day

As I write this it is Father's Day, when we honor our fathers. I woke up this morning at 4:30 am hearing the birds singing through my open window. Three years ago on this day, we were driving home from the hospital at that time and I remember the birds singing and thinking life goes on--for some and felt comfort in the bird's songs as she loved birds. Today is the anniversary of my Mom's passing. "Passing", that is an easier word than death. It is still a noun but gives the impression of a verb, "moving on".  As I was looking for a word document the other day, I happened across my 2013 Christmas newsletter from the year she left us.  That was a tough year, and 2016 is a year with hard struggles for many I know, so I thought, even though it's July, I'd re-share my Christmas newsletter. I have edited it to keep it pertinent to today.

Each new year we set our sails, some of us charting a new course with determination to achieve new goals, defeat old habits or some of us just set sail floating along wherever the seas may take us. Sometimes the storms we encounter we thought were the worst until we meet one which capsizes our ship.

On May 19th, Mom was admitted into the hospital as the stormy seas began tossing our boats to and fro. There were times in those days where it seemed like the storm was possibly going to subside and the waves eased for a bit. But on June 19th, our boat was capsized as we lost my Mom to cancer.

We all, in our own way, have been able to crawl back into the boat of life. It is a struggle and mostly we just have to trust the seas for now will be calm as we sail through the cloudy skies of these sad days of missing her and knowing life will never be the same.

One way I cope, is that I have always loved coincidences which I have heard called “God winks”. I like to call it connecting the dots. I like to look for God winks, which others may not believe in, but I find comfort in thinking that way. Since Mom left us there have been a number and here I am only going to share two as example.

Someone somewhere in the world decided to say that when you find a penny it is a message from your loved one in heaven looking down on you. Mom always picked up pennies and I have found several since she left. That is not extraordinary, I know, but it sure seemed curious that when my Dad treated us to Six Flags announcing it was on Mom (with her money), in different parts of the park we found three pennies. If not from Mom, I like to think it's God's message to us that she's okay. When was the last time you found three pennies in different places on one day?

Mom loved birds and I remember hearing the birds singing outside as we drove home in the wee hours of the morning when she left us. It was later I learned that a family from church had their baby within an hour and ironically, or God winking, named her Wren. I love seeing Wren and remembering her birthday as well as Mom's birthday into heaven.

On November 19th, we had another huge loss, my Dad's brother, also my Godfather. Uncle Joe was such a sweet, caring, creative and a very funny man. He loved to tell stories and jokes. At age 83 his joke book, “Now That's Funny” was published. He touched many lives and is greatly missed.
There are more instances and some pretty extraordinary to me, but this is a busy time of year for us all and I don't want to turn this into a book.

As we set our sails for the new year of uncertainty, we still feel heavy clouds above us reminding us of the void in our lives, but there are times when the sun does peak through. I believe that comes in those God winks and the memories and when we do things in Mom's memory

I wanted to leave you with one more thought. When I was a teen, my Mom took me aside one day and said it was important for her to know that I believed in Jesus. Those were tough teenage years and I don't even remember what I said. I don't know why religion is such a hard thing to talk about sometimes, but she knew as I got older that I believed. When she was sick in the hospital, the Pastor of our church came to see her although they had never met. After he left the room, Mom, who couldn't talk much, blew me a kiss, letting me know that she appreciated him coming and I'm sure his words of God's assurance were a comfort to her. This is the reason for Christmas, so that in death we may have life because of Jesus coming to earth being born and sacrificing his life paying our new passage to the heavenly seas of eternal life.

May your seas be calm and life's storms be few in the coming year. 

Let me add:

Let's be real, there are going to be stormy seas. Life begins, life has struggles, and life on earth ends. You have a life jacket available. I cling to the thought that God is faithful and just and saves us if we turn to him. That's what I believe.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:!6

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