My younger sister and I came across this lovely picture of our dear Mom recently. My husband did some photo restoration on it and removed years of damage and neglect with a photo editing program. It looks so pretty now and as I gaze upon her beautiful face, I’m inspired to share a bit of her story. My siblings and I do not have many pictures of our dear mom but we have happy memories and countless humorous stories to talk about for hours. Most importantly, we have her values and ideals to cherish and pass on to our own children and grandchildren.
My Mother went to be with the Lord over 8 years now; she would have been 90 this year if she was still on this earth. Oh how I long to kiss her cheek again and have a “nice” cup of tea with her. She always wanted to have a “nice” cup of tea and would offer a cup to anyone even though towards the end of her life she could not have prepared one herself. By offering a “nice” cup, she meant for someone to get the water boiling and prepare a cup for them both and sit and visit with her. It seemed as though a nice cup of tea and perhaps some buttered or cinnamon toast sliced in strips or “fingers” as she would call them had what was needed to solve many of life’s problems. Whether it was an upset tummy, or a bout of worry, a cup of tea would make it all better. I wanted to have one more cup of tea with her before she passed but was never able to because she was so ill. I placed a lovely tea cup at her memorial service among the flowers as a symbol of our tea time together.
Any negative memories associated with my Mom or even Dad seem to be fading these days and the good memories linger on. I especially miss those very “down-to-earth” ordinary days when when Mom would play and enjoy her family, share a cup of tea, go swim laps at the pool, or laugh and joke around. I miss her smile. I miss the very gentle touch of her fragile hands when she prayed for us. She was the rock of our family and passed on a spiritual heritage to us all.
My dear Mom nicknamed “bunny”, was born in Massachusetts in 1924. She was raised by a Godly mom who also passed on a spiritual heritage to her. She came from a large family, grew up during difficult days, and when she was still a school girl, with her older sister looking on, was hit by a car while she was standing next to a pole. She was wedged between the car and the pole…her arm nearly severed. The hospital doctors insisted that her arm be amputated but her Mother said “no,” and refused to sign the necessary paperwork. She (my Grandmother) believed strongly in the power of prayer and knew that her daughters arm could be saved. I don’t think I would make this same decision if I were faced with it, but her arm was saved even though the doctor said that her arm would most likely develop gangrene. This occurred in the 1930’s. I don’t even think they had discovered antibiotics yet. I give God the glory for this miracle and rejoice that my Mom’s arm was saved. God had plans for my Mom and did not allow her to lose her arm. I have my doubts that my dear dad would have married a woman with one arm….he could have I guess… but I doubt it. As a result of this accident the doctor told my grandmother that my mom would never be able to have children. She had 5 children. I’m so glad my grandmothers prayers were answered and that her faith was so strong. Oh to have faith like this….it could be a Bible story.
The recovery was still long and difficult for her and she suffered much because of this accident. When she was in her late 30’s she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She lived in pain and it became a way of life for her. Despite her physical suffering she was a light and a rock in our family in so many ways.
Looking back, I’m inclined to think that many things fell by the wayside for her because of the constant pain she had to deal with all the time. She did not stress out about her house, about being super organized, about looking perfect, or being a super woman. I believe in her own way she must have eliminated the peripheral, the superficial and petty details of life in order to concentrate on the eternal….on people…and on God. Perhaps folks might have thought that she did not care about a spotless kitchen floor….they were right. She had other priorities and she recognized her own limitations.
She took time to sew my sister and I dresses and crochet her grandchildren new vests. I remember lying in bed at night listening to the hum of the sewing machine. If she was not sewing, she’d be crocheting or doing the dishes late into the night while the rest of us slept. She always took time to play, and instead of fussing over the house she’d spend the summer days swimming in the pool with us kids. She took time to talk with neighbors in our apartment building, cared for children in the neighborhood, and prepared soups and other dishes to share on a very regular basis. It amazes me that she did all of this with aching bones and a body that was quite broken.
When I would arrive home from school she almost always had something special for us to enjoy. It was not anything fancy…just some muffins or an apple cake or cookies. I’d sit down and she would tell me about her day. It sounded so ordinary to me….what she cleaned….what she cooked….who she talked to in the neighborhood. As a young teen, I remember thinking how boring her day seemed. But now as a homeschool mom, I’m doing so many of the same things myself and I regret that I did not honor her like I should have. I did not value her role as a keeper at home. Now I know that she had a high calling to raise up children and keep a home for my Dad……what a wonderful way to live a life that honors God and family.
One day I came from school and she did not tell me about her usual activities. While I expected to hear her discuss the regular events of her day, She talked about how she read the Bible the evening before way into the night. With tears in her eyes she recalled what she read in the Bible. She read the story of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13, and explained how she understood it in a new way. She seemed to have a spiritual awakening and fell in love with Jesus. You could say she was “Born Again.” Her mother, my grandmother always told her about the story from John chapter 3. My mother knew about Nicodemus and Jesus….about being born again….our Grandmother shared this with us all. My Mom believed in God and would often reciteThe Lord’s Prayer, andPsalm 23…… but there was something missing. I believe my dear mom met the Savior in a personal way that night and now she was on fire for the Lord. She had a new mission…. a new calling on her life and became more focused on sharing the gospel and the new life and peace she found in Christ.
During this time many of our family members also became “Born-Again”. My older sister first, then my Mom, myself and my younger sister. Later the men in our family followed. My dear Mom continued to pray for us all until she went to be with the Lord.
I can vividly recall seeing her sitting on the couch with her Bible, tears in her eyes, speaking of her love for the Lord…praising him for his goodness and kindness towards us all. She was happiest spending time with her Lord. She seemed to glow. Her greatest love was sharing the Lord with others and when her children or grandchildren spoke of the Lord her joy was complete. When she saw that her children walked with Christ she lived out the verse, “There is no greater joy than knowing that your children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)
When my Mom passed, she did not leave us many material things. I’m enjoying her Bible now, and we have a few pictures. I’m so happy we came across this beautiful photograph of our dear Mom and as I remember her and gaze upon her lovely face, I realize that what she left us cannot really be expressed in words. She left us a legacy though for sure. She left us Jesus…the greatest gift of all. On this Mother’s Day I rejoice in this gift. Thanks for reading my ramblings, I wish you could have met my Mother too. ~Anne
Who can find a virtuous woman? She is far more precious than jewels …Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: Many women are capable, but you surpass them all! Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
– Proverbs 31:10, 25–30