I did not think I would be posting a blog today. This week has appeared to be the end of the journey for my mom. Family has come in, friends have stopped by and we have been riding the waves of grief and joy. But, for today, my mom is still with us, and so I feel I must be faithful to post what is on my heart and pray it can be an inspiration to you too. Once again, I apologize for being so personal.
One thing has been clear. Along this journey called life, we are stronger together. We can be strong on our own. We can determine to buck up and do whatever we need to in the circumstances we find ourselves in. My mom is a very independent woman and as a result, she has raised each of us 4 children to also be very independent. We can do things on our own, we are up for adventures, and we can all make even tough decisions, when necessary. The truth is, however, we welcome each other’s company. It’s easier to divide the work and responsibility, It’s more fun to share the adventures. Even the tough decisions aren’t nearly as tough when made together.
And so it was that I was struck by an e-mail message that my sister’s team leader at work sent us yesterday from California. He wrote with thoughtfulness and compassion and as his closing, signed, "With love, in support of your love, Joe." I "got it" immediately but still read it three times. It touched my heart and truly made it feel like he was with us and understood. Our family’s love is strong, but it’s even stronger when it’s reinforced by the love of our friends, co-workers, and church family.
Three of our mom’s friends stopped by within a half hour this morning. Each time, we could sense the extra strength that they brought to us and that we brought to them by being together.
My daughters have been struggling as they have watched their grandma slip away. Last night, our 19 year old called about 11:30 asking for an update. I told her the truth. We were still at hospice and, though we were exhausted, none of us wanted to leave for the night. She called again at 12:30 a.m., crying and telling me how sad she was. I told her to come home. We had just walked in the door after deciding that just one of my sisters would stay with our mom and call if there were any changes. Hannah came home, we cried together and then I encouraged her to stay and spend the night at home. I walked upstairs with her to her room, where our younger daughter was only half asleep. As we walked into the room, Jenna lovingly and excitedly said, "Hannah!" They laid down together to try to get some sleep, with a box of kleenex inbetween them. They too were stronger together.
My mom is leaving quite a legacy. Among the most important lessons we have learned is that it matters who we surround ourselves with, that friendships are worth the time it takes to cultivate them – that good friendships are of the utmost importance, and that there is no substitute for loving family. Thank you mom, for all that you have taught us.
All four of us kids remember mom admonishing us when we were arguing or not getting along . "One day, when you’re all grown, you’re going to love each other!" She is happy to know that we really do love each other and that, because of that, we are stronger together.
This weekend, take care of each other.