Ecclesiastes 12:6-7New International Version (NIV)
6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,and the wheel broken at the well,and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Mommas House: A tribute to the greatest woman I have known.
Recently I saw my mothers spirit leave her body that ended her journey on this Earth.
We were surrounding the bed as mom had become critically ill and we were looking to make some tough decisions soon and we witnessed her departure. Moms tension in her eyes released, her facial muscles relaxed and she took her last breath, break every chain played lightly in the foreground.
This is a moment I have seen many times in my Nursing career but had never seen it this closely.
My Sister said did you see that?
I said yes. And we watched Mom leave her body and her spirit ascend into heaven. Mom is no longer on this earth.
Her spirit was returned to God who gave it.
INTRO: A few short weeks ago mom was in critical condition in the hospital. I had elected to stay at her house in between hospital visits, instead of traveling back and forth to home, we were tired.
I have always reached for pen and paper when in stressful situations, it’s sort of a coping method for me and has been for many years. So I started writing.
I would like to share that experience with you as I began to process that her passing may be eminent.
It will only take a few minutes but I hope you will see the influence she was on myself, my brother and sister and many others.
This is one of the toughest things I have ever done, please bare with me as I struggle to do this.
In my mind I am attempting to reconnect to my mom who was very sick at this time and I was very concerned that she may not be coming home from this hospital stay.
My Moms House: A tribute to the greatest woman I have ever known.
I begin to slowly make my way around the house my mother had lived in. She left this earth September 22nd at 0535, 2016.
As I exit your house and head to the hospital I quickly reflect upon my time inside your home, so briefly!
I became a child again today, I am a man reaching out to find something to grasp, to hold as I feel you slipping away.
I rummaged through a few things, listened to ghosts of my past and leaned in to hear you speak. I cocked my head much like a tiny puppy, even leaned in to hear your voice again, you spoke softly through memories and I listened intently.
I crack the door, step in and quickly the sweet smell of where you had been, the essence, the linger of your perfume rises lightly, a hint of an evening meal, I breathe in deeply and I continue to walk around receiving and searching for memories, this was a gift to me.
The place I’m at right now is not far from my childhood, yet sends me to the present, tears well up and start dripping to my chest, I clear my eyes and I slowly walk around.
In the kitchen, the way you left it when you exited to the hospital, as if frozen in time.
Ears of corn still on the stove, a tiny dish of prepared food dipped in a light sauce stuck like glue to a small dish sitting beside the stove, my habit of doing the same at my home gave way and explained why I do the same.
A half empty Diet Coke sitting on the counter and the dishes in the drainer, glancing on the wall as a chIld I stare at some of the same pots and pans eerily the same 40, 50 years ago.
The bathroom, your customary art work hanging, comet, lemon scented cleaner setting beside the tub. Almond flavored soap, tassels hanging from the tapestry, I begin to hear the tub filling as a child she placed my head under the water to seek silence from a loud world, she begins cleansing my hair, a soft hymn wafting from her lips, wrapping a towel around my steamy red body, quickly hugging me till I am dry. I am there, I am now an adult rummaging through memories attempting to connect with my inner child, not caring where my mind goes or my thoughts wonder, just to feel you with me once more, holding on to the hopes of another hug, another conversation, another kiss.
Into the hallway, a change of clothing is hanging. Perhaps a cloak for her final resting place. Am I watching her prepare for her passing? I wish not to think this way, but perhaps.
I slowly walk to your small dining area, The table set, the mid table display of fresh fruit, salt and pepper shaker the same as I remember when I was small child. The crispness of an apple, the scent of an orange peeled just for me.
The pantry stocked full of quick one step meals, even spam, a bag of pinto beans, perhaps for chili or a quick meal for a fall trip to the lake.
A small summer sausage log laying there begging me to slice it and savor some of my past. I did ask “Should I cut it?” I cut it into the morsel, my mouth stinging slightly from the spices. I flash to a payday or day doing laundry when little treats like this were rare but never spared. I begin to chuckle lightly, reaching for another memory.
I am now pouring salty peanuts into a carbonated beverage watching it spew over the bottles edge, the salty protein finish brings a smile to my face, delivering another rich memory to me.
To the living room where hair bows and inexpensive make up surround a mirror where daily grooming techniques were performed.
Makeup supplies scattered as if you were hurrying to paint your face. After all, “I cant go to the hospital with my hair and face unkept.”
“Always wear clean underwear, you never know who may see them” she would say.
My mother more beautiful now as she was younger, stained with wisdom, strengthened by pain, enforced with the satisfaction that your life was dedicated to us and our well being. It’s aware to me she is heading to the hospital.
I positioned to sit where she sat while peering into her mirror. I looked beyond my face and can see her sitting there. A few wrinkles more pronounced but sitting upright, arthritic hands still working to push her thinning grey hairs into place, placing liner on wise eyes and a thinning brow, cheeks now rosy.
As the tears continued to flow, the connection was made.
I see a young girl, a rising mother, an aging grandmother and today, preparing for her day, committed to her children, destined to leave an ample legacy, death looming.
I see pain from years of being in the fight called life. Life darts that once tortured and the pain felt are now a subtle memory where a giant has crawled from the ashes, leaving her legacy in her wake. A strong lady with enough battle scars for two lifetimes, a steady course, she overcame.
The mirror smoky with old make up, finger prints from adjustments, perhaps a hint of tar from a barely inhaled cigarette I see my mom lending me her borrowed time, her remnants of a gathered apprenticeship where I was the study, a worn path she laid for me to follow.
Though imperfect and beyond perfect in the same breath, my mom a resilient statue of strength smoothed with guilt, triumphed from a life, a shell, a remnant with some regret. Her greatest gift, all in this room, someone, somehow influenced by her light.
Thank you momma for giving me the ability to love, to live and share my learned love skills with those I love. You gave us a house of love and no regrets.
Thank you momma for giving me this chance at life, you instilled in me, in all your kids that same desire to be the best we could be.
A special gift you gave me to descern good from evil, wrong from right, giving us just enough of Gods light to afford us a substantial fulfilled and rewarded life.
That narrowed edge, that delicate cloth, the wet eyes that pleaded with God to have your offspring overcome great obstacles and become men and women with a purpose able to create lives of our own, we are here, we are your fruit.
Your ability to capture life, harness its power and pour it into your children is where my gratitude begins and my debt to you will never end.
Your example, your firmness, resolve to see us grow to where you needed us to be, a place we were not always comfortable, but somehow landed.
The example you led gave me a path to see that life as it is, is worth living, worth sharing and leaving us presentable as whole spirits willing to relinquish only our pride for an ample chance at life, to be who you thought we could be could not have been possible without you.
We shared much of our life while growing up together reliving much of those challenges that held us temporarily back, only to see dark clouds roll away and a new day appear with renewed hope and energizing spirit eluding the swords of a life that could have resulted in a ruined heap of regret, yet you stayed the course and oversaw our safe arrival.
That ability to see the good in people regardless of the pain they inflicted, to forgive when others dare not, to love when love was not returned.
I, through you saw innocence turned to cold honesty while confusion mired our pathways yet your resolve saved us much, while allowing an imperfect vessel to see through that perfect lens that you now possess.
Trying to understand the hand being dealt, but trying to understand the heavy hand that kept us down. We were joined by your spirit to paint a life of worth with hope as a beatitude.
As I step away from your home where I was mired and steeped for a day or so, again wrapped in your arms, though distant, felt the same. I am somehow in a trance, wondering when you will return or to our reunion on the other side.
Thanks mom for sharing this moment with me, thanks for allowing me to sleep in your bed where life was and where your ascension began.
Mom, do me a favor once again. Stand on that porch and greet me once again, wrap your arms around me, snuggle your warm nose against my neck and let me hear you say you love me once again.
Please allow me once again to hear your laughter, let me chuckle at your wit, feel your weight pulling me into your embrace.
Mom, don’t go yet, come back to us once again. Allow us one more meal, one more memory, a taste of your home cooking, a recipe shared, perhaps that day may not come, perhaps it will.
Mom I feel this is not your final chapter. You have a house full of love awaiting you once again, your story is not done. You have another portrait to paint.
Provide me one more glance at your crooked smile, your smooth hints of how you just fixed your hair, take me through a scrape on my knee or a bump on our heads once again.
It’s your subtle lady like demeanor, the way you dip your chin when you smile, one more worry about your weight or a pain in your back or doesn’t my hair look good today?
Please allow me one more memory, I promise I’ll sit still, I won’t run in circles to out maneuver your scoldings, you bearing down through my stubbornness, your nudges of encouragement, I’ll listen this time to your inclinations and advice momma. You gotta give me this one last walk!
Love you mom…….
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God Bless you!