Today would have been my mother’s 86th birthday. I am grateful to have been in Myrtle Beach on that day in 2013, when my sister and I surprised her with a (very small) birthday celebration with a few new friends in my parents’ new state and town. We did it specifically because Dad realized a month or so before that Mom had never been given a surprise birthday party – in her whole life, perhaps. By that time he knew he wouldn’t be around much longer and asked Jo to make sure it happened. So, 16 days after he left, we did just that. She was quite surprised and overflowed with the pure joy a child knows. Not one person there could imagine it was her last birthday on earth. Such a bittersweet memory, as so many memories of the last years with them.
I am grateful for Mom that she and Dad were re-united so quickly after 64 years of marriage. I am also thankful that she is no longer weighed down with self-criticism, and fear and worry, which sadly, were two of her fairly steady companions. Don’t misunderstand: she experienced much joy and happiness. Her greatest joys involved giving of her time, her listening ear, and her gift of hospitality to make others know they were loved. Yet fear and worry never lurked too far away – from fleeting moments to long hauls. And her critical look at self did not make receiving love, or pure joy, easy.
Generally, Mom was afraid to die, even though she was certain that this life on earth is a temporary preparation for true life, which is eternal. A phrase in a movie we watched the other night struck me as worthy of contemplation for the truth it holds, “The people who are afraid to die are those who are afraid to live.” With June 29 approaching, it led me to thoughts of my mother.
Mom, I rejoice that at last you are living life fully unencumbered. You know your worthiness and are able to receive the Love you so willingly gave. You are free, at last, to experience peace, joy and happiness that can never be stolen again.
Happy Birthday, Mommy. I love you forever.
|Mommy and Me 2013|
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