The End of a Year of Firsts

At the very end of today, it will have been a full year since Mom quietly and peacefully passed away, or “was called to Glory” as she frequently liked to say.

“It’s the Glory shining down” was how she had described the beautifully majestic, natural atmospheric optical effect known as ‘crepuscular rays’ to us when we were kids, explaining that that was how her mother and grandmother had described it to her as a child. It is no wonder, and perhaps now very fitting, that I always think of her when I see this wonderful effect of nature. Heaven opens a bit to shine down its Glory, and it will forever more remind me that she is smiling down on us, safe in the arms of her Savior, singing praises in the Choir Fantastic.

Her unrelenting faith — no, trust — in God and absolute assurance that she was moving on to a better existence were her daily testimony and witness to all with whom she had contact. Not through pious, evangelical speeches, but through simple, everyday loving acts of thoughtfulness and kindess that she extended to the world around her. This was her story, and this was her song: praising her Savior all the day long — to borrow appropriately from the old standard hymn. Being a channel and example of the Love of Christ was something she did as easily and automatically as breathing.

Bringing joy to people, through conversation, laughter, song, a meal, a card or a phone call was how she devoted her time and energy. Of course, there were those with whom she did not agree, and she secretly suffered idiots to the best of her genteel nature, but she loved nearly everyone from her seemingly limitless heart. Those she couldn’t like on her own, well, she prayed to love them as Jesus already did. She still might tell you what was on her mind, but in her heart, it was always love, and that was never in doubt. This lifelong example and practice is the legacy which she left us, and the manner of living in which she tacitly, but earnestly, instructed us.

As much as the preceding 5 years since her initial diagnosis of 6 months had had my brother and me holding our breaths and awaiting the inevitable, neither of us had any idea what to expect for the year following our loss, either as brothers, or as individual sons. Through this year of the “firsts” without her (first Valentines Day, first Easter, first Mother’s Day, etc.), the anxiety of expecting her passing moved to the anticipation of a surprise attack emotional meltdown, but it has been thankfully peaceful over all.

Without question, I miss her daily, and quite often deeply. There have been several ‘sneak attacks’ of sadness, and there are bound to be many more, I’m sure, but I remain convinced that she is always with me, with all of us, whose lives were blessed with her presence, persistence and steadfastness.

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