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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2 Responses to “The End of a Year of Firsts”

  1. Your mom was such a wonderful and sweet person to me. And, she had a lot to do with my musical upbringing and I learned a lot from her. I had kind of a rough time leaving the church and didn’t always have great things to say about those experiences… but she was one of the good experiences! But even when I hadn’t seen her in years, she was still dropping me nice little notes, like the few times I ended up playing the organ at the funeral home for one of my family members. I’ll never forget her renditions of “Shine Jesus Shine” on the organ. 

    I enjoyed this post and I’m glad I found your blog! 

  2. Thank you so much, Patrick! She was loved and is missed by so many! She really made it a point to reach out to those around her, maybe especially those who didn’t think anyone noticed or cared, or didn’t quite ‘fit in’ the mainstream. She definitely wasn’t mainstream herself, but she sure let her little light shine in the joy and encouragement she tried to bring to those in her life. Really appreciate your finding this and taking the time to comment!

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