She Rose with StrengthFound in: Mama
On June 10, 2016 my sweet Mama went home to be with Jesus after a long and courageous battle with cancer. 58 years well lived. Our hearts are both broken and joyful for what’s set before her: no more cancer, no more sickness, no more pain. She is whole and her healing is now complete in heaven.
Mom has always been a soft place to land. She was the most optimistic and encouraging wife, mother and friend who never doubted our dreams and who loved us all so dearly. She never said, “you can’t.”
She so bravely walked through 10 years of this disease with more strength, poise and grace than I have ever encountered in a person. Up until March of this year, she never stopped working a full time job. Squeezing every last drop out of her life, she loved being with her family, singing in a gospel group, blowing bubbles with her grandbabies and tending to her beloved flower garden. I’ve never seen such courage and we hope we can follow in her footsteps in the trying days ahead and make her proud.
Below I included the stories I shared at her ceremony as we reflected on her life. Hope you enjoy.
I remember as children, we often needed a little Mom nudge to wake us up for school, so we wouldn’t miss the bus. Picture this:
The bedroom lights flip on,
Someone rips the blankets off the bed in one swift movement, exposing us to a cold, cold room. And above the pillows hiding our sleepy heads from daylight, we hear Mom in a loud and cheerful voice, proclaiming:
“The lark is up to meet the sun,
The bee is on the wing;
The ant its la-bor has be-gun,
The woods with music riiiiing.”
Rolling over with a groan, we didn’t quite share her optimism so early, but in it now we see a snapshot of her tenacity to take on the day.
Because that’s how Mom managed her life.
She rose with strength, and everyday she made the most out of whatever she had—the eternal optimist, I always called her.
It didn’t matter if she received a bad report, she’d say,
“I’ve got things to do, places to be. I’ve got grandbabies to see.”
It was this outlook that drove her to keep going and to make life as rich and full as possible.
I will also never forget what an amazing mother and friend she was to me.
One time as a child, I called her at work and said, “Mom, I just wanted you to know I’m running away. But I’m waiting until you get home so I can say goodbye.”
“Oh you are, are you? OK, well I will see you when I get home!”
Then upon walking in the front door, she investigated my packed bags, discovering I’d packed only books and underwear. Mom began suggesting a myriad of other items I’d forgotten, until my bags were so full, I couldn’t carry them out the door. Exhausted, I said, “This is too much work!” And my Mom so sweetly offered, “How about I go find you a secret spot in the backyard, far from your brother and sister, and you can read your books out there in peace?” And that is exactly what we did.
Brilliant move, Mom. She loved me so tenderly and nurtured my heart in such a special way. I always felt safe and secure in her motherly love.
So today, we remember her. With love and honor. We ache with the loss of her presence. And yet, we celebrate her promotion to heaven, where there is no more struggle, there is no more sickness. She is completely restored. And that very thought brings joy unspeakable.
Mom, I will always remember the way you comforted me as you stroked my hair, your quick-wit and radiant smile that kept me laughing, your green thumb, your love for the beach, and the way you never took defeat for an answer. You taught me so much in your 58 years, and I hope I can be a wife, mother and friend like you that makes you proud. I will hold you in my heart forever. I love you and I always will.
Here's a sweet slideshow of her life, featuring "Call on Jesus" by my uncle Gary Daniels and her favorite gospel singer Andrae Crouch, "Through It All".