Tag Archive: Renewal

Mom Was Not There

Last week I was concerned about how our small interment service for my mother would turn out, with a positive Covid test within the family, and possible concerns about being together.

I could not have been more at peace and joyful at how the day played out. While several could not attend because of illness, my oldest brother Mel drove, and nephew Josiah flew in for the service. I shared some of my sweet memories of Mom, then talked about the depression I fell into after her death. It was the perfect storm–losing Mom, Covid lockdowns, and violence in our own country. Fear clutched my heart for some time, but with the love of Don, family, wise counseling and a new medication, I was able to return to trust in the One who holds us fast. The One who held my mother in her dying, her body’s fight to hold onto life even though she was so eager to meet Jesus.

I have created you and cared for you since before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you!

Isaiah 46:3 NLT

Mom was quite healthy all her life, and mentally acute. However, there were times, especially in her last year or so, when her hearing was very poor. Once in awhile she’d catch something I said and a sparkle would light her eyes. I cherished those times. “There’s my Mom.”

Some of Mom’s grandchildren read a few of her favorite scriptures, including the one above. One played a copy of her singing “All in the April Evening” with my brother Arnold. Mel, Bob and Sheila, and Don each recalled memories of Mom, and Bob closed in prayer.

We put the box of Mom’s ashes into a pretty basket with love notes to her around it. Sheila, my very creative sister-in-law, brought a rose and a wereneki (that sweet Mennonite/ Ukrainian specialty I mentioned last week which was one of our favorite family meals) to put into the basket. I mean, when my brothers and I were younger they could down 22 or 23 of these at a time–no mean feat!

Sheila’s kids told her Mom (Grandma) would say putting those in the basket was a waste, but I could see Mom laughing in delight. “That’s great, Sheila. Thank you.”

The basket was placed above Dad’s coffin. We tossed roses into the grave and left a bouquet in the vase that would remain outside the grave.

Mom was not there. As Billy Graham once said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

And so we leave Mom’s ashes along with Dad’s grave, a place we can visit and remember. But we leave them, knowing both Mom and Dad have gone into the presence of God.

Renewing, Returning

Greatest guy in the world with whom to be still - or not ...

Greatest guy in the world with whom to fly away – and come home again …

“I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again …”

What do you look forward to when you go on vacation? Is it being away from home’s day-to-day challenges? Relaxing on a beach with a sunset-hued drink topped by a little umbrella? Having cooking and cleaning done for you? Enjoying concentrated time with your partner and/or friends?

For me it’s all the above…well, except the sunset-hued drink…my drink of choice is Diet Coke, but that doesn’t sound as romantic, nor is it as pretty. However, give me a maraschino cherry in my DC and I’m a happy girl. Although I’m retired and make my own schedule, life is busy–wonderful, but busy. Demands come from many arenas…time with my hubby, commitments to family and friends and groups I’m part of or lead, worship, caring for our dogs, writing, cleaning, washing, ironing, cooking, paying bills, entertaining, traveling, voting…

Away from home, I look forward to the mental reprieve…I can put aside tension because of a disagreement with a colleague regarding his approach to mutual friends about an investment opportunity. There’s no mail to sort  ’til we get home. We get STACKS of unsolicited mail every day. I think our address alone gives Veronica, our wonderful mail person, job security. And time with Don…yay, I love my man and cherish it when we have focused time together to enjoy the beauties of God’s creation, walk hand in hand, enjoy new friendships and relaxed conversations, and food that someone else has prepared.

One day on our last cruise, the ship offered a myriad of scarves, ties, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, each only $10. Two other women and I shared opinions.

“That’s great.”
“I already have one like that.”
“That’s not my color but would look great on you” …

Paigey, our feisty little beauty

Paigey, our feisty little beauty

My sweet number 1 girl

My sweet number 1 girl, Kelly

… and talked about the ‘treasures’ we were finding. My comment: “Isn’t it amazing how quickly women can bond over a sale!”

What I miss is my mother and our dogs. And, much as I treasure the renewal of time away, I also look forward to the joy of returning home…

…hearing Mom’s welcoming voice
…enjoying Kelly and Paige’s happy yips
…watching my awesome husband enjoy beautifying our yard
…sorting through piles of mail for the few treasured personal notes and
…crawling into our own bed again, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on top of the comforter, cuddling in.

So, who’s ready to fly fly away…and then return to our love-filled home? I am.

“Were We Snoring?”

SONY DSC

     “Were we snoring?”

     “One of you was.”

     Driving through part of Spain as we traveled to Cordoba, Don and I slept. We didn’t just doze. We slept deeply. Our Mercedes bus was comfortable, and our seat backs just tall enough to rest our heads with ease.

     Between naps we watched the lush countryside pass by.

     

 

 

 

Thousands upon thousands of olive trees.SONY DSC

Old Windmills. 

Lush, fertile farmland. 

Sheep grazing, their shepherd and his dog ever watchful.

And we slept. It strikes me how wise and gracious God was in building into our DNA the need for sleep and restoration. He could have created us to keep going–think how much more we could accomplish for the kingdom. But I am glad He didn’t. He created us with a need for regular, renewing sleep.

SONY DSC

I’m usually a good sleeper. Sometimes, however, my mind whirls through all the topics taking up real estate in my brain … where we will go tomorrow, what we will see, whether I have out all I need, whether I’ve thought of all I needed to complete before going on this trip.

Will Mom remain well?

Are our dogs ok?

Did we pay all the bills?

Sometimes I get up, knowing sleep is beyond me. It’s often my most productive time. After several hours’ of work, I’m very happy to fall asleep, to rest. I need, and want, that renewal God wants to grant.

“He gives to his beloved sleep.”

Speaking of which, I think it’s time for a nap!