Today my mom would have been 90 years of age. Last year she passed; a little over 3 months after her 89th birthday, following a diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer. My mom was no ordinary mom. I know everyone says that but it was driven home to me once my family and I started going through her belongings following her passing.
We had over 60 years of family treasure to dig through in her house. No, she never had a lot of money, just a lot of memories. Every piece of the past we found spoke of family, events, love, joy, hope and were testaments of a life that treasured the little things that really matter in this breath of a life we have on earth.
I’m an adopted child, an only child, and my mom’s propensity to hold onto EVERY piece of schoolwork, artwork, hand-scribbled drawing or whatever I did was evidence of that fact! There were literally boxes of my stuff we had to go through. We knew she had many miscarriages before deciding to adopt. We found record after record of the pre-adoption and adoption process. We knew my mom, and dad, wanted a child to the point of sacrificing a good slice of their life, time and money to find the one God had for them.
I’ve always been grateful for the gift of adoption and forever thankful that God had placed me in such a loving, caring and nurturing family. I knew my parents loved me. I never realized the depth of that love until I started unearthing ALL of the ‘artifacts’ of my mom’s life. It was then I saw, and read, her deepest thoughts and desires. She literally poured her life into mine and probably to a fault, set me on a bit of a pedestal; at least in her mind.
But it didn’t stop there. My mom was a frugal and WELL organized person. My dad passed in 1976 and for that time period, left her fairly well off; at least enough to not have to worry about her financial situation. My mom worked several full-time jobs following my dad’s death. She worked at K-Mart, a theme-park bakery and other miscellaneous places. Once she stopped working full-time she began helping prepare meals for elderly or handicap people who couldn’t cook or get out for themselves.
My mom was always giving to others. She gave to Disabled Veterans, the Humane Society, her church and a myriad of other organizations; all while living on a minascule retirement income and Social Security. She had NO credit card debt and always paid her bills on time. Her finances were in good order, very detailed and she kept good records! She even had all but $1000 of her funeral expenses covered.
But her life was about more then fiscal integrity, sacrifice and organization. Her life was, and will continue to be, a testimony of a life that finished well. Not a luxurious life by ANY stretch. Not a lavish life. Not a frivolous life. Not an eccentric life, but a life of love, joy, peace, perseverance, faithfulness, patience, self-control, kindness, goodness, gentleness.
Hmmm, sound familiar?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 NIV)
Happy Birthday mom, the legacy of your life still lives on. You are a wonderful example of a mom and shining example of how we should live our lives.
You finished well, are loved and greatly missed.