I know some of you know why I have been so MIA lately. The blog was quiet for a few weeks, and I wanted to explain to you why. Mid-January my Mother, Susan, was coming to the end of her life here on Earth. At the young age of 49, Mom passed away on February 3rd. This is something we as a family knew was going to happen for a few years now, and as much as we tried to prepare for it… nothing could have prepared me for the emotions, and heartache that will linger for some time. For you to truly understand what I mean by this, I need to start from the beginning.
Many times Mom had said to me, “I’m sorry that your life is different from others.” She knew that our lives were shaped differently than others, many of things which people couldn’t see from the outside. But I always had the same response…. “Our life may be different from others, but to me this is our life!”. I didn’t know any different because this was our normal! I knew that other families had parents whom could walk and play and dance, but I also knew that I had a mother who loved us, and did the best she knew how to provide for us. That was all we needed.
My Mom was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the early age of 15. She went from being an active teenager to someone who was struggling with this new life. Once Mom and Dad started having children, her RA just exploded and life as they knew it would forever change. Once I became around the age of 8, our roles were reversed. I grew up fast and became not just a daughter, but also a caregiver and a friend to a now wheelchair bound Mother. Growing up this way was just our normal. It wasn’t until I was older and started my own family that I realized this wasn’t how it was “supposed to be.”
Now, I could have taken two roads with this. One path would lead me to a dark place full self-pity and anger. The other path would be harder but would take me to a place of understanding and acceptance. For those who really know me, know which path I took. I always look back and think that I could have really been a different person.
I know that the Lord guided me in those hard moments. Somehow he helped me to shape those roadblocks into lessons that would mold me into the strong person that I am. He knew that mom needed someone who could be her strength. She needed someone who could care for her because they loved her and didn’t see it as any other option. I can only say that the Lord gave me the strength, patience, and understanding that I needed to take on these tasks.
I’m not sorry that our life was different.. because it made me the woman I am today. A woman who trusts that the Lord will walk me through anything because he never abandoned me before. A woman who is a wonderful mom to her own kids because she learned early on how to care for someone else. Even though Mom may not have seen it in her lifetime… I have peace in knowing that she can see the full picture now. That not only is she finally healthy, and dancing with the Lord in her new body, but she is also free of the guilt that she carried for so long. I feel broken inside, and the grief I feel is sometimes overwhelming. I will miss her everyday, but I also have strength and faith in knowing that she is finally pain-free and at peace.
Something I know for certain is that our children truly meant the world to her. She loved them with every fiber of her being… they gave her true joy. My husband and I had been trying for over a year to have our third little one. But after trying for so long, we were starting to truly believe that perhaps it wasn’t in God’s plan for us to have a 3rd of our own and to adopt. During one of Mom’s frequent hospital stays around early December I sat with her late one evening and had a heart to heart chat about this pain I was feeling and the fear I had of not knowing what God had in store.
She had such a calm presence in saying that she truly believed God would give us one more of our own. She had such faith, when I truly couldn’t see it. Christmas morning came along, and I thought just for giggles I would take a test to see if we were pregnant. Sort of a “one last time” before we decided to finally adopt. And lo and behold….
I couldn’t believe it! We were finally going to have the little one we had been praying for so long for. And the crazy thing was… that Mom knew. Being as the children were the true lights in her life… I feel she somewhere in the back of her heart knew that with this little one coming along, she could finally go and I would be ok. It’s amazing how a Mother’s love can truly change the stars. I have comfort knowing that she will be holding onto this little one with special loving arms. So while we are grieving, we are also celebrating!