Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prayers are Conversations

I had a great conversation with God last night. The first really good conversation I have had with Him since Mom's passing. It was prompted by finishing the book, "Heaven is For Real".

When Dan died, I did not have good conversations with God. I was angry with Him. When I did pray, I felt it was forced, and sometimes the only word I could muster to speak to Him was, "help". If I felt I could utter a phrase it was, "give me strength". As phrases turned into sentences and prayers became more normal again (consisting of praying for others and not completely self centered) the conversations were me "walking on egg-shells".

Well I probably shouldn't pray for that, because I don't want anything else bad to happen. I need to make sure I thank God for that today, because I don't want Him to take anyone else away from me. I hope God knows I am thankful for all the people I DO have in my life. I hope he doesn't sense  my questioning nature...I hope he doesn't get upset when all I ask is, "Why"?

Those kinds of prayers have flagged as time has passed, even though I know it will take my own trip Home to know the answer to, Why?

Of course I know Heaven is for Real, however, at a time this close to losing my Mom, reassurance never hurt anyone. I closed the book and the first message that rang loudly in my ear was, "Jesus really loves the children." At this point in the school year, I find myself becoming annoyed more easily, and possibly not giving my little gems (I accidentally just wrote germs and it made me laugh out loud, Freudian slip) all the care and attention they need as they progress toward the summer and fourth grade. I started my prayer with asking for the tools and gifts needed to continue to be the teacher/nuturerer they need and for patience, patience, patience!

After I prayed for Jesus's little loves, I thought, hmmmmm, this feels good, I am going to keep going. I found myself having the Lord relay messages to my Mom and then eventually started talking to her directly. Do I know my Mom hears direct prayers, absolutely not. Did it make me feel better, absolutely. I swear this prayer lasted an hour and if Jesus takes notes, I hope He was writing short-hand, because boy did I have a list.

I felt calm, and peaceful when my, "conversation" ended. I definitely cried, because it was the kind of conversation that my Mom and I would enjoy discussing over coffee under blankets. One day ALL of our conversations will be this easy, one day, when I Go Home To The Lord, too.

I rolled over and faced my night stand, knowing it was entirely too late to be awake, but strangley okay with that. My eyes batted open and closed and stayed open for another moment as I scanned in between the book ends on the stand. A flash ran through my head and a smile across my face. I thought about what happened this past Saturday morning. Take in and believe from it what you will, and I will do the same:

Nick brings me coffee in bed. I  sip and sleepily listen to and watch the news. I set my coffee down on the night stand because it is too hot to drink. I reach over a moment later to pick my coffee back up and I accidentally jostled my stand. Besides me spilling a little coffee out of my over-filled cup, my books fall over. One of them lands face up as the others tumble to the floor. It is covered in dust. I haven't seen this book, since, well. 2007. Title, "Hugs for Daughters". To: Tiffin Ann, Love: Mom. Message: Happy Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007. I immediately put it to my face and smelled it (nope didn't smell like Mom, but I might have sneazed...dust bunnies to be collected later). I must have stared at that title page for 5 minutes, just letting the tears stream down my face at just the sight of her handwriting. Then I saw a card poking out, it was posted specifically on this page of the book. The card was a cute teddy bear with an I love you message, but the message in the book kept me crying and immediately calling Jaime. It read: Tiffin, You have within you now all the elements that are necessary to make you all the Father dreamed that you coud be ~ E.W. Kenyon.

Yes, I do....and YOU my inspiration, my MOTHER made sure of that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Our 15 Minutes Alone

Well here I am again, trying to lasso my thoughts, organize them into some sort of sanity, and let the words bleed out through my writing.

As most of you saw on my facebook page a few weeks ago, my Mom said beautiful things to me as I entered hospice room number 6 on the afternoon of April 18, 2012. She called me beautiful, a treasure, a gift from God, and a gift to all around me. She held my face to hers as she whispered that Jaime and I were the center of her universe.

I always carry a journal in my purse to write feelings, thoughts, prayers, sometimes I even list all the candy I've eaten that day to force myself work out later on (but let's stay the course). I knew that I wanted to document anything my mom said in the coming days so I could cherish and treasure them forever.

After Mom and I had our precious greeting, I sat next to her and we had an amazing talk. My Aunt spent EVERY day and night with my mom even before she went into full time acute care. She went without food or sleep for weeks on end. This day, I insisted that she go get some rest, and it turned out to be the most memorable of our times together toward the end. 

My Mom quoted Proverbs 1, 2, and 3 and made me promise that I will bring up grand babies who know that Jesus is the sweetest name that could ever be spoken. Bring them up in Sunday school she said, so that when they grow up and make their own choices they won't stray away from that, it will be embedded in their heart. She asked me about churches that are close to me and expressed that she really wanted Nick and I to become part of a church, so we have that foundation to build the rest of our lives and family upon.

She told me how proud of me she is about my character and the person I have become, my strengths and accomplishments. She got sad when we talked about how I would be finishing up graduate school in the Spring of 2013. I know why she was sad, and I teared up too, but no words were said. She was my biggest fan, she didn't have to tell me that she would be there in spirit, congratulating me, I knew it.
She told me to remember her the way she was, not "shriveled and tired and weak" like she is now. Little did she know, how strong she glowed at that very moment. Cancer was quickly snuffing out the working organs in her body, but she was NEVER weak.

There was a pause for a moment as I swallowed the painful lump in my throat. I squeezed her hand and we looked straight into each other's eyes. I tried so hard not to break down and I was biting my tongue, I didn't want to let the words escape from my mouth, but they flew out like bats out of a cave.... "MOMMA, I don't want you to to go", as I crumble on her arms and cry into her hands. She cried, I know Bay-ba, I know. I don't want to leave you either. Life has been so sweet, but it seems so short. I have so much more "mommying" to do. Mascara filled tears, snot filled tissues, and a few deep breaths later, we were able to smile again.

She told me about her last day at her home and mostly about the Jamaican technition who had come to the house to ready her for the hospice home. My mom was in so much distress at that time and she asked the Jamaican woman if she was a praying women. The woman, said in her beautiful accent, "Oh Lord, yes ma'am. I've been a prayin' and a singin': Jesus come to your Patricia, come to your Patricia and visit a while. My mom said her words were like a lullaby, and she instantly felt some relief. I instantly thought of the book "The Shack" because while reading it,  I always heard "PaPa's" voice in my head as Jaimaican.

My Mom continued her fight for days after we had this time together. On April 24th (a Monday) Nick proposed to me in the kitchen. He told me that it was my Mom's birthday and he wanted her to know that I was going to be taken care of. I couldn't wait to tell my Mom the wonderful news and show her my ring. When I got there she was very tired, but very excited. I let her rest for a while that day, and eventually went back. When I walked back into the room she said, "There is my Mrs. Smith." I couldn't help but grin.

On the 26th Nick and I went to visit my Mom because she wanted to hug her son-in-law to be's neck. It was a beautiful visit and I am so happy we have the pictures to commemorate it.

The next day when I went for my after work visit, my Mom and I found ourselves alone again and holding hands. She said, "Bay-ba, How do you feel about me slipping away before you and Nick can take your vows?" I immediately started heaving crying. I said through tears, "How do I feel? How do I feel? You know how I feel, Momma." "I also know that you have to go so you can have a new perfect body to match your perfect soul." She said, "Yes, Darling, and you know that I will be with you every step of the way, I will be walking down every road with you." It wasn't very long after that that sweet Mom drifted off into a sedated sleep. There was a time though, when I whispered to her that I was going to wear her wedding dress to marry Nick. I could have made it up, but I swear she smiled.

We were all around her as she took her last breath on another Monday, May 7th. Things have been a mix of a blur and living in denial.

As I write this my feeling surface, and my heart begins to beat faster. I am so sad, and I can't call her right now. She will never leave another 10 minute message on mine or Jaime's voicemail (Jaime and I always swore that she spoke to voicemail like we were actually on the other end of the phone). Thank goodness I have some of those treasured saved. I will miss her for the rest of my life.

Ok Momma, I am walking down my newest road and it is a windy one. Let me feel your angel hand holding mine all the way.