Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mama Love

19 years ago, on this day, my life changed forever. August 23 is a day that I wish never existed for me. I wish I never knew what this day would bring for me. I wish, I wish, I wish.

Today is the 19th anniversary of the day that I found out that my mother had taken her last breath. God had called her home. His selfishness (or so I thought at the time) was to have her home during her 40th year on Earth. I was only 9 years old.

I will never forget the horror of that day. Being so far away from a far Eastern country, foreign already. The hot air of that day, the jet-lag, the emotions running high. I will never forget. I will never forget the look on my father's face. The tears, the agony, the pain. How would he tell his daughters this horrible news?? My patience running thin, I screamed, begged for him to tell us what was wrong. Oh it went so horribly wrong. "Your mom is dead" I will never forget.

For a 9 year old, losing a parent is the most tragic thing that could possibly happen. It wasn't just a 9 year old either...It was an almost 14 year old, about to enter a high school, and a 7 year old barely capable of understanding this complexity. Why?? That is all I can remember thinking. Why? The days and weeks that followed were some of the most taxing on all of us. Not just the kids, but the adults too. How would we all cope? How could we, how WOULD we, ever get through this?

To this day I can't stop thinking about how I will get through this. Each passing milestone, each year that goes by, all remind me of what I have lost. I have suffered the greatest of losses. The loss of a rock, of my mama love. There will be nothing in this world that can ever fill that void in my heart. Nothing. Sometimes I think that is what I am trying to do most in my life. Fill up that void. How can I ever possibly do that, though?? After 19 years, I am finally saying that I cannot. There will never be anything that can fill the gap of missing mama love. No amount of tears, of pain, of agonizing over what I have lost, will ever replace that burning mama love.

There used to be years that August 23 would fly by me. I was to wrapped up in myself to remember what this day meant, or to even mark it on my calendar. Denial? Perhaps. In some ways, I was thankful that it had passed, that I had not remembered the events of that disastrous day. As I reflect today, as the tears are being held back with all their might, I realize how woeful my forgetfulness had been. For it is remembering that makes us get through each day. It is the memories that were carved in stone that will forever give me peace. And it is the love of my heavenly Father, of knowing she is in His arms, that brings me to my knees and thanks Him. Thanks Him?? Really, you ask? Yes, I thank Him. For without knowing this great loss, I could never appreciate the lessons that He has taught me. The patience, the faith, the hope...that there, in this place, even peace can be found amongst such deplorable grief.

The pictures I have shared with you today, are the some of my favorites. I like to look at these pictures, because these are the times that I cannot remember. I have no memory of being so small. I do have many memories of when I was older, but it is these that remind me of who my Mom was. She was fantastic. The glow in her eye as she dotes upon me, the silly face in the pictures with my two aunts. That was her. She was elegant, sophisticated, tall, sweet, kind, compassionate, sensitive and she could even be quite the disciplinarian!! She was all the things that I hope to be as I move into probable motherhood of my own. It is her mama love, and the amazing 9 years that I received that make me love and miss her evermore. Mostly, though, I miss what it means to have her here with me. To tell her about all the great things in my life. About the husband that I have that she has never met. To watch her play with my niece, and my future children. Just to be HERE. Each day it gets easier, but it will never be easy. I saw a sign the other day that said "God doesn't give us what we can handle, God helps us handle what we are given" Without that knowledge, I am not sure I would be here today. God has blessed my life. I am a magnificent woman because of the strength that I find in Him. And it is this strength that will get me through one more year.


Shana said...

Em I am always truly amazed by your strength. I could not imagine having lost my mother at such a young age yet you have gone through it and survived. You are an amazing person that your mom would be so proud of. Looking at these pictures I see so much of you in your mom. I actually did a double take on some of them! Take comfort in knowing that she is always looking over you, guiding your life. She has met your wonderful husband...she sent him to you. She knows all of the great things that have happened in your life…she’s watched and guided you along the way. Although you already have it, I wish you strength to carry on.

Tony said...

Thank you for sharing, Em. You and your family are in my prayers today.

Marie said...

Em, I have always had a deep respect for you...your personality demands it because you are an amazing woman.

As I sit here crying after having read your entry, I realize that your strength is so much deeper rooted than I ever would have imagined.

Like Shana said, your mom has met your husband and watched your niece.

I cannot fathom the hurt and pain that you must feel, especially on this day every year. With my mother being sick now, your raw emotion is so striking to me.

Just keep your chin up, and do whatever it is that you must to deal with today. You are one of the strongest and most intelligent women I know, and I thank you for being someone I can call a friend.

Amy Carroll said...

This was truly beautiful, deeply sad, and so very touching. I am so sorry, both for the loss of your mother and for the years of pain and sadness that you've had to endure. You and your siblings and family are all in my prayers today Em.

Your mom was so beautiful and you have so much of her in you. I was amazed at how closely you two resemble each other.

hazelydgrl said...

Em, I am in tears after reading that beautiful post. I am so sorry that you had to endure such a tragic loss like that. You and your whole family will be in my prayers today. You are such an amazing woman and your mom would be so proud of you. (((HUGS)))

ElleTeeJay said...

I'm crying over my chicken noodle soup.

Wow, Em...thank you so much for sharing. My heart will be filled with love and prayers a-plenty for you throughout the day. What an unbelievable loss...I can't even begin to imagine.

Be sure to spend some time with her today and let yourself grieve. I truly believe that there are certain people in your life for whom the mourning never really ends. And, that's the way it should be.

By the way...I have a feeling you are going to be a fantastic mom.

Anonymous said...

Hey Em I have to say you have such strength. I couldn't imagine ever losing my MOM she too is so special in ever way you have described your MOM. She is my Rock too. I will keep you in my prayers as this day has come and goes on by as well as the years continue to pass. **Hugs**

Leigh said...

Oh, Em. I know I'm a little late, but I'm keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. (And, I have a feeling that you and your mom have a lot more in common than looks... You've inherited her strength and love too.)

Anonymous said...

So very touching. Thank you.

cderyke said...

Em I am not on the Nest much but I read your post and then your blog. You are very brave and very composed and very moved by an experience that must have molded you in some way to be who you are today. Thinking of you and your family.

Shèree said...

Emily this is a wonderful tribute to your Mother, she is so very proud of you. You have such strength, insight and courage. Thank you for sharing your special thoughts. You and Curtis are always in my thoughts.
All my love.