Tuesday, April 03, 2012

There's a Price to Pay for Your Memories

They say when you're born, you begin to die. Not something we want to think about. But I sat at the funeral of my ex-mother-in-law last Friday and thought about that very fact.

I was close to this amazing woman. She was a mother to me in so many, many ways. I knew her from the time I was eight, married her youngest, and spent most of my young adult life at her feet. She was my spiritual mentor in my youth. So many memories ...

I think Martha and I talked long into the night on countless occasions, about God and church and Heaven and family ... I was Ruth and she was my Naomi. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God. Well. Anyway, I can still smell her pies baking in her yellow stove. Smell the coffee and bacon frying in her old and dated kitchen; and if I try hard enough, I can still taste the roast beef Sunday dinners. The hot air on a summer night, eating ice cream from the Dariette, sitting out under that old shade tree in her backyard. Feeling the wind in the breezeway, the sinking mattress in the old spare bed in the back room, hearing the sound of the trucks at night on the highway. Precious memories, how they linger.

I washed more loads of clothes and diapers with Mom than a body has a right to. That ancient wringer washer, hoo-boy, I wouldn't take a million dollars for that memory. Totin' loads upstairs and out to the miles of clothesline that zig-zagged across the backyard by Dad's shop.

I still have dreams about that old homestead. Who wouldn't? My entire youth is tied up in that place. But, ah, time heals wounds, and for that we should all be grateful. Unconditional love is the thread that binds this family. I'm more than thankful for it.

We're all going to miss her. God is so good to fill in those cavernous gaps and put the joy we so desperately need at this time into our hearts. Yes, it is a very sad time, but it is a tremendous time of celebration. A circle unbroken.

Martha was 89. She raised five children, (six, including me) and influenced her nine grandchildren in ways I never knew until the funeral this past Friday. It was a crazy week of
family and friends and laughter mixed in with the tears.

And then, yesterday, my dear, sweet current mother-in-law, ends up in the hospital. So, we are on another wait-and-see, moment-by-moment, stand-by-the-phone kind of thing. Bobbie Sue is a real sweetheart, as well as a true Southern broad. I'm sure she's giving those nurses plenty to laugh about.

All of this has made me think about the passage of time, and how quickly we can go from a little girl in pig-tails, to a wrinkled woman in a nursing home. But for those of us who believe in the promise of Heaven ... it's just a little easier to take when it's over.

So I've been away from my computer for a week. It's good to be back.

Blessings to you and yours.

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