This is a picture of my sweet mom, Alice. She passed away 15 years ago from breast cancer. She was only 49 years old, just about three months shy of celebrating the big 5-0. Her birthday was on September 13 so last week was a little more difficult than it usually is for me. As many of you know, grief knows no timetable, really....or at least that has been my experience.
May I share a little about my mom? I was extremely close to her and we enjoyed a great relationship. She was a very strong woman of faith. My mom didn't preach at people; she simply lived out her faith. She was 45 years old when she found a lump in her breast. So sad and tragic - especially because she had been a nurse working on the cancer floor for more than 23 years. My mom knew all of the stages to come in the cancer journey. As a nurse, she deeply cared for her patients and made a difference. I know this is true because many family members of her patients came to the funeral home when she died and shared how my mom had impacted their lives with her gentle nature and tender care.
As with everything she did in life, my mom handled herself graciously throughout all of it. I never heard her curse God. She wasn't angry about her situation - she tried to make the best of it. I don't really know that I could handle it like that. But that's exactly what she did.
My mom was loving, gentle, kind, nurturing, caring, and silly - oh, how she loved to laugh! Have you ever met someone who had the kind of laugh that was so infectious it made YOU want to laugh right along with them? Well, that's how she was. I think I miss that the most! Sometimes I close my eyes and remember those crazy moments of laughter. Sure, it's bittersweet but I don't want to forget. EVER. My mom was creative. She loved to cross-stitch and was an excellent, talented seamstress. She made lined suits, her wedding dress, clothes when we were little kids - we worked on my wedding dress together. That's such a special memory.
She would have LOVED her grandchildren - 4 granddaughters and 5 grandsons. At the time of her death, my nieces were 4 years old and 1 month old; my son Tyler was 10 months old. I wish Tyler was able to remember her, but of course he doesn't.
Out of all the many gifts my mom gave to us, the most important one to me is the spiritual legacy she left us. Reflecting back on how she lived her life - genuine in her beliefs and simply walking out her faith day by day...well, that makes me want to be the best person I can be and live a life that honors God. My mom taught by example. I will forever be grateful for that and hope I can be as great a mom as she was.