I learned a lot from my mother, as I assume most people who are blessed with good moms do. And there is something to the phrase “a mother’s love” though I can’t explain it.
In August 2015, my younger sister and I had flown from opposite coasts to spend some time with Mom in Arkansas. Our scheduled visit ended up being spent at the hospital and things were not looking good. As the youngest of seven children, we were now playing the adult role while staying at the hospital. I did not want to be the adult that day. I don’t think my sister did either. We both wished things were different. I did not want to be an actress in the scene being played out that night.
The doctor always made his rounds very late, after 10 p.m and often close to midnight. By the time he arrived I’d been up 17 hours and was exhausted. Mother was groggy and wasn’t able to ask or answer questions. But my sister and I asked plenty. We tried to ask the right ones. But what are the right questions when you think your mom is going to die? And which ones should be asked in the hall where Mother can’t hear?
The news wasn’t good.
I followed the doctor out into the hall and asked if this was the beginning of the end. He said, “It’s not good. And this could be the end.” I asked what needed to happen for her to get better. He began to list the things that needed to change. Her kidney function needed to improve. Her blood pressure needed to stabilize. Her… well, you get the idea. The list went on and on.
After many scary days and nights of almost losing my mom, she turned a corner, left the hospital, and spent a couple of months in a rehab facility, and returned home—the home she had lived in for many years with my dad. Daddy had passed away 18 months earlier at the age of 92 after being married to Mother for 70 of those 92 years. He and Mother lived alone until he died. She wanted to continue living in “her house” so after the stint in rehab she returned.
She had people stay with her for a little while, but after a few weeks, she wanted to stay alone. How do you tell someone who is 92 they can’t do something? None of us wanted to go there so she stayed alone.
I returned in November for a visit. In December, she developed an infection that required a PICC line. In February, my family and others returned to celebrate her 93rd birthday. There were lots of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren around and even one great-great-grandchild.
When my family and I left that Sunday morning, I told her I would be back in 6-8 weeks. That was Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14, 2016.
Three days later in the late afternoon, I received a call from my cousin who’d come to stay with my mom for the night. She said she had had to call an ambulance.
The next 17 days were filled with ups and downs, and Mother passed away on March 1, 2016. Seventeen days after I said I’d see her in 6-8 weeks she was gone.
That morning when I had said goodbye was the last time I saw her alive. I did not know it would be the last time.
We never know when the last time will be the last time. Say “I love you” to someone today. Don’t wait.
My mother was the one who taught me how to love.
She taught me how to love like Jesus does. She taught me to forgive. She taught me how to do laundry, make homemade biscuits (mine are never as good as hers), do laundry and fold clothes. She taught me how to love my husband and family. She knew how to love well, and she knew how to care for others.
The journey from that night at the hospital to the day we buried her was full of hills and valleys. The long days since have been filled with smiles and tears. I still pick up my phone to call her, and it has been almost a year.
She never looked 93…while she had some gray, most of her hair was still her natural brown.
She never acted 93…however 93 acts.
She never wanted more than to serve her Lord and be with friends and family. And play games. She LOVED to play games.
And now she has all of that and more.
We never gathered at my parents without having food. My husband says that my family would sit at the breakfast table and discuss what we were doing for lunch and dinner! There is some truth to that. Chocolate was always involved when we gathered, and I’d love to share my Easy Double Chocolate Brownies. These are not only super simple, they are beyond delicious! For a dinner party, I have cut them into bite-sized pieces and served them in a wine glass with ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. It may be the day after Valentine’s Day, but you can still make these for your sweetie this weekend!
*For more tips and photos, click here to see it on my blog where I shared it a few years ago.
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, cut into pieces
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
- MELT 1 cup morsels and butter in large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs. Stir in flour, sugar, vanilla extract and baking soda. Stir in remaining 1 cup morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.
- BAKE for 18 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.