It’s Always Hard to Lose Your Mother — No Matter How Old You Are
Memories of Mom and reflections on life and legacy
Before the end of my life, I hope to accomplish all the things God has placed on my heart to do, I think, as I sit, staring at my mother’s obituary.
My mother has been gone for nearly 19 years, and coming across her obituary recently while going through some of my scrapbooks and journals makes me realize her death has affected me more than I realized.
Mom had been ill for a long time before her passing, and we all knew her time to leave us was closing in. She had lived a long life, and at 85 years old was but a shell of her former self. Yet, when the news of her passing came, I realized I was not ready for it. It was too final.
My mother was gone. I would never see or speak with her in this life again.
As I sat in the funeral home, making the arrangements for her burial and funeral, I felt a part of me was going away with her, and I didn’t want that to happen.
“It’s always hard to lose your mother,” someone said to me, “no matter how old you are.”
And I was finding that to be true, even now, years later. Though Mom has been gone since October 2000, I still miss her and all that she did to be a part of my life.
These thoughts and feelings cause me to think of all I want to accomplish before I have to leave this world.
Each day is a treasure to be used for good — not wasted, but spread around for others to enjoy, somehow, someway. I need to count the minutes and make the minutes count, I think, then I might be able to accomplish all that God wants me to do one minute at a time before my life ends.
“Today is a gift — that’s why it’s called The Present”
A plaque hanging on my wall suddenly comes into view, and as I gaze over to the other side of the room, my eyes fall upon Mom’s old red patent leather purse, which I was able to keep after her passing.
The purse isn’t anything special in itself — just another “handbag,” as Mom called it. Yet, to me it still brings back many memories of her and our family times together.
You see, the purse used to hold a lot of photographs of our family over the years — pictures of me, my brother, sister, mom, dad, family pets and relatives — all sorts of happy and funny memories of times gone by.
Some of my favorite times as a child were spent with the family all sitting around our big kitchen table looking at those photos in the purse.
Mom wasn’t one to throw away anything useful. She had lived through the Great Depression, so she was very frugal. Using this old purse to store photographs, instead of putting them elsewhere, was her way of recycling things.
Looking at the purse now, I am reminded of rainy days spent sitting in our big kitchen, purse emptied in the middle of the table, photos spread out all over.
Mom, my brother, my sister and I, each excitedly reach for a photo to look at and exclaim over. We share and chatter, reminisce and laugh, over each one. What fond memories that old purse now holds for all of us, especially since Mom is gone.
I wonder if Mom pondered, as I do, if she was accomplishing all the things God had prepared for her to do while she was here on earth.
I know she believed, and had great faith. Yet, she never spoke about such things as legacy to me.
Perhaps, if she did ponder, her hope might have been to leave a legacy of faith, honesty, hard work, and dedication to her home and family. I believe she did that.
I don’t think she had any thoughts of accomplishing anything that would greatly impact the outside world around her, as I often do. She was a very private person who loved her home and family. So, with that in mind, I am led to think she did accomplish what God wanted her do to.
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” — Billy Graham
Goodbye, Mom. You will always be a part of me — in my thoughts and in my values. I am glad you were my mom. I am glad for the legacy of character and faith that you left me. I hope I can do the same for my family, as well as for the world around me, before I leave this life on earth.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
— Leona J. Atkinson