Belinda right now, is somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, heading east, on her way to spend precious time with her dear mum. Godspeed Belinda!
Twenty years ago today my own mom went absent from the body and present with the Lord. (Technically, since it's after midnight, it was yesterday, but for all intents and purposes and since my day hasn't ended yet, it was twenty years ago today - October 5, 1987)
I was talking to my sister about it this evening. "It doesn't feel like 20 years ago," I said. "Mom just seems so much closer than that." She agreed. (Just for the record, Brenda is the BEST sister in the world - the best gift Mom and God ever gave me - and comments from time to time on this blog. You can read her own reflections of this day and our mom at www.brenda.gresik.ca . )
Mom was an incredible person. When she left at just 61 years of age, it was way too early. The impact she made on people was that if she loved you, you knew it. She made it easy to love her in return. If you were one of her kids, you couldn't pass Mom in the hallway without her arms being thrown around you, pulling you into a long, hard hug and a spontaneous, "Ooo, I love you". She made each one of the three her children feel like they were her very favourite kid, and indeed we were.
Mom gave the gift of time. It didn't matter how often you called, she was always happy to hear from you, always had time for you. Even when I called her at work. She spent much of her vacation time serving the people she loved - helping with a new baby, or coming for a visit sometimes just to help you clean your basement, or paint your kitchen.
Mom was a lover of God and pursued him diligently. In her later years, she got up very early, seeking after him every morning before going into her day, leaving behind a number of notebooks and journals and a Bible that was liberally marked up with verses underlined and comments in the margins. You didn't have to wonder - ever - if Mom was praying for you. Her faithfulness in prayer was something you could count on. Always.
I'm often aware of her presence in that "cloud of witnesses" that surrounds us. In many ways, she seems even closer today than when she left 20 years ago. I catch the faintest glimpse of her smiling back at me on occasion when I look in the mirror. She's in the curve of my lip somewhere when I smile, and in the shape of my eyes.
Psalm 121 was her favourite and I share it with you today in the King James Version she memorized, and often quoted to me. I can hear her speaking it over me still, and over all those she loved, even today.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
I miss you Mom. Twenty years later and I still miss you. I will miss you every day of my life and look forward with all my heart to when I will see you again... We all do!