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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Five Years

Earlier this week, as I painted my sons bedroom,  I had a one sided discussion with my mother, Karen. It was October 8th ~ what would have been her 67th birthday. I told her how I had dropped her grandson off at school then stopped by a bakery and ate a cherry turnover alone in her memory. There were no candles, only a warm heart burning brightly for her.

In a quiet house I applied deep aqua to the walls and wondered what had been her favorite color. It is one of hundreds of questions that I have no answers to.

My mother celebrated her last birthday on earth at the age of 26  in 1973. She passed away in July of 1974, a month shy of my sixth birthday, from complications of a brain tumor. A cancer that doctors diagnosed her with when I was just two weeks old.

Earlier this week many of you probably read the front page story on CNN of Brittany Maynard, age 29, who has a brain tumor and is opting to choose November 1 as the day of her death. As I watched Brittany’s video, coincidently on October 8th,  I cried buckets of tears and sobbed deep guttural sounds. I cried for her and I cried for her choice. 

I could not put into words at that moment why I was so affected but I prayed, oh how I prayed for Brittany and her family.

Later than same night I read Kara Tippets response to Brittany’s announcement. Kara is currently batting a terminal cancer that has metastasized throughout her entire body. She has four young children. She continues to fight for one more day with every fiber of her being.

As I read Kara’s response my heart said “Yes, yes, a million times, Yes!”

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 3.51.07 PM

I can’t begin to know the journey that these two women are currently walking. Each choosing to travel a different path. But I do know what it is to be the person left behind with a deep sorrowful grief and a lifetime of questions.

More than anything I am so thankful to my mother that she endured painful chemo and countless surgeries all in the name of time and days. I am so glad that one of her last letters to me was telling me how much she loved Jesus and there was beauty still to come.

Because of my mothers courage we had five years together.

Five years of birthdays. Five years of trying to count raindrops. Five years tasting icy popsicles. Five years of smelling every rose we saw. Five years of Christmases.

1-Mom[3]

Brittany, I am praying that on November 1st you will have a change a heart and decide to have one more Christmas, maybe even two.

Laura

“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:13

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

17 comments :

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such a beautiful and heart warming post. Tears and prayers for all.

Rhonda said...

Your words are powerful and meaningful. I hope you have the sweet memories of your short time with your mother to hang on to.
Blessings to you and these strong women who battled this disease.

Gypsy Heart said...

Laura, I so understand what you are saying. However, I understand Brittany's position too. I believe that when a genuine quality of life is gone, then a person should have the right for death with dignity. I watched my mother deteriorate for years...she didn't know anyone, she had pain off and on until Hospice and there was absolutely no quality of life. I railed at God...I had every emotion under the sun. Why did she have to go through this? Of course, I don't have that answer here on earth...perhaps I will in Heaven. I do think we're kinder to animals than we are to humans in this way.

I am so very sorry about your mom. Breaks my heart that she had to go at such a young age.

There are so many other horrid diseases that take away a person's dignity and quality of life ~ ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc. I have no clue what might be the "right" choice for anyone. I pray for Brittany and her family as well as Kara and hers. May God give them peace and wisdom.

xo
Pat

Blondie's Journal said...

I am so sad that you lost your mother at such a young age. And that she went so soon. I am shocked by Brittany's story, as I think most people are. Personally, I would choose to live as long as possible, if only to see my children's faces just one more day. But the pain...who knows how much we can endure? And I respect the choices of others so I can't comment on Brittany's choice, I'm not in her shoes.

Thank you for a enlightening post.

Jane xx

Lorrie said...

Ah Laura - such a wonderful life-affirming post.

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

What a gift your dear mother gave you, Laura—herself... for as long as possible. One day you can thank her in person, and she can tell you how proud of you she is. What a glorious day that will be!

Linda said...

I think this is beautiful, thank you so much for sharing it.
Love, Linda

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

*Sigh*

So sad - all of it. Just so so sad.

I am praying for end to cancer- tired of saying goodbye too.

(((((Laura))))))) < hugs for you

Kelley said...

Until then
My heart will go on singing
Until then
With joy I'll carry on
Until the day
My eyes behold that City
Until the day
God calls me home.

What a love tribute to your beautiful mother. Thoughts for you today, dear daughter of hers.

*hugs*
Kelley~

Debbie said...

I am giving myself the gift of time this morning to sit and enjoy posts in blog land and hopefully get caught up. I can't say that the word "enjoy" is one I would use here. What I will say instead is that I am so deeply moved by it and nod in quiet agreement to everything you wrote. You have, as we say in my neck of the woods, "worn your mother well. "

Rita C. said...

Oh, Laura, I am so conflicted, confused, as I read your post today. I would only hope that if it were me, my answer would come, quickly, through prayer. I know God answers in His time, not ours, so my desire may not be granted in that situation. My heart is heavy on this post, and I wish you comfort as you remember your mother.

Auntie Em said...

We can't judge other decisions or walk in their shoes to know their reasons but we can pray for their peace and strength to do what it right for them. I wonder if this poor little soul had any idea when she told her story what an impact it would have around the world. Something so personal and difficult has brought so much awareness and discussion to this issue. I wonder if she had been a homely old man with no family or a woman we had not seen in her beautiful wedding photos we would have given it a second thought? It really has made so many pause and ponder 'What if I were in her shoes?'

Christine said...

Heavy heart....
Sad heart........
Joy knowing that you will see your mother again!

Angela said...

I am very sorry for the loss of your mother at such a young age, but I am touched by her letter to you. You will see her again in Heaven.

Carol said...

I have no words, Laura, just a heavy heart and prayers for you, Brittany and Kara.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

What a lovely tribute to your mother! When my mother died, I was too young and I was 33; can't imagine how it would have been to lose her at 5, as you did yours.

Katie Mansfield said...

Gorgeous photo of you and your mom. My own mom endured 7 years of treatment. Beautiful post.