It’s been a long four year battle with multiple myeloma cancer for my Mother in Love. She’s faced many difficult decisions bravely and has fought with ever ounce of courage she could muster throughout all the difficult treatments: stem cell transplant, radiation, chemo etc. A position she couldn’t have ever conceived being in before she got sick. I’d say she’s one of the toughest women I’ve ever seen.
Today I opened my Facebook. One of my memories from six years ago was a picture of us. As I looked at the photo, memories of the years we’ve known each other flooded my mind. Twenty- eight years ago we were introduced in the living room of her home. I’m not sure what she thought of a 21 year old college girl dating her 19 year old son. She has often retold our first encounter of me doing the “Kitty Rap” and her and my Father in love getting up out of bed to go and meet Richard’s girl friend. As she puts it, I am the one she had prayed with Rich about, when he asked her to pray one late night. He wanted for God to show him which girl he should pursue at the Christian Campus House I lived in. Eight months later we were married. So I’m glad God heard her prayers.
The day of our wedding as I stood in the reception line, she gave me a hug and told me, “I’ve had him for 19 years. He’s yours now.” I kind of wondered what that meant. It was almost passing off the prized pet or something, but now I understand. She never interfered in our marriage. She just wanted to be my friend. In fact, from the beginning she made sure I knew I was another one of her kids.
That probably didn’t sink in to my head until my husband and I had been married for around 5 years, and we had to move back to his hometown for a job opportunity. He took a pay cut for a job that had insurance, permanence, and opportunities to grow. It also meant we would have to live with his parents for a few months. Something that I was less than thrilled about. I kind of liked my space… But it was in those three months, while my husband was off to work and it was me, my two year old son, and her around the house, that I realized that she was another mom to me, and just how blessed I was. Us Laying out together in her yard and getting sunburned while my toddler took a nap is one of the first memories just how crazy and fun loving she could be.
For years we did a lot together: Trips to the Mennonite and Amish communities to shop their bakeries and surplus stores, camping, shopping, going to the nursery to buy plants, vacations together, Christmas morning biscuits and gravy (she cooked) , etc. She even hopped in the “Tilt a Whirl” with me at the State fair one time about 10 years ago. She laughed and laughed as the ride jerked us around and she practically ended up in my lap. Then there’s the photo op with the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile. We’ve had lots of fun times through the years.
My Mother in Love has tried hard to be a good grandma, and she has been to my kids. When my husband worked 12 hour shifts 6 days a week she would watch them for me so I could go grocery shopping on my own. She kept them for overnights so my husband and I could get away on our anniversary every year. She thoroughly enjoyed my kids telling her that she could peel apples better than me and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches better than me too, not sure how that is accomplished but my 25 year old son would still attest to her PB&J making expertise. She’s got 18 grandkids total and I’m sure if polled they would attest to what a wonderful Grandma she has been.
Our trips and experiences lately, haven’t been as fun although we’ve tried to make the best out of them we could. When she was diagnosed with Cancer, she could barely walk. I took her to appointments at the oncologist and others. It was hard on me. I’m not one for doctors, needles, and such. Sitting in the waiting rooms watching the people go by. Some looking like they had recently been diagnosed with fear in their eyes. Others looking like a miracle would be all that could help them as they had lost weight, strength, etc. My mother in love however did her appointments with grace visiting with everyone in the waiting room and smiling all the while. She’s a fighter and she fought back. She ended up walking into the clinic by herself after driving to the city from our small town for treatment by herself. (something she probably never thought she could do) And she did so for a few years, until recently when the treatment options have run out.
My Mother in Love is a woman of faith. Ten seconds with her and you would figure that out. So her fight has been with God fighting for her. She still stands believing that God is not done though the doctor says he (the doctor) is. She believes for a miracle and trusts God when many would be tempted to give up.
I tend to be an “I want to know the details” kind of person. Hoping to understand what’s going on so I can know what to expect and make good choices. Sometimes this has ran up against her desire for me to “just believe and trust God for healing”. Throughout this whole ordeal I have often prayed and asked God to give her what we all desire, her healing. I know He is able and He is good.
Wednesday the doctor did not say the things we had hoped he would say at her appointment. Her condition has come to a place where it has to be God for her to be whole. I told her a week ago that I knew no matter what she was in a win/ win situation. For her to live here on earth is Christ, being able to show all those around her God’s love and faithfulness she has experienced in her own life. But for her to die is gain. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than leaving all the pain, sickness, and sadness we experience to be with Jesus. That is truly a gain. She told me she knew that was true, but she felt like she wasn’t done. So many more prayers to pray. So many more people to point to Jesus with her light.
This morning when our photo of us in front of the Wiener Mobile popped up on my Facebook page memories like I’ve just shared flooded my mind. The words I’ve written above overflowed in my heart and I began to think of all the things I need to say/ write. Things like, Thank you for being a wonderful mom to my husband and me. Thank you for being the best Grandma you could be. Thank you for modeling how to love your husband. Thank you for being there for me the past 28 years. Know that I’m asking God for more years and I know He has you in His hand. I love you! Just wanted you to know. These are the things I need to say.