Saturday, 27 August 2011


My Mom (on left) 2008 on the beach in Spain.
“Just be glad you can.”
Those were the words of my mom to me today…as I complained briefly about not wanting to do housework. 

She said them as she lay on her couch, pillow propped under her knees, another cushioning her feet.  She’s always been a small woman, but these days she’s smaller than she ever has been.  She is wearing cotton pajama bottoms, a t-shirt. Her face is lacking any makeup although one doesn’t really notice that.  As she lays there, propped up with pillows, there is a table next to her with her laptop, another with a bowl of fruit and a couple glasses, one with water and the other with juice.  At her far side, resting between her side and the back of the couch is a machine, with a tube, that is constantly pumping medications into her body, medications that are designed to keep her comfortable.

“Just be glad you can.”

As my mom spoke those words, her face grimaced with pain, as she fought against it and I could see a greater pain in her eyes than just that which her body was putting her through. And then I recalled my response to her “Yes, I know.  I remember well what it was like to lay in that hospital while I was pregnant with Isaac, unable to clean or cook or do laundry for myself. It was a great day when I could finally wash my own laundry.”

And I realized that what I felt during those days is nothing like what my mom must be feeling as she says those words.  My mom is dying.  She won’t ever do any of those things again.

I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like.  As I have thought of my mom’s passing, I have thought of the many occasions she will not be a part of, the big moments in the lives of myself, my sister and my children.  I have thought of the many mundane moments we won’t have with her.  I’ve thought of how much we will miss her and her sense of humor, her jokes (even if they are sometimes really corny).  I’ve thought of how much I will miss being able to cry my heart out and to hear her say “It’s okay.  I love you and it’s going to be okay.”  Those things are all so incredibly hard for me to think about.

It never occurred to me how hard it must be for my mom. 

“Just be glad you can.”

There are days when I complain about having to get up and go to work.  There are days when I do everything I can to avoid having to do the laundry or housework that desperately needs to be done.  There are days when I am so tired that the last thing I want to do is get up in the middle of the night to attend to my child.

“Just be glad you can.”

There are moments when I am exhausted and don’t feel like I can give one more bit of myself to anyone else and a friend calls needing me to be a friend.  There are moments when the last thing I feel like doing is taking another step up that trail that doesn’t seem to want to end with my children at my side, even though the end of that trail, never explored by us before, could be just around the corner.  There are days when I complain that I can’t afford the big vacation to somewhere tropical.

“Just be glad you can.”

I find myself grateful for the dirt on my floor, dragged in by the cats, the dog and the kids, that I will vacuum up…not because I have to….but because I can.

Thank you, Mom, for reminding me of that.  And thank you for the many words, the many lessons, the many moments you have given us through the years just because you could.  And even now doing as much as you can when you can…because you can.  I love you.

What things do you take for granted and wish you didn't have to do?  Which of those things, if you couldn't do them, would you miss doing?  How can you begin to apply the idea of doing everything all for the glory of God....a verse my mom has endeavored to live out every day for as long as I can remember?  In what ways does your perspective need to change?


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