Monday, May 9, 2011

"Happy" Mother's Day

Yes, today is the day. Mother's Day. A day I sometimes dread, but a day I can reflect and appreciate the things I have.

Seven years ago, my mom passed away from cancer. It was one of the hardest things I've had to face in my life so far. I was eighteen, a freshman in college, and oblivious to how bad the cancer was. Not because I was young and only cared about myself, but because I was a little more protected than some of the rest of my family. I was in a place where I think a lot of us are comfortable. "Nothing bad will happen to me. It happens to other people, but not to me or my family." Needless to say, I was in total shock when I got a call at work that Monday morning from my brother-in-law saying I needed to go now if I wanted to see my mom again.

There are so many memories from those few days. Sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday, but then I realize I haven't seen my mom for seven years, and it feels like a lot longer than that. There are times when I get a 'woe is me' attitude. Like when I got married, basically any holiday, when I get sick, and mostly when I've had kids. It's no fun not having my mom there to call up to ask about what to do with a sick baby, to vent about a bad day, to ask for advice with a new calling. Knowing what my kids are missing out on. Knowing that they won't ever get to experience the feeling my mom could give anyone in her presence. It sucks actually. But, as we know, we do most of our growing through difficult trials. I'd like to remind myself out loud things that help get me through these hard times.

*My family. Obviously. My dad, my 7 sisters, and my 2 brothers. Not to mention their husbands and wives. My family is the strength that holds me together. I have limitless knowledge at my fingertips. I know I don't talk to each member of my family daily. That would be ridiculous. And expensive. But each have their importance to me. Their advice that I need. Their support. Their love.

*Friends. All of them. Friends driving from California and Washington for the funeral. Being able to call friends on the phone, hysterical basically, from the hospital. Friends coming to the hospital to visit and help calm me. So many friends who showed they cared. I remember getting a card from a friend. He was in my ward in college. I hardly knew him at the time. It was the nicest thing ever. To know someone cared, who didn't even know me that well. He still texts me on Mother's Day to tell me he's thinking about me. Flowers from my roommates who were in California at the time, where I would have been less than 24 hours after that phone call at work. Calls from close friends and not so close friends. The lesson in church that next Sunday about losing loved ones from the girl who played the violin. It's crazy what I remember from that time, even with the brain that I have.

*A blessing I got from my Branch President when I lived in Denver. He told me that when I miss my mom, to think of memories of her, and it would lift me up. He also told me to ask, "What would mom do in this situation?" and then, "What should I do?" It's not always easy. I know I often don't make the right decisions, definately not the decisions my mom would make, but that doesn't mean I have to give up.

*Memories of my mom. One memory that for some reason sticks out in my mind so much was of I think the Thursday before my mom passed away. She was in the hospital and most of our family came to visit. There were a bunch of us in that hospital room just hanging out, talking, and laughing. I remember specifically looking at my mom. I remember her sitting in her hospital bed with her eyes closed, listening to her family, and smiling. I remember feeling the spirit so strong. I remember thinking, "She knows what this is all about. She is taking this all in, and loves it." She went home that weekend, just to end up back in the hospital that last time a day later. I remember another time after a really bad day in high school. I went to her school where she was teaching. I peeked in the room with a tear-filled face. She just left her classroom full of students to come give me a hug out in the hall. She didn't say anything, I don't think. She just had that gift of fixing my problems, like I'm sure all moms have.

My mom was amazing. Those to really knew her, knew this. She had this talent, a talent I've found in few others, to make everyone around them feel like they are the most important person to them. She could read people. People were drawn to her. She made people feel so comfortable around her. She was the kindest, most genuine person I have ever known. Her hugs made the world better. Her example reached and influenced so many.

Something a friend of my moms wrote about her, "Lourene was a very thoughtful and sentimental person. She cried easily and often when talking to her, her eyes would fill with tears." This is something I must have definately got from my mom. I get tears in my eyes all of the time. People always ask me if I'm ok. It's something that I haven't loved about myself because I get a little embarassed, but apparently it isn't such a bad thing. I'll keep telling myself that.

I think of the quote by Joseph Smith. "God will feel after you, and he will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God." I'm not saying I'm fit for an interitance in the Celestial Kingdom, but I can say that it is my ultimate goal. It is something I think about always, and something I'm striving for daily. It's easy to lose sight of our goals, to give in to moments of weakness. I do it often. But knowing that we have a Father in Heaven who knows us better than we do makes things easier. It's something we can't do alone, but we can with the help of our Savior. I am so thankful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation. That truth is probably what really has helped me the most through times of trial, especially with losing my mom. I'm so grateful for that knowledge and am so blessed to be a member of His church. I'm so blessed to know that a loving Savior made it possible to be with my family forever. Even without my mom here, I'm so blessed. I have the most amazing husband anyone in the world could ask for. He's perfect for me in every way. Two beautiful kids who are the joy of my life. An amazing family, family in law, and friends. I have countless blessings. Thanks to you all for being who you are to me.

Onto another note, I love being a mother. I'm SO lucky to be able to stay home with my kids all day every day! Yeah, it's hard and sometimes I think I might lose my marbles, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Macie is the sweetest thing. She makes me laugh all of the time. She is such a great helper. She has the sweetest smile. Noah is so sweet, too! He is such a good boy and makes me feel so loved. He brings a smile to my face every time I see him. I have the best kids ever!

One sister told me awhile back that she makes Mother's Day all about her. It helps. We deserve it! I hope all you mothers out there really do have a great Mother's Day, and that you appreciate the blessing of mothers in every aspect of your lives...whether you have a mother, or you are a mother. It's the greatest gift EVER!