My mom died.
I find myself whispering those three words to myself – just so that I can remember that it really happened. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. I flew to my childhood home to be with my parents after the disturbing news and while I was visiting she took a turn for the worse. Now I am sitting in her living room surrounded by the flowers from her funeral enveloped in so many memories.
Memories of her singing me to sleep while playing her guitar or accordion. Memories of elaborate puppet shows, birthday cakes, craft projects and meals that she gifted to us. I won’t soon forget sitting on the foot of her bed telling her all about my first date and her support as I told her that I wanted to travel to Mexico as a young teen. No matter how far I traveled from home, she was always waiting for me. The living room light was always on and the cabinets filled with my favorite treats whenever I walked in the side door. When I was stressed – I called mom. When I needed understanding, mom was the one I would seek out. Never did I need that more than when my own babies began calling me mom. She wore the role of mom well – but her glory days were her years as Nana. She drove two hours to Lansing just to babysit my sweet babies and give me a chance to get out of the house. She flew to China with suitcases brimming with treats and treasures to visit her grand babies and I can’t tell you how many times she opened her house to our chaos. She read books about adoption, printed out every newsletter, and prayed for each step that we took.
One of my favorite meals in her home was a Thanksgiving when she invited several of the international students from MSU. The students from India, China and the Middle East were soon calling her mom as she served them her apple pie. That particular holiday wasn’t unusual as I think back. There was always someone being added to our table, a guest to invite, a person that she wanted to make sure wasn’t alone.
When I called to tell my parents that we were adopting Benjamin – I was nervous. My parents have supported me through every crazy adventure, but I wondered if this one would be pushing even their boundaries. I began the conversation with, “I just want to remind you that you raised me this way.” Such a true story. They taught me to follow Jesus, to walk by faith and to love others. Before I could even get out the whole story of this adoption that was not planned, my mom interrupted and asked, “what is my new grandson’s name?” She knew. She accepted. She loved. There is always room for one more.
My mom died.
I can hardly believe that the next time I come home she won’t be sitting in the living room with the light on waiting for me. My only comfort – knowing that she is waiting for me in our eternal home. I just know that she is saving me a seat ready to show me all of the treasures that heaven has for both of us. What a homecoming that will be. Until then, I can hear her cheering me on – “there is always room for one more.” May I live that calling out – always inviting, always loving, and brining more folks home to heaven.