Wednesday, February 15, 2012

for the love of linda lou...

i consider myself one lucky girl,
to be in this woman's life.
she didn't choose me,
her son did.
well, if she had known me first...
she probably would have picked me. :)
that makes her my

and, you know what they
say about in-laws.
"they say"
they are complicated.
you are told to make sure and
set good boundaries..
and the list of "helpful" suggestions is never ending.

that's why i consider myself lucky.
lucky.lucky.lucky me.
i love my in-laws.
my husband loves his in-laws.
in fact, we actually don't use the title, in-laws,
we did away with that term.
we call each other's parents
mom and dad,
and siblings-sisters and brothers.
we are family.
and terms and titles put no such boundaries
on the love we have for each other's family.

one of my first memories
with mom was when i broke
my leg playing soccer.
i was dating ben at the time,
and i lived in a house with 8 girls in heritage hill.
we had a lot of, ben asked his parents 
if i could move in with them for a couple weeks.
mom took care of me.
she brought me breakfast, lunch and conversation each time
she came in my room to see me.  
as i started to heal a bit and use my crutches,
i became very interested in our conversations...
so, i would head upstairs for more.
i was used to living with 8 girls-
there were always conversations to be had!
poor mom.  she didn't know what
ben was getting her into.
it seems a lifetime i had with her
and yet, i wish it were more.
only 12 years...certainly not enough.

in the last year and a half...
once we knew it was cancer
that she would battle with again,
i promised myself that i would
take in as much as i could
from her.

without her even knowing it...
she became my teacher, and i her student.
i watched how one ties up the end of their life.
how it is done.
it was as if she unfolded a message with
each conversation we had.  she would often
give me advice for olivia and will's future.
we would venture into unknown territories
as she would talk about what life must be like on heaven's side. 
i hope to be as intentional as she was
in spending time on important things...

when her cancer was brought up,
it was clear that though
cancer had wracked her precious body,
it did not have her.
He had her...her Lord and Savior.
He kept her in the palm of His hand.

i never heard a complaint out of her about her pain...
and, there was pain.
severe, chronic, exhausting pain.

after her 6th stint replacement for her bladder,
i remember telling her how angry i was
at the cancer for doing such damage to her 
once, very healthy body.
her response-
"this brings me closer to Jesus,
this all brings me closer to Him."
how am i coping?
most days, i tell myself that she is up north with her sissies...
visiting her brothers.
i really won't accept that she isn't with us anymore.
not now anyway.

every day, olivia tells me that she misses her amma.
and every night, she asks God to tell amma how much
we miss her.  she also asks him to remind jack, bailey and
our cousin aaron that we miss them too.

we are starting to write down her memories with amma.
so one day, she will have them-in her own words-
to be able to share with will, millie and sweet baby henry.
mom's other precious loves.

olivia's auntie gave her some necklaces that were mom's.
she asks to wear them all the time.
they make her feel close to amma.

yesterday, was will's official adoption day.
valentine's day.
i wanted to feel close to mom too...
so i wore a bracelet that she gave me
a few years ago at christmas.
it's one of my favorite bracelets.
i just needed to bring her into our day somehow.
she loved will so much.  mom and olivia were the only
ones that could make him bust out into a big belly laugh.

she would have loved yesterday.
and she would have been so proud of ben.
 hearing him speak so eloquently in front of the court
about our son and what his life means to us...

we had a small gathering after the court hearing-
and, i used her water pitcher.
{the place just needed a little touch of linda lou.}
 i also bought swedish coffee.
i don't think she ever made swedish coffee...
{i'm sure she brought some back from sweden
when she went with her brothers and sisters a few years ago.}
but, it reminded me of something special she would have liked.

mom always did something special for
ben and i on valentine's day.
one year it was white candles with red hearts
to decorate our table,
another year she gave us conversation date cards,
other times, she volunteered to take olivia
so that we could go out...
there was always something. special.
so, the swedish coffee was my valentine-something special
to mom...

anyway, she would have loved that will's special day
 landed on valentine's day.

we love you mom.
every day.  we love you.


Bryan said...

I always enjoy reading your thoughts and I especially enjoyed these thoughts about Linda. She is missed. Her spirit is missed. I walk into church sometimes and just notice something is missing. That something is Linda's presence. She has touched my life in so many ways, ways that I hadn't really even realized until recently. Anyway I just wanted to share that with you.
Love and Prayers,
Becky Ross

becka bruderer said...

Your words, the way you describe her.... I feel like I knew her. She Sounds so beautiful, so eloquent, loving and kind..... she is you. The way you describe her is how I see you. You embody her character..... I may not have known her, but I would dare say She is proud. ;)


Lori said...

So beautifully written Jaren! I can feel the love that you have for Linda! Praying for you and your family!
Love you!

Anonymous said...

just wonderful cousin....


Anonymous said...

You covered it all, Jaren! I just feel God gave Linda gifts of love through her family that was so very special as He knew she would be gone from us. Of course, the writing and pictures made me cry, AGAIN!!

Aunt Lois

Shelly said...

I held it together until the "bracelet" part. You touch my heart, sweet friend. I too, wear a special bracelet(s) grandmother's charm bracelets from the travels of my grandparents. As a young child I always loved looking at them when she wore them. She left them for me when she passed. If I am missing her I always go straight to her bracelets. Isn't it amazing how much warmth and comfort a bracelet, such simple metal, can give to an emotionally cold moment? Hugs.

Ben&Sam said...

Beautiful. It is the only word I think when I remember her and your words were perfection. You are so lucky to have called her mom.