The other night while my husband and I were getting the boys ready for bed, my 5 year old asked me that heart wrenching question that most parents only think of on their darkest days…
“Mommy, what will happen to me if you and daddy die?” he asked.
“Who will teach us?”
“Would someone come pick us up?”
“Do they know what we like to eat?”
After I sucked back the tears that were about to gush from my eyelids, I explained how many people loved him and his brothers. He’d never be alone. He’s always be loved.However, right after that, a vivid memory from my Mom’s last days crossed my mind. For those of you who do not know, I lost my mother when I was 21 to breast cancer. It’s been a little over 9 years at this point.
My mom was originally diagnosed with breast cancer when I was just 7 years old. My brother and sister are a bit older than me, but I have a few memories of that hard time now too. I remember visiting her in the hospital after her mastectomy. I thought she was having a baby :) I recall her vomiting before I caught the school bus in the morning. I know my cousin Marianne put my hair in a pony tail for school every morning because only my Mama knew how to do it. I know my grades dropped in school for a bit. I saw my dad cry. That was also when I began the difficult journey of anxiety and fear of losing my mother.
Mom’s cancer went into remission. I grew up. As did my older brother and sister. I graduated high school, then college, and then got married ridiculously young to my high school sweetheart. Mom saw it all. However, shortly after the wedding, the cancer had returned in her liver.
About three days before she died, I found out I was pregnant. I remember driving to the hospital late at night even though she told me to stay home and rest. I arrived after midnight. At this point we knew she’d be dying. Mom knew it and accepted. A follower of Jesus like no other, fear never overtook her faith. Especially in front of her children (good mothers do that).
I sat down by her hospital bed in the middle of the night and told her I was pregnant. I cried and said I wanted to give that baby back to God. I’d trade it so she could live. How could I live without my Mama?!!! I wouldn’t. I can’t. God couldn’t do this to me. I hated God in that moment. There seemed no point to any of this.
Then, in a whisper, my Mom told me she had a secret….
“Betsy,” she said. “I prayed to God many years ago when you were a little girl that He would let me live long enough to see you and your brother and sister grow up. So you wouldn’t have to go without a mother as a little girl. God answered that prayer. He gave me what I asked for. It’s time for me to go now.”
She also told me that to trade your baby for your Mom is crazy and I wouldn’t understand that lesson until the baby was born. It’s amazing how mom’s are always right, even on their death beds.
In that moment my son asked me that question last week, I felt the presence of my mother like no other time. And I prayed her prayer, “Lord, let me live long enough to see these boys grow up. Please don’t let them live life without a mother.”
Even 10 years after her death, my heart aches and tears flow. However, I am thankful God answered her prayer. I see everyday why He did what He did. Why He took her when He did. Now, I thank God for Mom’s answered prayer. I’m still sad. It still hurts when I see my girlfriends at their baby shower’s with their mother. My time with her was shorter than I’d like, but she was so awesome that I soaked up enough in that short time to be as amazing for my own kids.
Dang it ladies. We mothers are so important! On days when you’re feeling like all you do is dishes and laundry, know that even that is a precious gift to your child. So you work full time? So did my mom. The memories of you picking her up from day care will warm her heart when she’s crying those first nights in her dorm room.
You only have boys and they’ll leave you for wives and won’t come home for Christmas? Doesn’t matter. Those sons will treasure their mother forever. My brother does.
A mother cannot be replaced. YOU cannot be replaced.
My aunt has a magnet on her refrigerator that says “Home is where your mom is.” Oh how true that is. So many days I feel uneasy on this earth. I wonder why. When your Lord AND YO MOMMA are in heaven, you kinda feel a bit lost ;) LOL!
I pray that if you’re reading this, you live to be a little old lady and your children go as few days as possible without their mama.