Time check: 5:30am.
While most people are sleeping, here I am dancing with my thoughts, yet again, while tears trickle down my cheeks as I remember my mother.
I never thought I’d miss someone this much until I lost her. In a way, we knew that it was coming. It was only a matter of time until I would have to face the heartbreaking reality of losing her.
In Nursing School, I learned about the Active Dying phase, what happens to the body when you’re at the end of life yet no matter how hard I ignore it, my mama was already showing signs that she was on her way to Heaven.
I hugged my mom as she slipped away and I felt her body tremble and then it stopped. I cried – hard. Harder than I ever did. So on a dark afternoon, on November 5 at 5:20pm, I became a motherless daughter.
I realized that in grief, I could only focus on our good memories and all the things I wish I was able to do for her and with her. Guilty? Yes, because maybe I could’ve done more for her. But I read that guilt and regrets come when you’re grieving even though you already did your best when they were still alive.
I realized she would not be there for any occasions or holidays nor would she ever get the opportunity to be a grandmother to my children. I think of her every single day, she is the first thought on my mind the minute I wake up and she is the last thought before I lay my head down to go to sleep.
And today, I am going to share the life lessons I’ve learned from my Mama as I take this journey of healing.
My mama was a generous person. Not only with her money but with her love and time. When I was young, I had a hard time understanding why she spent so much time with other people, be it to teach them, to have them over for a meal or simply to talk with them.
When I was younger, she spent her Saturdays with the girls in Home for Girls and I would tag along. When I graduated college, she would go out with her friends for game night or have them come over.
She would also organize Missions Trips, locally and internationally.
Then I slowly understood that she was doing things not just for the sake of doing it but all for God’s glory. She was dedicated to Missions that even on her deathbed, her request was still to build funds for God’s Mission.
Eat Healthy and Get Moving
Oatmeal cookies, homemade sandwiches, baked treats, steamed sweet potatoes and bananas, omelettes, vegetable dishes, my mom tried her best to feed us with non-processed foods.
There were no junk foods in the pantry or even frozen foods like hotdogs and ham because she preferred fresh produce and believed that having a healthy lifestyle will go a long way. And it did.
26 years ago, she was diagnosed with an Autoimmune Hepatitis. When she passed, I saw her notebooks filled with lots of health tips, healthy food lists and it brought tears to my eyes because I have the same lists on my journals. Like her, I also wanted to give her the best foods and meals that could help her in some way.
When my mom was on the heavier side, she played basketball everyday at home. That’s when she started to lose weight. She would go walking, do water aerobics and at some point we went to the gym together.
She didn’t let her illness define her, she continued to do what she wanted to do while trying her best to take care of her body.
Life is for the living, so live it.
My Mama had a great social life. She went out more than I did and spent a great amount of time with her friends. She had a lot of great friendships that has withstood the test of time and I could say that she has lived her life.
She knew we were opposites as I prefer to stay in my room than go out on a Friday night so she would come knock on my door and tell me that we’re going to eat out so I could go out of the house. A week after she passed, I find myself going out more than I ever did for the past months.
What’s holding you back from living the life God wants you to live? I learned that my mom didn’t use her illness as an excuse. She lived her life and had fun doing it.
Life is too short. Read that again.
God Comes First then Family
Not to brag but my Mama was a great homemaker. While people over 18 are excited to live away from their parents, I was the opposite. I loved staying at my parents house.
I travel a lot but I always go home as I couldn’t bear leaving the house for too long. I admit, even after I got married, I still wanted to stay at home. And in less than a year, we did. And I’m glad we did because I get to spend more time with my family.
Proverbs 3:6 says, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” And she did. I couldn’t remember who taught me how to pray but she constantly remind us that we should read our bibles and pray.
She taught me how to tithe and it’s something she doesn’t take lightly. She always tell us to take 10% from everything we receive and to have the right attitude while we give it. She would then quote Malachi 3:10, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
Pray, Pray, Pray
I couldn’t keep count on how many prayers I’ve said but I also couldn’t keep count of how many blessings I received.
Yes, we don’t always get the answers we want in our prayers yet we also receive great things that we didn’t prayed for.
During the hard times of my life, Mama always told me to pray. When great things happen, she told me to pray and thank God.
Be Grateful and Thankful
Thanksgiving celebration will be different this year. Not just because of Covid-19 but because it will be our first without my mama with us.
She was always the one who was big on events like these so we’ll try our best to remain thankful and grateful despite of the loneliness her absence brought in our lives and the limitations/restrictions of being in a pandemic.
We are used to celebrating Thanksgiving in church with our huge potluck party and I invite friends over but this year we’ll be celebrating at home on Thursday afternoon instead of Sunday noon.
Today I choose to be grateful and thankful even though I have a hole in my heart. I miss my mama so much. I am grateful for my family because even in grief they give me a reason to be happy. I am grateful that I have a partner who understands my mood swings and embraces my imperfections. I am grateful for my clients for being so understanding that I have to take some time off during my mama’s wake and a week after that. I am grateful for my cousins who never fail to make me laugh and feel good. I am grateful for God for His sustaining grace and for showering me with blessings in hard times.
Life may not go the way we planned, prayer requests may not have been answered the way we want to, trials and sadness may be happening every day but I’m so sure that there is always, always something to be thankful for every day.
There are more life lessons I want to share but it’s already 6:31am and I have a meeting at 7am. Which reminds me to be grateful for my Mama because she prayed that I would get more contracts when I lost a big one at the start of the pandemic. I am grateful to be blessed with a prayerful mother.