Mom is heavy on my mind today. Not only is March 20th her birthday, our first without her on this plane, but she died four months ago today at age 91. She passed peacefully in her bed on that beautiful clear Sunday, with my family by her side. Even our dog, Karma, would not leave until she crossed the veil.
My brother and his family had called about an hour earlier, so she’d had her children “together” in the room even though she couldn’t respond. And her special Hospice nurse had arrived to help me administer medicine. Mom had just reached the end stage in her cancer journey, and could not speak, move, eat, or open her eyes. But Hospice confirmed she could hear us and feel our touch. Mom knew she was loved. Not just by us telling her over and over, but by the legion of family, neighbors and friends who called, visited and sent notes and cards throughout her illness.
I shared a quiet moment with Mom early that Sunday morning. I held her hand and told her all the things I loved about her and our life together over the years. I was grateful for all she had taught me. I was happy she moved in with us after her stroke and felt blessed we could share in her cancer journey. I recognized the impact she’d made on her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, colleagues and friends. And especially on my daughter, Kayla. Mom, Memaw, was her only grandparent, and they’d shared a special bond from the moment Kayla was born. Kayla was now a high school sophomore and they were still very close. Mom would often say that her favorite thing to do at our house was “watch Kayla grow.”
LOVE OVER MONEY
Mom did not have much money in life, and what she did have she easily and frequently shared. More importantly, Mom had faith like a mountain and love like the sea. She gave and shared both in generous amounts, especially to her family.
My Aunt Lib used to say, “You can’t pull a U-Haul behind your casket.” Money is a useful tool, and it can buy, create and allow for some wonderful things. But it’s not the end game, the ultimate goal, the biggest treasure, or the reason to live. Love is. And though you can’t bank it, store it, count it, stack it or weigh it like gold bars, it is the only wealth that stores in heaven. How? Because it’s easily measured by the good you leave behind: the sick you’ve aided, the poor you’ve helped, the mercy and justice you’ve shown, the lives you’ve touched, improved and inspired, and the love you’ve shared.
While thinking about Mom, the idea hit that love is like heavenly bitcoin. It’s a unique, invisible payment method that can only be found and stored in the hearts of those who share it. Like worldly bitcoin, it has no central authority or banks, is open-sourced with public design that nobody owns or controls, and is equally available to all. But heaven’s bitcoin pays through acts of kindness, forgiveness, generosity and compassion. It transcends every wall, border, judgment, bias, amendment and disclaimer. And to those who trade in it, the feeling is a majesty like no other. Mom wore that crown when she died.
In the Les Misérables song, I Dreamed a Dream, the lyrics claim, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Looking through that lens, Mom saw God a LOT in her life. And if love is, indeed, the ultimate treasure, Mom amassed a fortune. She died one of the richest, happiest, and most fulfilled people on the planet. I wish the same for all of us.
What a tender and touching tribute to your mother.
Thank you very much.
Today would’ve been my Mom’s 86th birthday…she passed in 2009 from cancer…I’ll be calling my sister later today so we can share memories. Very eloquent and deeply moving tribute to your Mom, Anna…thank you for sharing it with us.
A beautiful reflection!
A beautiful, and deeply relatable, tribute. My mother lived with me for the last four years of her life, and left her body on January 22, after 95 extraordinary years. I am her only child, and I am bereft. She wasn’t only my mother, but my best friend and creative collaborator. She’s the reason I’m a writer and book editor, and my work has always been, and will always be, imbued with her inspiration.
My condolences to you, Anna.
I feel for you, and am glad you had that time with her. It’s one of the greatest gifts we can have. My condolences to you, as well. Anna