Monday, May 12, 2014

Tribute to My Mama!

I wrote this tribute for my mother, and one of my lifelong and closest friends was brave enough to read it for me yesterday at her funeral. What I really want anyone who hears it or reads it to understand is the legacy of love my parents left behind. I want that legacy to live on in anyone who knew them or has learned about them through words and stories about them. I want people to LOVE their people and all people and love them well!! My mom loved our videos, and this is one is dedicated in her memory....she was definitely an OVERCOMER! And The Paynes are as well, largely in part of the example she was to us. God will see us through anything, and I've seen many good good things come from this past week of the most difficult times of my life, and He is shining and showing me so much good He did through my mother's life. Here it is....Happy Mother's Day!

"Last Monday, I asked my mama what she wanted for Mother's Day; and she said " A kiss from my mother." That night at 10:22, she got that kiss as she entered the gates of Heaven. When I was visiting her in the nursing home earlier that day, I saw a sweet elderly couple sitting outside in the sun. The gentleman was caressing his disabled and confused wife's hand, and I knew that soon my daddy would be caressing his bride's hand again after all these years. I sat and watched my mom all day Monday. She slept most of the time but would wake and smile at me from time to time. I fed her lunch and held her hand. We talked but mostly I watched her sleep and thought about the kind of mother she was. I thought about my dad...sitting in heaven waiting for her, and the beautiful love they shared. I thought about my whole life....with them as my parents, and how much they loved me. There has never been one minute of one day of my existence that I was not assured of their love for me. There was never any doubt how they felt about me, Neil or their grand kids. They adored and loved us so well. My mother was my biggest inspiration. She was the most generous person I've ever known and embraced and encouraged me in everything I did. She was determined and strong willed, or as my cousin Kris referred to her .... She was a pistol. Even at 83 pounds, she fought hard at everything. Just try and tell her that she couldn't do something, and that's all it took for her to show you she could. She knew what she wanted, how to get it and had a plan in place. The health challenges she has faced over the last 25 years were very difficult, but it never defined her. I never remember seeing her saddened or angry about her circumstances but just more determined and happy to have another day. I rarely ever remember anything but joy in her face, voice and heart. I don't know if I could ever embrace such challenging circumstances with such grace, gratitude and beauty. She ended every visit, email, phone call with an "I love you", and she always made me feel special. For the last several years, I would get an email every day that said "I love you! Mom, Sandy, Moo!" She was mom to me, Sandy to Neil and Moo to her grand kids. After all these years and through her death, God has revealed so much to me in these past few days. From messages, comments and conversations I've had with people since her passing; it has become crystal clear that my mama...and my daddy....left quite a legacy behind. They shared their welcoming and unconditional love with everyone. Nobody had to earn it or prove anything, they just loved you; and they loved you well. I had forgotten how bad a broken heart hurts, but knowing she is home and whole; and her heart is no longer broken makes mine more bearable. I have a vision of my daddy taking her hand and leading her onto the dance floor while they laugh and dance together. My mom loved to dance, and she hasn't been able to dance for a very long time; but there she is....dancing and celebrating her new gift of life in eternity. The best part is that she was greeted by a kiss from her mother, a caress by the husband she loves so deeply and the open arms of Jesus. Tomorrow is Mother's Day, and I would really like a kiss from my mother. I won't get that this year, but I am so very thankful for the millions of kisses I have gotten from her in my lifetime. So what I would like for Mother's Day is for her legacy to live on, and tomorrow.... If you're able to do so, kiss your mama. Tell your kids how much you adore them every chance you get. Sit in the sun with the people you love. Hold hands with your husband or wife. Send your friends an encouraging message, tell someone how they have made your life better, and Thank God for the blessings in your life! Don't let those you love wonder but always let them be assured!"

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