Still Giving

Last picture with Mom 2

Last Picture with Mom

It was great fun celebrating Mother’s Day with the mother of my children yesterday and recognize what an incredible person she is as well as note our own good fortune. Today, the day after Mother’s Day, my thoughts shift to my own incredible mother and how much we miss her.

I have spoken at many funerals, including services for both of my parents, and only once have I blubbered like a baby throughout a eulogy—Mom’s.  I titled it simply, Mom, and began by saying:

15,319: That is the number of days in my life where I knew without a doubt that somewhere on this planet, my mother was cheering for me.  It has been three days without that gift, but who can complain in light of such grace? 

I updated the math, and it has now been 2,815 days without, but I still cannot bring myself to complain. I was a very lucky boy/man.

I’m not sure what to think today. Random thoughts drift in and out. That eight years pass quickly (as did the first forty-two). That lessons and memories persist. That faith is worth having.

I went back to that eulogy to see what I tried to communicate through the fog, and I was pleased to remember that it referred to the classic Shel Silverstein book, The Giving Tree, and how selfless giving characterized Mom’s life. It also brought a smile to notice that my wish for her remains the same years later.

Amid uncontrollable tears then, I concluded:

At the end of “The Giving Tree,” the little boy, now an old man, returns to the Tree.  The Tree is sad because she is now simply an old stump and has nothing left to give – she had nothing left to give because she had given it all away.  The old man replied that this was okay because he was too tired now and only needed to rest.  Then, the tree offered all she had left – her stump – for the little-boy-turned-old-man to sit and rest.  He sat, and the Tree was happy.

It was not fun to see our sweet, kind, and gentle Mom’s body deteriorate until there was no more life in it.  It was not easy for her – a giver – to be forced to be waited on by others: in her thinking, to be a bother.  In the end, however, she did have something left to give, and it was exactly what my sisters and I needed.

In the end, Mom left us deep roots and a place to rest.  I hope she knows that, and that this makes her happy.


8 responses to “Still Giving

  1. I loved your mom before I even met her. When I still lived up north, Ray told me all about her. I wanted to know this wonderful lady with the kind and giving heart. My first time attending church with Ray, I asked him to take me to where she was sitting so that I could meet her. She wrapped me up in the best mom like hug she always gave and I knew I would need to feel her hugs for as long as I could get them. When Ray and I got married, we had to have her there. Yesterday on Mother’s Day I thought about my mom and I thought about yours, too. For me, those thoughts were synonymous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandy, my mom loved you as if you were her own. I know because she told me that a bunch of times. Thank you for loving her that way, too. That meant a lot to her — and to me. I do miss those hugs. Thank you for this special note.


  3. Even though I was listening later online, your sermon while at the University church where you recounted your last visit with your mom was one of the most powerful sermons I’ve ever heard. I shared with several friends, and they all agreed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lane, that means a ton to me. Thank you for saying that. That last visit was precious and terrible and is with me forever.


  5. Terry Johnson

    I loved your Mother …. she was so sweet and kind to us ….i see a lot of ger qualities in you …. she was so very proud of her family..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks so much. And she loved you!!


  7. Brett Carlile

    Your Mom was so nice to me as well. I recall several conversations we had in the office at church. I still miss those conversations. She was so proud of all of you and always had a kind word for anyone. To this day when I walk into the office at church, I still can see her setting behind that desk. Always with a kind word and a smile!

    Liked by 1 person

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