A Mother’s Faith and Love
She looked at me and said, “You are a strong woman.” This is one of many things that my mother said leading to her death. I am a strong woman. What did she mean by that? If anyone I saw was strong, it was my mother.
My mother has encompassed all sorts of trials in her life and always seemed to fall back onto one thing, and that was her faith in God. This was inevitable. No matter what life brought her, she knew God would make a way for her. She taught this to all three of us kids. She imparted this to all of us.
My mom and dad were married for 18 years before they got divorced. That really shook her up. I knew that her feelings towards my father were bitter. She was shattered from what happened. She did say she forgave my dad and prayed for him as much as she could. Mom believed that she had something to hold on to during her circumstances, and it was the faith that she had that God would get her through the valley.
Raising three kids on her own, working, and trying to live life, she seemed to make it work. The three of us didn’t give her an easy time, but she loved us and wanted to see the best in us because she knew she hadn’t had the same opportunities or been told the same things when she was growing up. It was imperative for her to continue to remind her kids of God’s faithfulness and to encourage them to find their own path towards Him.
My brother brought news to my mother of his choice of lifestyle, which broke my mother, but she loved him unconditionally. Then more news came years later, and my brother made some wrong choices and found himself having to serve time. Again, my mother was hurt and angry, and didn’t know why this was happening. She continued to trust God in all circumstances. She kept believing things would get better, but also that my brother would learn. She ensured that wherever my brother ended up, she would continue to show her love, pray for him, and show support. She visited him as often as she could.
During all the life changes, another came into my mother’s life. In 2004, she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She went through surgery and the doctors removed all that they could. She went through chemo treatments and went into remission for several years until the cancer came back. When the cancer came back the first time, she took it and fought it. But even after it was treated and back in remission, the cancer just kept coming back.
Every time the cancer came back, she would fight. We would talk through each situation, and I would continuously ask my mother what she wanted to do. Every time, she would fight. She would tell me every time that she wasn’t ready to go. She wanted to see so much, but in late 2015/early 2016, the cancer was back—and for the last time.
This time she fought like she never fought before. She experienced and spent time with her family. She prayed for direction and hope. The chemo took a toll on her body, but it did not ruin her spirit. For that last year and half, her body just couldn’t take it. She ended up getting congestive heart disease and kidney failure, and a decision had to be made. When she realized what seemed to be the inevitable, she once again took the bull by the horns and fought with all her might.
I told my mom it was OK. That whatever happened, I as the oldest child would step in and take care of things. I would be there for my brother. I would be the support my sister needs. I didn’t know how I would do it without my mother, but I told her I could. She knew I could.
I spent the weeks before her passing spending time with her and loving her and telling her I was sorry for being a nuisance and not being there when I needed to be. I told her she was my hero and I loved her.
My mom passed away August 21, 2017, at 2:15 p.m. at home. My brother couldn’t be there, but he called her one last time to tell her how much he loved her, and he thanked her for everything. My father called that morning and apologized for the mistakes and heartache he had brought her.
Mom always said we should forgive each other and love each other, but we should trust and believe in God for everything. She always believed and had faith. Although I may struggle through so much and my grief is still so fresh, I rest assured that the faith my mother had has left me with hope and strength to keep living.