On my previous website, I’d gotten into the habit of writing a tribute whenever someone significant in my life died. I guess it was a way for me to remember them, and also mark the end of an era.
My mother died last year on January 3rd, and even though on one level I felt I should write something about her, at the time, I simply couldn’t. As time went on, I felt more able and began to put together what I would want to say, but somehow the timing never seemed right. Now it’s been a year, and I’ve found my voice, and the time is right. So, I’ll say a few words.
And a few words is really all I have to say. But not because Mom didn’t mean anything to me! More because when you look at her life, and think about her place in the world, it’s so easy to realize that what needs to be said about her can be said very simply.
She was a good person.
She loved her family.
She has gone to Heaven to be with God and Jesus.
That’s really all you need to know. Mom never did anything “great” as far as the world is concerned. No books, no movies, no scientific achievements. She loved her family and raised her kids. To her, the very most important thing in all the world was Family. That was her life. She was happiest when her children or grandchildren came to visit, or when getting together with her sisters. For her, it was all about other people.
I don’t think she ever wished harm on anyone. One of her favorite sayings was “You can’t go wrong doing right.” She always looked for the best in every situation. Her worldview was not complicated, and it was rooted in a belief in God.
As time goes on in this new journal I will probably have opportunity to tell many stories of my childhood, many of them involving my mom. But right now I want to mention two things in particular:
One of my fondest memories of Mom was a night probably in 1973, when we first moved to Florida. I would have been a teenager, maybe 15 or 16. Somehow, Mom and I started talking one night, about all kinds of things that were important to us, things we believed, that defined who we were. It was the kind of conversation most commonly had between best friends. We stayed up very late that night, talking and talking. I don’t really remember a lot of the content, but I’m sure it was personal and spiritual. I think we did not go to bed until two or three in the morning. I’ll always remember thatas one of the times I felt closest to my Mom.
Another time, probably shortly after that, Mom and I had started going to a little Christian church and decided to be baptized. Our family was Catholic, so of course everyone had been baptized as babies, but as brand new born-again Christians, we both wanted to express our faith through adult baptism. The little church we were going to was really strong on adult baptism, but as I mentioned, it was small, and didn’t have the facilities for full-immersion baptism. So Mom and I had to travel to a “sister church” in the next town over and met our pastor there. We both got the full dunking baptism. It was just me, Mom, and the pastor. But that was enough. It was official. Nothing signifies a connection between two people as much as an act of agreement about your spiritual beliefs.
In everybody’s life there are good times and bad. Mom’s life included. But my main impressions of her, the things I will always remember most of all, when all is said and done, is what I said here at the top: she was a good person, she loved her family, and she’s now in Heaven.
For me, Heaven has always been this place where God is, where Jesus is, but as my life goes on and I see more and more of the people I love dying in this world and going to the next, my concept of Heaven, of the afterlife, is expanding. That is where I shall once again see Mom and all the others who have gone ahead of me. (I don’t fear dying. In fact, I look forward to it! I just don’t want to do it too soon…) But nowadays I am starting to feel as if I’m living my life with one foot in this world, and one foot in the next. Heaven is not only where I finally get to meet Jesus face to face, but it’s also the place where I meet my loved ones again. Including Mom.