Thank You, Mom...

My sweet momma left this world today, soaring on eagle’s wings as she journeyed to a much better place.

Impaired by chronic health challenges, Mom’s body simply failed her this time around. And while it is true that the last quarter of her life was fraught with medical difficulties, these difficulties did not define her. What really defined my mom was the way she responded to the obstacles she faced, and the character traits that God produced in her as she persevered. God molded Mom into someone so incredibly beautiful. Mom was love, personified. She extended that love, without condition, to all whom God placed in her path. Mom was also an encourager, every day striving to reassure and edify those around her. She was tenacious, confronting problems with a ferocity and strength that belied her tiny stature. And Mom was joyful – she could change the trajectory of someone’s day just by brandishing that beautiful smile and those gorgeous (and sometimes devilish!) blue eyes of hers.

When my brother and I were kids, Mom was the neighborhood’s “fun” parent, the one who entertained and amused us and our gaggle of friends. Weekends and summer days would often find Mom behind the wheel of her big, gold Plymouth Duster, sitting atop a phone book and transporting a caravan of rowdy kids to the mall, to a movie, or to Galveston to hunt crabs. Our adventures with Mom were pleasurable, so much so that we would seize every opportunity to be with her. School rules dictated that we would not be counted tardy if the school bus failed to show up by 7:15am on any given morning. Each day, we and our little tribe of neighborhood friends would watch and listen carefully for that bright yellow monstrosity to round the corner – if it had not done so by 7:14am, we would all run home to Mom, who would cook us breakfast before loading us up in her car for the 13-mile trek to school.

My desire to be around Mom only grew as I grew, for she proved to be the most soothing presence, staunchest advocate, truest friend, and most comical cohort I had ever encountered. She helped me and mine to celebrate and rejoice during the best of times, and to survive and thrive during the worst. I’d like to think that I was able to do the same for her. She called me her “angel” or her “sweet girl,” a testimony to the goodness she believed was so much a part of my character. And while I’m quite certain I never achieved “angel” or “sweet girl” status while Mom was still alive, her faith somehow compels me toward the goal of embodying both more fully, now that she’s gone. To make her proud seems important now, more important than ever.

At this moment, my sadness is profound, of course, but my gratitude to God for the gift of my mom is even greater. So, during this Mother’s Day week, I will take a moment to thank you once again, Lord, for the blessing of a loving, encouraging, tenacious, and joyful mother, one whose confidence in me was limitless and whose support of me never wavered. I will miss you, Mom. You have been, and forever will be, my angel, my sweet girl, and my own personal hero. Until we meet again…