November 1st, 2018 ~ 30 Days

I love taking this month to ponder what I’m thankful for but I just didn’t want to do that canned, I’m thankful for… each day. I found a great writing prompt list for November and decided to work from there each day. Oh I’ll toss in my thankful item but I wanted to go deeper this month. Lately life IS deeper and who knows what someone might find in what I unearth from my life that could help them.

How do you remember and honor loved ones who have passed?

I’ve never been one to make weekly, monthly, or other scheduled treks to the cemetery to place flowers on a grave. Due to the quiet nature of the place I have gone and sat next to my grandfathers grave to ponder, “what would Fred do?” in a particularly difficult time, and sometimes on our birthday I left a single rose, but I don’t believe he is there. His spirit lives on in memories in our hearts, but his soul is not on this earth. I won’t get into a debate on whether or not souls of our departed visit us, can or can’t visit us, are in heaven etc, because while the bible does give us some clues I don’t believe there is a definitive answer there and in fact I believe God left out a lot of things we don’t need to know.

I remember gramps on our birthday, and keep a photo of him and grandma framed and in view in the living room. I often would wonder what he would do in various situations and always came to the conclusion he would do the right thing..the high road answer, the one that showed great empathy for someone and would be in their best interest. I can even to this day still hear his voice when I saw him or answered the phone, saying “Martha Marie…” and to this day I do not allow anyone else to call me by my full name. I recently found the eulogy my uncle gave at the funeral, printed on pretty paper and framed by my mom, it used to hang in her room. It now hangs in my office.

My mom I remember daily, many times a day. I cannot imagine that I will ever go a day and not think of her in some manner. At work I often wonder, “what would mom do…” because as a hospice nurse for most of her career she worked with elderly and often dementia patients. She openly shared knowledge, wisdom and experiences with me and my sister as we navigated the health care waters. Like her father, my beloved grandpa, she was so caring and compassionate and always looking out for the best interest of those in her care and family. No matter the problem, work or home life, she always took time to listen and ask questions that helped us figure out what we should/shouldn’t do. She faced her pending death with such grace and dignity, and toward the end I believe welcomed it. She knew we’d miss her terribly but also knew on the other side she’d be free from suffering (which she hid well) and in the presence of her Savior would know joy unfathomable. Daily she spent time laying on her bed praying, a wonderful example to us. Since she left us others have shared things she talked about regarding all of us, one that stuck out is she told someone I was the one she worried about the least when it came to handling the loss of mom. At first when I was grieving hard and fighting depression I wondered how on earth she arrived at that conclusion because it sure didn’t seem I was handling things at all. Then when I decided to go for grief counseling it hit me…she knew I’d know when to toss in the towel and admit I couldn’t do this on my own without a little help. She knew I’d be the first one to say “uncle” and face the sheer pain head first with someone’s assistance. To honor her I keep several photos framed in my home, and in difficult situations I take a deep breath and stop to consider how to respond, my “what would mom do” moment.

My thankful thought? I’m so very thankful for the wonderful mom God gave me. She was a treasure and a wealth of wisdom and love for her family and friends. I’m thankful her memory lives on in our hearts and lives every single day.

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That is mom in the chair, surrounded by love! These amazing women, her cousins and mine once removed or some such stuff, and my aunt, pictured here at one of the last cousins dinners she was alive for they are the bomb! Missing was 2 of my aunts who attend. We still do this monthly and I cannot express the love I have for this portion of my family as we all meet up to eat, sip wine and share laughs, tears and do life together.
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Mom’s hands, a pic taken by my sister-in-law and then framed with this writing. She gave us each one at mom’s memorial. I love this so much!
My niece had this card made (it is two in a frame so I can have both sides) for mom’s memorial service. The poem/writing is Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. It was a favorite of mom’s and hung in her home wherever she lived.