Remembering Mom


I was standing in the grocery store a few minutes ago, looking at Mother’s Day cards. What a sobering moment that turned out to be. Tomorrow, I will pause to reflect and remember my mom. Maybe you too will “celebrate” their life while mourning the loss. When I returned home, I pulled up this excerpt of the speech I gave to honor my Mom at her memorial service. I can’t think of a better time to make it public. To all of the Mom’s out there, Happy Mothers Day. Never under estimate your impact, your role, your touch on your family. To all of the spiritual mothers that have stood in the gap since my mom stepped into eternity, thank you. Happy Mother’s Day.

When I was 5 years old, about the age of one of my children, I was running and tripped over a sidewalk. The result was a trip to the emergency room and ultimately stitches and a scar on my chin. What happened in those hours in that emergency room was the coordinated efforts of my parents. My Dad, our protector, did what he could to get someone to help us as the wait for assistance went much longer than it should have. All the while, my Mom, the comforter, rocked me back and forth and sang the words to a Helen Ready song called “You and Me Against The World.”

You and me against the world
Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world
And for all the times we’ve cried I always felt that
God was on our side

And when one of us is gone
And one of us is left to carry on
Then remembering will have to do
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you
You and me against the world

Today I remember my Mom. I celebrate that she is in the place she most longed to be in the presence of her King and her Savior.

Remembering is what we do. 

I remember things like falling down (notice a theme here?) and Mom putting ointment on our knees in the form of a smiley face.

I remember working in the garden in our old house on Randolph Road and my grandfather sneaking up behind my Mom and I to scare us. He had parked his truck down the street so when he said “Boo”, my Mom jumped up so high she literally split her pants.

I remember a time when they renovated my bedroom on Woodrow. Mom spackled the ceiling by hand and with her fingers. I have never been the best sleeper at night and often would sleep on a foam fold out chair next to my parents bed when the fears of life and nighttime would wake me up. In an effort to combat those fears, Mom wanted to create a room where I would be comfortable. Within the swirls of the ceiling, she wrote messages I would find while laying in bed at night.

When I didn’t communicate much as a child, she found that playing Atari Pac Man and Pinball were a way to get me to open up. We spent hours playing those games, breaking those joysticks and creating a mother and son relationship. I can’t tell you who won a lot of those games, but I would imagine the time spent got me through the years of growing up.

I remember the many times Mom would work at the Alexanders Flower Shop at Southgate so her son had gas money, prom money and money for whatever the latest fashion was I just had to have (parachute pants). Even though there was something in that flower shop that gave her migraine headaches. She never complained.

From as early as I can remember, my Mom spent regular moments in her prayers dedicated to my future bride…wherever she was. I stand here today a man overwhelmed by the answer to her prayers. My wife and three children are more than I can ever be worthy of. I believe God answered those prayers so frequently prayed by my mom.

I remember the Bible and a Bus Ticket Home. “One will get you going when you haven’t got a prayer and one will bring you back son if you’re dreams aren’t waiting there.”

It was almost providential that “You and Me Against The World” was our song. The memories indeed will see us through.

While I could spend hours telling stories, I feel it almost necessary to speak of the other thing that my mom loved as much as her family and that is her Savior, her King, her Jesus.

It goes without saying that my mom loved Jesus. She shared Jesus with everyone. Our front porch and home at 83 Woodrow was a testimony to her heart for others and her compassion that everyone know her Savior too.

To the mailman that was lemonade on a hot day and a present at Christmas.

To our neighbors it was listening when no one else would

To many the front porch was a place to lay your burdens and receive a comforting word. It was a place where broken hearts were mended and the problems found solutions.

My mom knew no stranger. Our home was your home. Our door was always open. She was in her glory at Christmas when the house was full of people, the piano top was filled with food and hearts were full of love.

When the summers came, it was retreats to Tuck-away Lake for prayer, fellowship and friendship. No matter where, no matter the season, Mom was teaching Jesus, sharing Jesus, being Jesus.

As Tina and I grew up, Mom would often say that our accomplishments were their diplomas on the wall. I always envisioned the long hallways of our home on Woodrow Avenue with framed pictures to signify our accomplishments, most based on Mom and Dad’s sacrifices.

Each time I had any form of success (job promotion, special honor or a unique happening), I would call home to say “I got another diploma for your wall.”

Mom didn’t have a college degree. She didn’t have a Masters in theology or a degree from a prestigious Seminary. She couldn’t tell you the greek meaning of the second word in the 5th verse of Matthew. What Mom had was a heart full of Jesus and a passion that each person she had contact with would too. She loved Jesus and she loved people.

And when one of us is gone
And one of us is left to carry on
Then remembering will have to do
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you
You and me against the world

I love you Mom.

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