Thursday, May 3, 2012

Seeing the Good...

When my kids hear me coughing, they both ask me the same question.  "Are you okay, Mama?"

My husband hears the bark, and he asks, "Are you getting sick?"

If my mom ever heard me congested in my nose over the phone, long before the first cough, she would say, "You know that always goes straight to your chest... what are you taking for it?  You need to rest.  Your bathrooms can wait."

See, that's the difference.  Not that my kids and husband aren't concerned about me being under the weather, because they obviously are.  But my Mama, well, she knew the pattern.  She watched the pattern develop.

I remember standing in our red kitchen on Croydon Road in Montgomery, Alabama in what had to have been the early 80's.  Oh, if you could have seen our red kitchen!  Red laminate counter tops, and this funky wall paper with little 70's inspired flowers (if my memory serves me right) complete with brown tile floor and cabinets.  Fantastic!  She would pull that little glass prescription bottle out of the cabinet beside the refrigerator... that was back when everything came in a glass bottle.  Apple juice, cokes in the machine, and cough syrup.  She would retrieve a metal spoon from the drawer and pour the bright yellow syrup out, and I could taste it in my mouth before my tongue ever touched it.  Still can today.  "This is the only thing we've found that really helps your cough, so let's take it," she would reply when I asked why oh why I had to take that nasty stuff!

And she was right.  She was always right.  Like when she would put those nasty nose drops in my nostrils to open up my sinuses.  And when she warmed the olive oil over the stove, poured it in the canal of a very sore ear, and stuffed it with cotton.  Like when she would give me a cold rag to lay over my forehead when I had a high fever.  She always knew what would make me feel better from the very time I was born.  If she was ever unsure, I never knew it.

Just a matter of years ago, I would laugh at her concern for me when I was sick.  "Mama, I am fine... I know what to do.  I've got two of my own now, and I know how to take care of a sick person, even if it's me."  Oh to go back and tell myself to shut up.  To drink it in.  To bathe in her concern and love and knowledge without trying to prove my independence.

I have been sick since Friday.  Really down for the count since Sunday, the day that marked my first full week without her presence here on earth.  All these images have been flashing in my mind of her, of that last week, of the parts of death that I never knew existed, the things that seem so unfair and cruel.  They just flash in the most uncontrollable way at any given moment of the day.  And it's not the way I want to remember her.  And so I have been a little blue, wondering when they day those last not so pleasant experiences would fade and I would have the sweet memories.

On Tuesday, I cried out to God in total and complete fatigue, with muscles so sore from coughing I didn't want to move, "I know you promise all things work for the good, but how is this gonna work for the good?  I just want to feel better!"  Yesterday, as I sat in the little grey room of the doctor's office alone, all these memories began to flood my mind... of the cough syrup, the cold rags, the calamine lotion when I had the nastiest case of chicken pox, the way she knew I had strep by my weird throwing up I would do, the way she took care of me when I needed her.  And I sat there and cried.  I miss her so deeply.  I miss her in a way that can never be undone.  I hear all the suggestions, I understand that she's in a better place, but I still miss my Mama, and I think I will until the day I join her in heaven.

Just now, as I have typed these words, I see the good from the bronchitis.  I feel the good.  I have these beautiful memories flooding my brain of her taking care of me instead of me taking care of her.  These precious times when I was her daughter, and she simply did what she always did so well... take care of me.

Thank you, Jesus, for promises that are always true.  Thank You for not giving up on me in my stubbornness and years of running from You.  Thank You for pulling me back in Your perfect timing.  Thank You for dying for me, for her, for all of us, so that I am assured to see her again in a place where neither one us will have to take care of each other.  In You Precious Name, I pray... Amen.

And we know that all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  {Romans 8:28}

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.  You know the way to the place I am going.  {John 14:1-4}

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."  {Jeremiah 29:12-14}


Chelle said...

Take care of yourself, hon. Feel better soon. I think about you daily, if that helps :)

Nana's Notes said...

Just wish I could help your healing process. I hurt for you. I hope your writing will help you some. Nothing will take the place of your Mama. But I am sure she is looking down and is so proud of her daughter.

Marsha said...

And now knowing you get to be that momma to 2 of your own. One day - they will think of you in the same way. The legacy of a momma.