Today my fellow PBG author, Marion Ueckermann visits with some thoughts about life and loved ones.....
I SEE YOU
Mommy, this morning, like every morning, I tuck the pink teddy I gave you years ago when you had your shoulder operation, and the brown one I got with my own shoulder op, against my pillows. I fold up the cream and beige blanket and place it at the bottom of my bed—your birthday gift this year from me—and I remember how much you loved sleeping under its soft covering. My thoughts turn to Dad’s crocodile tail lamp we’ll be fetching this weekend—a hunting trophy that through the art of taxidermy he turned into a light source that’s been in our family home for decades. I think of the framed ribbon embroidery landscape that hangs on my lounge wall—a gift from Hanlie, and of the hours of needlework done by her late mother to create it. These things now grace my home, and fill my life, because you all don’t.
I’d forgotten about my scheduled blog today on Thursday’s Thoughts. Fortunately I had written this blog one morning about a month ago. I forgot because life, if I can call it that, has gotten in the way. You see, at the end of last year, my mother fell ill. Heart failure the doctor said. For months we watched her steadily decline. We prayed for God to strengthen her and, dared we even hope, heal? Until the night before her death when we earnestly prayed the hardest prayer—“Your will be done. Lord, heal her quick, or take her fast.” In the presence of my sister and two nieces—and without a doubt from the wonder in my mother’s eyes, Jesus and a myriad of angels—our prayers were answered as my dearest Mom stepped out of our lives and into an eternity with her Savior. That was life up until July 17 this year.
We gave Mom the most beautiful funeral, filled with hope and praise for her life, and the life that she now lives.
Dad couldn’t remember you had gone, Mommy. Altzheimers does that. But we could see how much he missed you, how empty his life was without you at his side, although we tried to fill it with our love and attention. He’d been so sick with flu the week you landed in hospital. The day you passed away, I had him at the doctor. Bronchial pneumonia they said, but he didn’t need hospitalization, just nebulizing and physio.
We gave Daddy the best nursing we could, but 17 days after you died, we rushed him to emergency. He lay in ICU for nine long days, struggling to get well again. And he seemed to be. But a week after the ICU trips began, he took a turn and we watched him regress. Once again we had to pray—“Your will be done. Heal him quick, Lord, or take him fast.” The awful mask that pressed tight against his face, breathing for him…his hands that were tied to the bed so he couldn’t remove the mask or pull out the feeding tubes—they were all too much to bear. For him, and for us.
Still, the call from the hospital the next morning was unexpected. We tried so hard to get there in time, but were too late. By minutes. Thirty-three days of separation from you were all Daddy could bear. A week later we stared into your open grave again as we laid Daddy to rest at the place he’s been for nearly 66 years—beside you.
We have come to learn to thank God you didn’t have to do life without each other. But it’s still hard for each of us who are left behind.
Eight days after we buried Daddy, we waved goodbye to Lenny and Hanlie. They immigrated to Scotland. Yet another sad goodbye, but at least we have Skype and WhatsApp—we can still chat to our brother and sister-in-law on a daily basis if we like. And we can visit them, too. If only heaven had Skype. If only I could send you an instant message, and you could send one back. If only heaven wasn’t a one-way destination.
But I thank God that I still see you here in life. I see you and Dad in peanut brittles, Nic-Naks chips, Turkish delight, and beetroot salad (the sweet and sour one) standing on Pick ‘n Pay shelves. I see you each time I make a potato salad. I see you in garlic plants with their delicate mauve blooms (how you loved that color), and in the red Christ Thorn blooms. I see you in the list of all your favorite foods that decorate Ryan’s kitchen wall. I see you in the jersey keeping Hanlie warm in Scotland, the one that hung in your cupboard since I was a little girl. And I hear you…in a joke I suddenly remember you enjoyed telling, in the choruses at church you loved to sing. And I see you, I hear you, in the faith and love of our family.
As I stare into my tear-filled eyes, the same shade of brown as yours, mirrored as I do my makeup this morning, I see you…for I am, and always will be, a part of you. You and Dad live on through each and every one of your children and grandchildren in so many ways. Every day.
In the Old Testament God commanded people at various times to build altars of stone to remind them of what He had done for them. The pink and brown teddies that lie side by side on my bed each day are my pile of stones, for every morning they remind me of you, of your lives, and of how incredibly blessed I was to have had such a wonderful mom and dad for so many years.
Every day, I see you. Every day, I hear you. Every day, I miss you.
What a lovely tribute....
We've all lost loved one's, but it is especially difficult when you lose them close together. I know, since last year my Mother in Law and Mother passed away within days of each other.
The holidays are extremely difficult to enjoy when missing those who've passed on, so take extra care of yourself, Marion and Each and Every one of YOU dear Friends!
MARION UECKERMANN's passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. She now lives in South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally. http://www.marionueckermann.com
Until next time...take care and God Bless!