I think I'm finally ready to post about this now.
A recent photo of my parents
My mom was a beautiful, intelligent woman.
Soft-spoken and tender, she spent the years before my birth as an elementary school teacher. She taught proficiently, and she nurtured and loved her students well. I was reading her journals from those years the other day (I'm transcribing them) and was brought to tears when she told a story about when she saw her student--a little girl--with a large bleeding gash on her forehead. She said that she ran to the girl and swooped her into her arms, and that as she walked her to the office she never knew if in the next step her legs would buckle, and I knew that feeling. The feeling of hurting, and having her, as a young woman, run to me and swoop me into her arms. It felt so familiar. So familiar, and so distant.
She was the perfect mother for me.
She had the sweetest faith I've ever known. So often I would walk in on her praying at her bedside that in my youthful egocentrism, I would get annoyed that I couldn't ask her what I needed to ask. (Often, it was if I had permission to play Nintendo.) It wasn't until years later that I contemplated the possibility that in those moments of outpouring she might have been--and was probably often--praying for me. And that those prayers had kept me safe at times in my life when I was headstrong and reckless.
I attribute much of what I am today as a human being to that woman, and to her prayers.
My mom is dying.