Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 62 today. It's been a couple months since I lost her, but I still can't believe she's gone. Today like all the years before is the day I want to celebrate her and the life she lived.
I would have been giving her scrapbook or craft supplies for her birthday today, but instead, here in my blog, where I share my heart and my thoughts, I wanted to share what she meant to me.
My mom was the best. She was a wonderful mother and an amazing person. I loved so many things about her, but I wanted to share with you a few of the things I loved most.
I loved how funny she was. She had a way of teasing and making fun of me that would crack me up. Sometimes she'd make me laugh so hard my stomach would hurt and my asthma would act up. Sometimes we'd talk to each other in song like a musical while more recently we took to talking to each other in woofs, but not just any woofs but Blues Clues woofs (from the children's cartoon). I loved that she played along with whatever odd thing I was doing at the time. For anyone who's spent a lot of time with me you know I have a happy dance. And I loved that my mom would do my happy dance with me. She was silly and I loved it. One time when I was traveling I sent my parents an email to the extent of "Hi, parents. I'm alive." To which my mother's response was , "I am SO happy to hear you are alive and well. I was thinking about you when I saw you playing Scramble. It made me happy to know you didn't fall off the face of the earth......hee hee hee. I love you & miss you.mummmy."
Besides her humor I loved her creativity. My mom was always making something. I admired that she could see something at a store or have something come to mind and figure out how to make it. At a very young age my mom exposed us to arts and crafts, and that's probably why I ended up an architect and then a photographer. When my mom took a year off from teaching I loved the days when I got to spend time with her crafting and shopping at craft stores. Losing her at my age feels unfair. I feel in a way cheated. But I try to remember those days we sat on the sofa making cards and knitting and I see now how true a gift from God that was. I would have never had "enough" time on earth with her. But I'm comforted to think that when I meet her in heaven our time together won't ever be cut short again.
And finally I loved how great a friend she was. I loved hanging out with her. And talking over boba or starbucks or a meal. I was really blessed to share a lot of meals one-on-one with my mom. One of the restaurants my family frequented was Sushi Avenue. When my mom and I would go she would always order the salmon teriyaki bento and I'd order two small rolls. We'd share the salad with sesame dressing and my mom would always comment how much my Po Po would have loved it. About a third way through our meal we'd realized we ordered too much food and tell each other we should share next time. But every time we went back we forgot and ordered our usual meal then be unable to finish. I think we only remembered to share a couple of times. I don't know why but thinking about it always made me laugh. My mom was the perfect balance of friend and mother to me. Being the single girl I am I have all sorts of problems. I have boy problems and friend problems and work problems and emotional problems. And my mom was always there to listen and give me good advice. Like a true friend she always told me what I needed to hear and always pointed me back to God. She really was the best.
A couple months before she died my mom and I were joking about death and she told me she thought she was going to die soon. I asked her if she was serious and she told she didn't think her body was strong enough to last much longer. So I asked her if she had any regrets or if there was anything she wanted to see or do. But she told me there wasnt. She said she was happy and she lived a good life. And if anything she wanted the people she loved to give their lives to God.
See, that's the thing that made my mom awesome. It wasn't just that she had six kids or that she was kind or that she's taught hundreds of students. It was that she loved God and always sought out ways to glorify Him. She entrusted herself fully to the will of God and praised Him in the worst and best of times. That was her legacy. That is what I loved most about her. That is the woman I want to be. She understood God's love in her life and wanted to share that with others.
A week before her death I started to have a really bad feeling about her. So I went into her room and told her I didn't want her to die. That I wasn't ready. And she told me to trust God. That if God should take her that it was part of a bigger plan. At the time I thought I couldn't possibly live my life without her. I wondered how anyone could go on with their life without their parent. When I called her from Toronto the night before she died, she said two things that stood out to me. One was a reminder to trust God. And the other was to wash my face because she could hear me crying and didn't want my eyes to be swollen the next day. For me that sums up my mom. Laying in the hospital after surgery and in pain, my mother's thoughts werent about herself... they were about God and others.
Since that day when my mom was taken away I've felt more lost and sad than I've ever experienced in my life. I have moments when I feel completely overwhelmed and I dread being alone. But each day gets easier as God continues to show his faithfulness to me and my family. And while we go through this difficult time, I have seen so much of God's love from the support and prayers and encouragement of all of you. This loss has become an opportunity to see God's endless grace in my life. I know the days of mourning are not yet over but I am comforted in knowing she is in God's presence and it's only a matter of time that she and I will be reunited.
(The passage above was written for her memorial service on August 5, 2013 where more 800 people came to celebrate her memory. She was truly a remarkable woman, and I regret that I didn't thank God more for her while she was still alive.)
I love her so much. I can't wait to see her again and catch up when I meet her in heaven. <3
Happy Birthday, Momma. I miss you.