iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Mom”

Late Night Visitor – Unhappy Anniversary


I love life milestones whether they are mine or for someone else.  I love to celebrate and honor the moment, the achievement, and the occasion.  But this milestone coming up, I cannot decide if I want to celebrate that I made it through or cry because it has come upon me.  The milestone I am talking about is the first anniversary of my mother’s passing.

Grief has hit heavy the last few weeks as I recall just a year ago caring for my mom during the last week of her life. One part of me knew she was too weak to fight the infection, yet another part of me rallied in her corner.  None of us, meaning my siblings and I, really knew what to do, but I am confident our prayers granted us Holy intuition and the strength that only comes from God to get through caring for an elderly loved one.  My mom was stubborn and as independent as she could be at 89-years old.  She was older than what she weighed.  She had all her faculties up until the end, but the infection screwed with her ability to communicate clearly; we did what we thought was best for her without her input.

The image that best describes how I have felt this past year, and still today, is that of my television when the cable is out.  The words NO SIGNAL ricochet off the left side of the screen, bounces off the bottom hitting the right side of the screen, touching then on the top.  The connection point on each of the sides of the screen are different, but it keeps ricocheting.  No place to land.  No connection. NO SIGNAL.

I was named the executor of the living trust my parents set up before my dad passed away.  An honorable, yet difficult, appointing.  I contacted the lawyer, bankers, and an accountant.  I sent forms to the government, paid bills, and tallied up credits and debits to the account.  Probably the hardest part was selling the family home where I grew up.  Through all of this, I am sad that what once felt like a tight family bond has become a little cracked, but not beyond repair.  We all grieve differently and I am thankful I can cling to some siblings not only for the strength I need, but also for the memories we all cherish.

Grief continues its weight on my heart.  It interfers with my ability to concentrate and feel confident even with the simplest of tasks. It cloisters me and silences my screams for help.  Grief is ugly, grief is inconvenient, and grief is stickier than fresh gum on the bottom of a shoe. I wish I could call 911 to get this intruder out of my life and file a PPO against him.

Oh, but I love milestones whether they are mine or for someone else.  I cannot decide if I want to celebrate that I made it through or cry because the first anniversary of my mother’s death is near.  I love and miss you mom; I will celebrate your life and your influence on mine.

Psalm 120:1

A song of ascents.

I call on the Lord in my distress,
    and he answers me.

Late Night Visitor – The Walking Dead


There is a chasm of time after the death of a loved one that no one can describe. Read more…

Late Night Visitor – When the Clock Chimes


My dad gave my mom money to shop for her own birthday and Christmas presents from him. I can attest to this fact as I was the one who always went shopping with her. Dad must have learned sometime early in their marriage that it was easier for her to buy what she wanted. Smart man.

Dad surprised mom on their anniversary one year. He bought her a gold clock covered in a glass dome. It offers three optional melodies at the top of the hour, but mom, being a structured sort of person, kept the same melody on the clock since she got it.

The clock was kept in the center of the buffet in the dining room just outside their bedroom. There are four balls connected to a center post under the face of the clock that spin right and left for a mesmerizing visual effect. Some years ago, the clock stopped playing the melody at the top of the hour. Somehow it slipped and chimes eight minutes after the hour.

On the early morning when mom passed away, we all looked at our watches and cell phones to note the time of her last breath; 12:36AM. Since she was under Hospice care, we called the Hospice nurse who either lived minutes away, or was visiting a family nearby, because she was in our presence rather quickly.

We watched as she placed her stethoscope in each ear and upon placing the sound piece on mom’s chest, she pronouced her death at 1:08AM just as the clock was sounding the melody mom picked out. I was in the doorway of her bedroom nearest to the clock and mumbled under my breath that she really passed away at 12:36.

I inheirited the clock. The melody mom picked out sounds eight minutes after the hour. Not knowing how old the clock is, I believe its parts are fragile as I cannot get the four balls connected to the center post under the face of the clock to spin in their mesmerizing motion.

In time, we will all lose functionality.

In God’s time, we will be reunited with Him and those we loved on earth.

Romans 13:11 (NIV)

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Late Night Visitor – Gone Fishin’


When I was a child, my family spent summer weekends at our cottage and fishing was a popular activity. At dusk on Friday night, dad held a shovel in one hand and my little hand in his other, and we made our way to a specific spot in the yard to dig up worms to use for bait in the morning. The worm-hunting excursion brought a song to my dad’s lips and to this day, makes me giggle.

“Nobody likes me, everybody hates me. Sitting in the garden eating worms. Big fat juicy ones, small little thin ones. Oh, how they wiggled and they’d squirm.”

Shovel in hand and me on the sideline, dad made his first plunge into the dirt. I remember he used his foot to stomp on the shovel to get deep into the the earth. With his brawn, he’d flip the dirt pile over and I would start to paw my way through looking for big, juicy nightcrawlers. Dad put some dirt in an empty coffee can and empty whipped cream plastic bowl and I would drop nightcrawlers in one at a time. The lids of the containers had holes poked for the sake of oxygen and they were placed near our fishing gear for the morning.

At dawn on Saturday, when the lake looked as smooth as glass, we packed the fishing boat with our safety cushions, nightcrawlers, and fishing poles and motored to a fishing spot dad felt would wield a good catch.

Even though I caught the worms, I was not able to put them on the hook as well as he could, so dad did it for me. I fished with a bobber on my line so I could learn what it felt like when a fish was interested in my bait. Nibbles would make the bobber wiggle in the water and a hooked fish pulled the bobber out of sight. Depending on the size of the catch, it could take some effort to reel in, but once in the boat, we’d size up the catch. Too small a fish, it gets released to the water, if large enough by state fishing regulations, it becomes dinner.

So it is with grief. The tug at my heartstrings when a memory of my parents comes out of nowhere is like the bobber wiggling in the water. Then the milestone moments knowing they will not be there for a special event or holiday makes that bobber disappear. As hard as it may be to face what is on the end of the line, I reel it in. At this point, whether a nibble of grief or a major catch, it is healthy to face it. Sit with it if I must; ride it out until it fades away.

I have a big catch on the end of my line. June 24 will be my first birthday without either parent. It is the hardest thing for me to reel in right now. My parents made birthdays fun and grief is showing me the slideshow of memories on the wall of my mind.

Thank you mom and dad for bringing me into this world and giving me such a good life that I have, yet another, reason to grieve your passing.

1 Thessalonians 3:6 (NIV)  Timothy’s Encouraging Report

But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.

 

Airport Security


I just returned from a business trip in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is what I noticed as I traveled alone in the airport.

Her giggles caught my attention as I ate my lunch in the food court. A metal railing corralled patrons systematically through the food ordering process, but to a 4-year-old girl, the railing was a jungle gym. I watched as her older brother joined in the fun and tried to teach her some new daring moves. They were having so much fun being kids while their father stood nearby waiting for their food order.

At one point, someone behind the counter turned on a blender and the noise startled the little girl. She covered her delicate ears and ran behind her father for protection.

Sitting on a tiny plane for the last leg of my journey, the woman sitting next to me was traveling home with her husband and their 17-year-old son. The airline made an error in ticketing this family and the son was on a different flight heading to their hometown while the parents were on my flight and planned to drive 45 miles to get home.

The son sent a text to his father alerting him that the airport changed the departure gate for his flight. He became lost in the large airport and feared that he’d miss the flight that was nearing take-off; just as our plane was about to shut the door for take-off. The father rushed off the plane to find his lost son.

When life turns on “the blender” and we get scared, we can stand behind Jesus anytime and He will protect us. Jesus told a parable about the shepherd who was missing one sheep. The shepherd left the flock to rescue the lost one.

Being a witness to two Bible stories in real-time made my trip a complete success.

John 14:27 (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Luke 15:4(NIV)
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

36 Years Ago When I Was 8


Being eight years old is not a milestone year by any means. My oldest sister was 20 and had been out of the house 2 years already and I was sharing a room with my other sister who was 18.

My mom and I had a ritual every Saturday. We’d go to five o’clock Mass and then she’d take me to our local Kmart and Meijer stores, respectively, to shop. I often came home with a toy or something to wear.

Many of the girls in my class were getting their ears pierced and I wanted to do the same. So I did what any kid would do; I begged. My mom did not give in quickly to my begging. I first had to hear the story of how my sisters got their ears pierced by my Uncle Hank when they were a bit older than 8. A piercing from my Uncle required 4 things:
1. Rubbing alcohol
2. An apple
3. A sharp needle
4. A victim

Uncle Hank would rub the victim’s earlobe with rubbing alcohol. He’d wipe down the needle so it was “Sterilized”. He’d set the apple behind the earlobe and jab the lobe with the needle. There you have it, pierced ears along with family fellowship. The highlight of the story was not how cute my sisters looked with bedazzled earlobes, it actually lies in the fact that a cousin picked up the apple and started to eat it.

I wore my mom down and she gave in to my begging. One Saturday evening after church, I found myself in the jewelry department at Meijer sitting on a rather tall chair. A woman placed little marker dots on each earlobe, making sure the placement was as symmetrical as humanly possible. The woman picked up an ear piercing gun and lined it up with the purple marker dot. I felt a fast-piercing-jolt, but I did not cry. However, at the second fast-piercing-jolt on the unsuspecting earlobe, I jumped. From that moment, my earrings would never be as symmetrical as humanly possible.

When all was said and done, and my earlobes were throbbing from the intruding starter earrings, I was allowed to pick out new earrings.

Being eight years old is not a milestone age by any means. My mom spared me from being Uncle Hank’s victim and let me do something at an earlier age than she allowed my sisters. Getting my ears pierced was my very own eight-year-old milestone.

Revelation 1:7
New International Version (NIV)
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.

Cottage Birthdays


Every summer weekend, during the first 12 years of my life, my family would pack our things in the car to head south. As my dad maticulously packed the car so everything would fit a family of 7, he’d yell out to my brothers and I, “Go get your Polish suitcase!” Yes, we had Polish suitcases…otherwise known as a brown grocery bag. My little clothes for two days fit perfectly in my Polish suitcase. This memory brings a grin to my face. I wonder, was this a well-known piece of luggage in other households or was this just my dad being his goofy self?

Twenty minutes later, we’d stick our heads out the car windows as my father slowed down so we could greet the cows in their native tongue, “Moooooo!!” Jostling side-by-side and to-and-fro we knew the dirt road we were on meant minutes to a fun-filled weekend at the cottage.

The best weekend for me was the end of June when aunts, uncles and cousins would arrive to celebrate my birthday. Our Polish heritage was in rare form. We had Polkas blaring from our portable radios during the Polka-Time radio show for 3 hours on Saturday afternoon. One adult would sneak away to the party-line telephone and call in a special request wishing me a very special birthday. It was such a treat to hear my name announced on the radio and a song played in my honor. I felt like a celebrity on my birthday.

I wish I could turn back the hands of time and spend one more birthday at the cottage with the family. The clang of horseshoes, water splashing in the lake and people baking in the sun…what a carefree life. The celebration was topped off with birthday cake made by the talented, loving hands of my mother. Always delicious.

My birthday is June 24. Although many of the family members that used to celebrate with me are in Heaven now, and the cottage has been sold many years ago, I will cherish these memories forever.

Psalm 146:2 (NIV)
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

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