Mother’s Day is always a good opportunity to celebrate that wonderful woman God gave you for a mother. But what about some of us who don’t have our mother anymore? I will definitively make sure that my Suegra (mother-in-law), sister and sisters-in-law know how much they mean to us. But in the absence of my sweet mother, today, I will let my words lift a tribute for what she represented in my life.
My mom was brought up in a fatherless home in a foreign country. She was the oldest of three girls living under very poor conditions. She married my dad at age 21, and they shared life together for the next 52 years until she went to her permanent residence in heaven.
In a matter of years after their marriage, mom became the wife of a very prominent architect living a wonderful life. Then mom and dad decided to give their lives to Jesus, and she became the wife of a passionate pastor/evangelist who left his career to proclaim the gospel to one of the most difficult zones in my home country of Costa Rica. Then, we became a missionary family in Spain for five years, Aruba for two and the last leg of her race began in 1997 when we arrived in the United States to support my dad in his study of theology.
Many comment that I inherited a lot of her attributes. Yes, I look a lot like her. But more than her looks, I inherited hidden treasurers in my heart. Through so many valuable lessons from her, I am certain many things I do today in ministry and life overall are because of her. She was an amazing friend, mother, grandmother, wife and human being. Unfortunately, we never thought (at least I didn’t) that she would not last forever. She was such a champion, with such a high tolerance for pain that we totally missed the signs that were marking the end of her story with us.
Looking back, I wish I could have found out sooner, so I could’ve enjoyed her more.
Yes, enjoy her more. Because when you think that your mother is eternal, that she will last forever, you forget to enjoy quality time with her. That was my case.
I forgot that she was first and foremost my mother, someone to enjoy every moment possible with and not a person to fight over the amount of shoes in her closet, the amount of towels and linens she had collected or the new crystal in the China cabinet that I could not use. Back then, a trip to take her for a manicure would take three hours of my busy schedule. Visiting her was an opportunity to examine her clothes – and even sometimes have the nerve to ask her why she was not wearing an apron while cooking!
This will be my second Mother’s Day without her. Oh, how much I wish to have done things differently.
So, may I offer some practical thoughts for you? If you still have your mom, enjoy every moment you can! There may be things that you won’t understand about her, but it is okay. You don’t need to understand her; you just need to love her. Forget about the insignificant things and make sure that your schedule always has room to give her so much love and care. Make sure that she is totally certain of how much you love her by calling her, texting her, sending notes and gifts in the mail. And when you are able, bring the grandkids to visit; they are like oxygen to their lungs.
Do it for those of us that cannot do it anymore and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
Rev. Johanna Rugh is director of Spanish Education & Clergy Care for The Wesleyan Church.