She was faithful, fearless and strong. At least in my eyes.
Known as mama to me and my sisters, Jean to others and nanny to her grandkids, she always knew how to make you laugh. When life handed her lemons (as it often did), she made lemonade and invited everyone over to sit a spell.
Particularly fond of Aunt Sis, I think a part of mama died when she did. They were bosom buddies; had no secrets and supported each other as they traversed through their respective lives of abuse.
Back then, daddy drank a lot. An addiction he overcame in his late 40s. The physical abuse stopped, but breaking the verbal and emotional abuse was much more difficult.
It must have been when mama got the first negative report back from the oncologist about the seriousness of her breast cancer that daddy softened up on her a bit.
My sisters were mama’s saving grace. They took leave of their lives and stayed with her for months on end, during her early chemotherapy and radiation treatments that followed her radical mastectomy.
I lived nearly 1500 miles away and worked full-time. I was unable to make the commitment to be there on rotation. By the time I got to visit, well, things had gotten worse; much worse. The cancer had metastasized to the brain, lungs and every other part of her precious, broken body.
Grace was personified through her as she sat quietly in the living room as life went on around her.
There was yelling and arguing, combined with every imaginable fear spewing from the mouths of loved ones. I remember wondering:
“Mama what is going on in your mind right now?” “When will you find that blessed peace and relief from all the pain of a broken life that you lived so perfectly in front of us and others.”
That same night was to be the last words I ever spoke to mama before she died. She had been taken to bed and I went to her side. Our one-sided conversation was brief, but meaningful.
“Mama, you know that old body is just the suitcase for your soul. It’s tired and worn out. But your soul will live on in eternity. I love you, and will see you on the other side.”
She smiled, patted my hand and nodded.
Three weeks later, I got the call at 3:30 a.m. that she had passed into eternity. I was already awake, as the Lord so graciously allowed me to know she was healed. Not as man considered healed, but she had won the fight. The fight for her soul–an eternity in Heaven with Jesus.
While mama lost the battle to breast cancer, great is her reward today.
I close with two things for your consideration.
- Obey the Holy Bible’s plan for salvation found in Acts 2:38. You will seal your eternity with Jesus. (Both mama and daddy did before passing away).
- Early detection can save your life. Get a yearly mammogram.