"Mary, I know that you lost your Mom last year, and how hard that was for you. My sister-in-law just lost her Mom to a long battle with cancer, and I want to know...What could I do for her that would be the best encouragement? What did people do for you that meant the most to you when your Mom died?" "You see, my sister-in-law is not a believer, and I'm just not sure what is best to do."
I was so touched by my dear friends questions. I was so encouraged that she would ask me. I sent a quick prayer up to the Lord and asked Him to bring to my mind those things that were the most encouraging to me. Of course, in the heart of the moment, you are dealing with so many emotions and it's a bit like a very bad roller coaster ride. There are the calls and cards and hugs, the receiving lines and the memorial service memories. Those are wonderful. These were the things that God brought to my mind that I shared with my friend:
*On the day after my Mom died, our dear friends came over with some take out from Subway. Enough for 2 whole meals for us. On that day, after living in the hospital with my Mom for 4 days, I felt like I had gone through a ringer washing machine several times. Like a floppy dish rag...totally spent. This was such a kind gesture. It met a need. They came, dropped it off, hugged us and left. No expectations, no long visit, just a wonderful outreach that met us where we were at.
*Many months after my Mom died we would receive a card in the mail to encourage us. It was such a blessing. You see, after all of the "dust" settles, and everyone has to get back to their regular routines, it's easy to forget that those that lost a loved one are still in the grieving process. After my Mom died, we still had birthdays to celebrate and other holidays. Many, many, "firsts" things without her. That was brutal. So the occasional random card or encouragement later on in the process is such a blessing!
*A week or so after my Mom's memorial service, Glenn's aunt and uncle came over. They said they had a memorial gift to give us. It was such a blessing. It was 2 living memorial gifts. One Rose of Sharon bush, and one Hibiscus bush. It was from them and another one of Glenn's aunts and uncles. They wanted us to have something that would be a living tribute to my Mom, and something we could nurture and enjoy for years to come. This was such a comfort to me as my Mom LOVED anything growing. She was an avid gardener. She had wonderful annual and perennial beds, as well as now famous window boxes at her home in NH. On the one year anniversary of her death, August 9, 2013, the Rose of Sharon was in bloom. What an incredible gift this was to me on this very sad day. I posted about it on my blog. You can read it HERE. These simple living tributes were priceless to me, both when they were delivered by Glenn's aunt and uncle, and even now, one year later. By the way, this is how they look on this day, September 4th:
|The hibiscus plant is just beautiful! Blooming for the first time this morning!|
|There are many, many more blossoms still to come!|
|What a treat to have such rich deep colors in the late summer!|
|Here are the 2 living memorials to my Mom. They are fairly close together. The Rose of Sharon is blooming beautifully right now, and has many, many buds!|
So thank you to my dear friend for allowing me to look back on the monuments that we built to God's faithfulness during this VERY difficult time! Thank you, too, for obeying the Lord and for your tender heart toward your sister in law. I will be praying for your sister in law, and all that she is going through right now, and that she will come to find the only true peace that passeth ALL understanding found only in Christ Jesus our Lord!