Remembering My Mom

My mother passed away on October 6.

She was 62.

Eight months ago, her only health issue was recurring kidney stones. Eight months ago, she had so many plans for the future: She had her Retirement countdown clock going. She planned to return to the courtroom as a lawyer, once she finished her tenure as an elementary school principal. She had her art room ready so she could devote more time to that gift. She talked about traveling to Japan, where she was born, and to SE Asia, to visit my younger sister. She was going to come out to  Emma’s graduation in May and visit my youngest sister in Texas. She was going to live part-time in Tennessee, to be closer to family and friends there.

All those plans came to an abrupt halt when, on March 26, she was diagnosed with primary peritoneal cancer. We all had to look it up – no one had heard of that cancer before. It is rare. And it is lethal. She knew within hours of the diagnosis what doctors didn’t confirm until a few days later: this type of cancer leaves no survivors.

Mom fought it with everything she had – she endured heavy doses of chemo for three months. She continued working during those three months because that is who she was. And, when she began losing her hair, she bought pink, blonde, and red-headed wigs to match her fancy dresses for school. Because that, too, is who she was: Strong, capable, and fiercely independent.

She also had a great sense of humor. Days after her diagnosis, I  sat in the oncologist’s office with her. Several old ladies came in, wearing their loose flowerly dresses and thick white orthopaedic shoes. Mom pointed to one of them, nudged me said, “You know, I never wanted to be an old woman. At least now, I won’t have to be!”

I was able to return to Florida the last week of Mom’s life. And, as I told her best friend and caretaker, Susan, the woman I saw that week didn’t even look like my mom. Sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s really gone because of that. Cancer had robbed Mom of more than just her hair and weight. It trapped her in a body that, by the time I returned, prevented her from moving, from speaking, and ultimately, from breathing.

I am processing this loss. I don’t think I can fully express all the emotions I am experiencing – though all of them, at different times in different ways, come forward. More will come, I know, as time passes.

What I do know is that my mom is no longer trapped in a body that is betraying her. I know that even her best day here on this earth is nothing compared to that first breath she took in heaven. I know that her regrets, her mistakes, even her aspirations have been forgotten in the face of Jesus, in the reality of living daily in a body that is sin-free and a Home that is eternal…

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ””

-C.T. Studd

24 Comments

  1. Jen Fisher
    Oct 25, 2017

    Oh, Krista, I’m so very sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers.

    • krista
      Oct 25, 2017

      Thank you!

  2. Flor Ikalina
    Oct 25, 2017

    Krista I don’t have any words to express how sad I am on hearing this today. I am really sorry. I lost my sister to cancer 9 yrs ago and missing her everday. The only assurance I have is knowing I will see her again in heaven. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending hugs and love your way. I’m here anytime if you need me. Just a phone call away. God bless

    • krista
      Oct 25, 2017

      Thank you so much, Flor.

  3. Linda Ortiz
    Oct 25, 2017

    So sorry for your loss!! May God give you strength and comfort for days to come!!

  4. Carol Gehringer
    Oct 25, 2017

    Sorry for your loss. I am the same age as your mother . . . and have recurring kidney stones, so this hits me hard. Will be praying for your family. Lost my mother 4 years ago on Monday.

    • krista
      Oct 25, 2017

      Thank you, Carol. And the doctors assured Mom that there was no correlation between her kidney stones and the cancer. So take heart in that! <3

      • Carol Gehringer
        Oct 26, 2017

        That’s good to know.

        Lost my dad 10 years ago but losing mom 4 years ago was harder (stage 4 lung cancer and she wasn’t a smoker!). Biggest thing I miss is not being able to call her with things happening in my life. She lived in MI while we live in NC. Miss her but know we’ll be reunited someday. Praying for you . . . esp. as we approach the holidays.

  5. Amy Dimsdale
    Oct 25, 2017

    I am so sorry to hear this. I remember your mom as a generous, kind lady. I don’t recall ever seeing her without a smile on her face, or hearing a harsh word from her. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  6. Kimberly Ordile
    Oct 25, 2017

    Krista this is a beautiful tribute! You honored your mom and allowed God to be glorified! I will be praying for you as you continue this journey! Thank you for sharing your heart and being transparent! I love you friend!

  7. Brenda Lyle
    Oct 25, 2017

    Krista, thank you for sharing. I pray that you will receive encouragement and comfort from each comment. I wish I could give you a big hug! 😘🙏
    My sincerest condolences and prayers,
    Brenda

  8. Mary Rawls
    Oct 25, 2017

    Krista, I have been following your mom’s journey but not saying much. I feel your heart and your pain. Even though I lost my mom at 72 from cancer (which is still young in this day and time) nothing can take away the Love and Memories you share. I still miss Mom and it has been 25 years. I tell you this to say, that I truly do feel your heart and your pain. With tears in my eyes I’m sending love and hugs to you and your family. Until we meet them again.

  9. Mike Bush
    Oct 25, 2017

    Krista, So sorry for your loss. Nearly 13 years ago after my mom died a friend sent this to me;
    “Lord,
    Grant that we may hold dear the memory of your servant, never bitter for what we have lost nor in regret of the past, but always in hope of the eternal kingdom where you will bring us together again. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.”

    We’re reminded in God’s Word that even before we were born, God knew the number of days we would be on this earth. The tough thing for us is that we don’t knew that time table but we do know where they are. Praying for your family.

    Mike

  10. Sara Pritchett
    Oct 25, 2017

    My prayers and whispers of comfort to carry you and yours.
    Keep those handwritten recipes and notes Mom wrote and give a prayer of thankfulness for her inspiration to you.
    Sending love, Sara

  11. Amanda
    Oct 25, 2017

    So sorry for your loss. I lost my mom last year on Sept. 21, 2016. She had just turned 67 the month before. She battled a rare neurological disease called Cortical Basil Ganglionic Degeneration. (CBGD) we had to look that one up too. It’s hard loosing parents at this age. Something I never thought I’d have to face at age 40. May God continue to bring you comfort as you go through the upcoming holidays and this next year.

  12. Kay Ridley French
    Oct 25, 2017

    So very sorry for your loss of sweet Pam. She was younger than me in school but she was a totally awesome person. Your message about her was so perfect. God bless you.

  13. Heather Thomas
    Oct 25, 2017

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. My prayers are with you as you try to process this new turn in life.

  14. Paula Martin
    Oct 25, 2017

    Krista, I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. Thank you for sharing your heartache so honestly. Your mom sounds like she was an amazing woman; look forward to meeting her someday in heaven! Praying for you and your family.

  15. Charity
    Oct 26, 2017

    What an awesome tribute to your mom and her faith in Christ!

  16. Tiff Capers
    Oct 26, 2017

    Very nice, Krista. Your mom was a wonderful friend to me. I miss her so much. Rest in heaven, my sister from another mister. Love u, Pam Henderson.

  17. Keilah
    Oct 27, 2017

    Love and Blessings to you and your family Krista. I will pray for you to feel better. Thank God for your mom and the life she lived.

  18. Tiff Capers
    Oct 27, 2017

    Great blog, Krista. Your mom was a wonderful friend to me. I consider her a sister from another mister. I miss her so much. Love you, Pam Henderson. Rest in Heaven, my friend.

  19. sandra
    Oct 27, 2017

    so sad , prayers for you sweet girl!

  20. MARIE DUNNING
    Oct 28, 2017

    MY PRAYERS ARE WITH ALL OF YOU AT THIS TIME . MY DAUGHTER DIXIE DUNNING JOBE WENT TO SCHOOL WITH HER ALL THROUGH THEIR MCKENZIE SCHOOL YEARS AND THEY WERE ALL A CLOSE KNIT GROUGH . I LOVE YOUR GRANDMOTHER MARIE VERY MUCH AND WILL KKEP ALL OF YOU IN MY PRAYERS .

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