Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Memorial Day

Today is January 31, 2009. Eleven years ago today my mother, Marion Mae Colby, entered into her final rest. Steve and I had been gone all day to a church related conference and arrived home at 9:45 pm. As I walked in the door the phone rang and it was my brother calling from mom’s place to say that mom had just died. She had been in very poor health for a long time and on hospice the last few months. So it wasn’t a surprise -- and yet, it was. We are never quite ready when that call comes.

In 1987 she had a stroke, which left her changed in both body and spirit and personality. Nevertheless she loved me and I loved her to the end. But I think back most fondly of the woman who taught me to bake a pie, who gave me a love for reading and who encouraged me in everything I did. She was a friend, not just a mom. We would often laugh, discuss the books we’ve read, overindulge in donuts with a hot cup of coffee and just enjoy each other’s company.

And she was such a happy grandma! She just loved our 3 daughters to pieces. The love would bubble up inside so much that she would smile and then grit her teeth to prevent herself from hugging them to death. She'd say, “I just love them so much it is a wonder I have any teeth at all!” She was blessed to get to see 3 of her great grandchildren -- and she still had her teeth! And, she thought Steve was the greatest thing since sliced bread!

Marion Mae Turnbull Colby was a quiet, steady rock. She took whatever life threw at her with a calm dignity. Her complaints were few. I remember going to visit her in the hospital after a grueling 12 hour surgery. It was the first year I was married. I was told that I wasn’t allowed to see her because of fear of infection and so I didn’t go to the hospital right away. A few days later my father stopped by the apartment where Steve and I were living and scolded me for not going to see mom. I told him that I wasn’t allowed to see her, but he just replied, “Nonsense, she needs you!” So that day I drove over to the hospital, put on the required gown and went on in. She looked at me with a big smile on her face and told me, as she had told me so many times before, “That’s OK honey, I understand!" I cried, but she just smiled and patted my hand.

I remember one time when I was commissioned to sew a wedding dress, veil, and all the bridesmaids’ dresses. What a daunting task and I had great fear. The first cut on the beautiful satin nearly brought me to tears. As I got each new part of the wedding dress done, I would take it over to mom’s (she was living in an Adult Foster Care Home by this time) and show it to her. I'd let her feel the satin, see the lace and beads and hang it up so she could see the full length of the dress. She would always exclaim how beautiful it was and what a wonderful job I was doing. After the wedding I brought her pictures of the day, the bride, bridesmaids, and the handsome groom.

As her life began to ebb she would sometimes say, “I wish I could just die!" She missed my father very much. He had passed away 15 years earlier, in 1983. Her pain and discomfort were getting to be too much and she was tired of being trapped in a wheelchair. She was ready to go. And so, in one burst of pain from an aneurysm, she was gone. At the age of 81 she entered into eternity, and because she knew Christ as her Savior, she found herself home with Him forever more.

I love you mom. I will see you in the morning!

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