Mom Friesen’s Story
Memories dance through my head as I watch my Mom lie helpless on the hospital bed. This woman, a few days ago still sassy with comments, now weakened so much by a monstrous disease called cancer. Ever gracious, she forces her eyes open and looks at me with love in her eyes. Those hazel eyes still dance with a bit of mischief. That wonderful sparkle, though fading slightly, is still there. She reaches for me and gives me a hug. Unbidden tears well down my cheeks and fall softly on her now bony shoulder and the hospital pillow beneath her tired head. Even in her pain, her breathing labored, she whispers my name over and over, “Laurel, Laurel, it’s okay,” as she weakly rubs her hand on my shoulder.
Tears come unchecked now, pouring down my face like a water facet that cannot be turned off. I nod my head and burrow deeper in her weak embrace. “I know Mom. I’ll be okay. Jesus has us all.” But I’ll miss you Mom. I’ll miss you more than you will know. I know, because I miss you already.
I flash back to walking through the park together. I hold my big dog’s leash – Sabrina. We are talking, laughing, and sharing life together. This time she is concerned for my health. Another time my finances. “Are people paying you Laurel? You know that you are worth a lot and people need to pay for your services. You are ministering and sharing the gifts that God has given you.”
“I’m okay Mom. God provides. Yes, I’m working on trying to ask people to remember to pay me.”
She nods and continues on her rant to be sure that I understand the importance of what she is saying. Then talk turns to God – what she heard that morning on TV, or in church, or simply what God is teaching her. She talks of churches Mom and Dad have travelled to and ministered in. She laughs about past events and the silly things that the grandkids have done. She shares her life with me. She tells me stories from her past. And I gain more than a mother. Through those daily walks going briskly through the park together, I gain a best friend. Who could be so blessed?
When I was a child Mom was always there. She was never short on words and never afraid to show her emotions, yet sensible. One always knew where you stood with my Mom. Her kind heart extended to all around her, especially her family. Long road trips were the norm in our family. Mom and Dad wanted us to know our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The road trips brought us closer together in a very real, physical way. One road trip was the first one to BC. I lasted 15 minutes in the front seat between Mom and Dad before I was sent to the back seat because I thought for sure we would go over the edge! Yet they were always patient with me.
I picture Mom sitting in the bleachers there for most of my volleyball and basketball games. Any sport I did, or my siblings did, she was there. There were many times when I got injured and Mom was always the first one there. She must have been very fast! There were countless times of injury for me – getting bucked off a horse; falling off a horse; spraining my ankle on the basketball court; and each time I have a picture of Mom sprinting out to me. The love she has for us all is so evident. When our dog Sport fell in the river and couldn’t get out, Mom was down on her belly pulling him out. Mom taught us how to dance in the house when dancing was forbidden in the church. Mom pushed the limits and taught us how to live life to the fullest as she did. She maintained her youthfulness because of it. We had many comments in the park about how we could go so fast because we were young. Mom was already well into her seventies when she received those words. Always she received them with a mischievous, yet gracious smile. “I guess they don’t know I’m probably older than them,” she would whisper to me as we shared a laugh. When shopping she would complain that the pants were too short on her midriff. I would whisper to the clerks, “She’s past seventy you know – find her some higher cut pants,” always met with pure shock. She was allowed to be picky and not afraid to voice her opinion.
Mom was real and sincere. There was always more food for whoever showed up. Somehow the soup never tasted watered down and the food stretched and still tasted good. Her flower garden always looked amazing, and the vegetables always grew for her. She loved to point out what each flower was called either wild or domestic. She carried on the tradition from her Dad of knowing the stars constellations by name and pointing them out in the sky. My horse is the only one who didn’t like her because she only came out to the barn when I got hurt or when my horse needed a needle! Of course even my horse seemed to know when she wasn’t holding a needle and Mom would get a snuggle. I still have not figured out how she let me go riding by myself for hours without really knowing where I was. She must have had an amazing trust in our Father God to protect me and my siblings on our escapades.
There were times when Mom would lose her cool too. I remember her getting so mad at me once that she pulled off her shoe to give me a swat. I didn’t think I had done anything to deserve such a thing so I took off, ran through the bush in my bare feet with Mom in hot pursuit. I climbed a tree until she calmed down and Dad got home. I recall being in that tree for awhile! I did avoid the swat on the behind that I probably deserved for being cheeky or some other such atrocity.
My mind rivets back to the present. Mom is still in the hospital bed and the facet of tears has not turned off. She is comforting me as she waits to walk through the amazing gates of heaven. She is ready to go and meet her Lord and Savior, yet knows how hard it is for us to let her go. I have an amazing Mom. “I love you so much Mom.” “I love you so much too Laurel” she tries to whisper. She doesn’t really have the strength to talk. Her pulse rate is now up past 116 beats per minute. This weak person lying here is the body she has now. I praise God that she gets a new body because this one is done. I gaze at her lovely face as tears still pour down my cheeks. I am blessed because of her. She has given me physical life, and shown me how to live life amidst the sorrows and pains with joy in spite of strife – or maybe to spite the strife. She has walked the path with me. And now I release her to Jesus so that I can one day walk with her again in our heavenly home. I love you Mom. Enjoy the banquet prepared and ready for you. Some day you will be there to welcome me when my time comes to go to Eternity.
Always and forever your daughter, friend and sister in Christ,
My Mom went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on August 19, 2011. I miss her like crazy and look forward to the day when we will all be together again, walking the sweetest paths ever grown and constructed, in heaven. Her life was a living testimony to the goodness and authenticity of Jesus. Before she died, she lay in the hospital bed and said, “Laurel, tell me more about heaven.” I told her how we would walk streets of gold, how the river of life flowed from the throne of God and brings healing, how there is no crying there and no pain; how maybe we’ll all get to fly! I told her that Jesus was preparing a banquet for her and He was so excited to see her because the party was all planned and it was going to be magnificent! I told her much more than I remember for she kept asking me the same question, “Laurel, tell me more about heaven.” I didn’t tell her that before she died Jesus had given me a picture of Him standing behind her chair at the already prepared banquet table set just for her. Jesus face was one huge smile as He waited for my Mom to come and join as the honoured guest. I couldn’t tell her how after she died I asked Jesus if He could please show me where she was. The picture that came to my head was one of my Mother, very young and beautiful, being escorted to the seat of honour at that very table. Now, I get glimpses of pictures of her with Jesus in the flower garden that she loves to plant. Whether these pictures are real or not I do not question, I just thank God for the comfort they bring to me. May you all choose to trust and believe in Jesus so that we all can meet some day in heaven and party together there! The path is narrow, yet it is open to all.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
He also died so that we could come to God the Father through Him! John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” What greater love is there than that?!
I choose Jesus Christ and life. How about you?
In the grip of Christ and with all my love,