Every now and then I hear myself saying, "My momma taught me that. .," or "My momma would always say. . " When I do, I always take a little pause after that sentence to let the sadness pass. . and to blink through the tears that rush to my eyes.
I've pretty much gotten over the fact that my momma is now in heaven, so I will not have the luxury of hearing her voice or seeing her face on the tough days. But what I can't seem to get over. . the one thing I can't seem to shake is that when my momma left this world she took with her some really amazing sayings and some helpful lessons that I now will never receive.
I feel the greatest loss because of that.
It is NOT true. You CAN miss something you've never had. . especially if the other things you've received are SO beneficial that you know that the best is yet to come.
Elizabeth Ann Francois just taught me SO much. She gave me all the tools that have gotten me this far in life.
- Thank God for the good and the bad. Oftentimes they serve the same purpose; to build your spirit.
- You can't love all your children the same. They are not the same. Your job is to treat them like the individuals they are; and love them the way they need you to love them.
- People will use you, abuse you, and confuse you. LOVE THEM ANYWAY. But when they hurt you, do it from a distance.
- Being rich has nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank. It's about how able you are to help others.
- Always forgive. Not to help the person who hurt you; but to help yourself.
- When you can help someone else, do it. You never know when you are going to need someone to come through for you.
- When you do your best you never have to brag on yourself. People will take notice and spread the news about your awesomeness.
- A no good man is just that. You cannot change him. That's God's job.
- Being Christian has nothing to do with your church or how frequently you show up in your best Sunday attire, it's about allowing the spirit of Christ to shine so brightly within you that people can see him in your walk, talk, and act.
- You have to be IN LOVE with yourself before you can fall in love with anyone else. Once you build yourself up you don't have to look for someone else, they will find you.
I could fill a blog directory with all of the lessons my momma taught me. I was blessed for 32 years to have her in my life, and if I try hard enough I can probably recall a thousand nuggets of wisdom she placed with me.
So, I'm sure you're wondering why I now feel like I left some cards on the table? Well, at the end, I just didn't take the time to sit at her feet and allow her to add to the wisdom she started planting with me..
That has to be one of the most painful admissions ever.
My momma was SO strong and so unrelenting in the most difficult situations. Honestly, I thought she'd kick cancer's butt, and we'd have a laugh about how the Devil tried to take her out again.
That's just who she was. She was a conqueror.
So, when I learned she was sick, I asked her to be straight with me. "How sick are you, Momma?" As always, she said, "I'm OK, baby." So, in my mind I thought, " I'm gonna take the next few months to wrap up these work projects, and bring Momma to stay with me this summer." Even after I went with her to chemo and saw how tired she looked, I just KNEW this was just one of those tests she had to endure so she could impart upon me the lessons she had learned.
Well, I'm sure you've read her obituary. She passed November 6, 2007.
That's the day I learned the lesson people speak on, but don't really understand unless they LIVE it. Tomorrow is not promised: not even to the strongest of warriors.
So, my life has changed. I don't let a day go by without telling my children I love them. I call my siblings as soon as the thought crosses my mind. Work is work. There's a time for it; but I'm not consumed by it anymore. And I've decided to be the best friend to my best friend. . not only in words, and cards, and on holiday. EVERY DAY.
I can only be grateful for this final lesson my momma left me with: the reality of my own mortality. It's been a hard pill to swallow, but still I have to say thanks.