I was three thousand miles away when I heard my mom’s voice on the other end of the cell phone. Her voice was sad and shaky.
“Hey It’s me.”
“Hi mom, you okay?” I asked.
“Well no, I have to tell you that I went to the doctor’s for this awful cold I ‘ve had for a few months. It’s not good.” Her voice got quiet and low. “It’s cancer.”
Here words were shocking.
“What? What do you mean cancer?” My voice shot back in disbelief. “Why? How?” She continued to talk details which became background noise, as my emotions took over and I started to cry. I took the phone away from my ear, my husband took the rest of the call. “Mom, it’s me. She’ll call you back.” They continued to talk, he seemed to always have a sweet way of listening to her.
I went outside needing some fresh air. “God really? We have plans.
What do I say to my four children? They only have one grandmother, who they adore.”
I wanted to run and hide, I was afraid, I was sad. I was mad! I didn’t want her to have cancer, I didn’t want to lose her. “God please would you take it away.”
I sat down on the old bench under the big oak tree with my face in my hands. The tears made puddles in my palms. I wanted to scream, I could feel my heart breaking.
Once I gathered myself I called my mom back. I had no words of comfort but to just say I loved her and I was so sorry. She was so brave and gave me comfort with the words that God was in control.
With much prayer and quick planning, our family packed up our belongings and headed home to Hawaii to be with my mom as she faced this uncertain journey. We landed at the Honolulu international Airport, April 5th 2005. Stepping out of the plane I could feel my feet wanting to run, the anticipation of seeing my mother’s face and the hugs and kisses she will give and receive from my kids. Holding tight to my little girl’s hand making sure everyone was accounted for, we quickly made our way past the shops and the crowds of people. I love the smell of coming home, the fresh flower leis, and the trade winds blowing the warm air. Over the intercom the recorded voice welcomes us home.
Going down the escalator I caught a glimpse of her familiar face. “Home,” I whisper to myself. Carefully stepping off, I let go of the hands of my babies as they all run toward her. Tears of joy and shouts of “Hi” and “Hello’s”. I couldn’t hold it in, the sobbing began. The children parted the way and I embraced her. It had been almost a year since I had seen her. She seemed smaller than I remembered. There was so much to talk about and so much to settle.
Our first stop was queens medical center for her first treatment of radiation. With all the details to deal with getting the kids in school, my husband going to work, getting a home, and the care that would be needed for my mom was more than I could bear.
God I need you to help me. Show me the way, give me your wisdom and your direction. I wish I could end this story by writing “and they lived happily ever after.”
However on November 26th, eight months later, my mom went to heaven.
It’s hard to put into words the way life goes sometimes. It’s so difficult to make sense out of things when it doesn’t make sense. There were some things that I’d learned in those eight months and there were lessons that changed my whole life for good. That’s the part that really needs to be shared. The days were difficult to get through as the cancer took over her body and mind.
Every morning I would wake up and attend to my mother’s needs then get the kids off to school, and spend the day caring for her. It seems odd when death is close, you tend to evaluate your life and the ones closest to you. Something began to happen inside of my heart.
Years ago, my mom left me, my older brother, and my baby sister. I was 11 years old. Her and my father got divorced. Life was filled with a lot of abuse and pain. Somehow she found her courage to leave this abusive man, unfortunately she left us too. My child-like mind didn’t understand the whole story, but what I did feel was unloved and abandoned. I grew up making a whole lot of assumptions but never really knowing what the truth was. Abuse for me and my siblings continued and eventually we all grew up and moved on.
God had his hand on us and he showed me the road to healing. Over the course of many years I learned to accept the life I had been given and I became a seeker of the truth. I learned who God really was and that his love for me was endless. He began to heal my brokeness and gave me freedom in forgiving my father and my mother. He allowed a lot of healing to take place between my mother and I, so by this time I was grateful to be by her side.
There is no way I would have been able to walk this journey with my mom had God not set me free. He became my strength when I was weary. He was my comfort when the news from the doctor was not pleasant. He was my joy and my ultimate peace.
My mom was in hospice for 9 days. On day 3, I walk into her room and she shouted “You, you are my daughter!”
I shouted back with laughter, “Yes I am!”
she said “You are my blessing.”
For the first time in my whole life I felt the most amazing love flow from her lips to my heart, and it was as though I was healed in an instant. I didn’t know that little girl inside of me who still wondered if her mom loved her. I didn’t know I was in need of my heart being healed in this way. But God did. The God who sees. He saw my heart and knew my mother would pass away in a few days and he allowed this beautiful exchange to take place.
The day she passed away I was in her room with our family. I placed my hand on her heart wanting to feel the last beat. It was a bitter-sweet moment. Even though we were saying goodbye, God was welcoming her home. No more pain, no more sadness. It’s been almost 10 years a lot has happened and life has changed. Since then I have become a grandmother twice. I often think about how much my mother loved my kids. She wasn’t able to give me what she had given to my children but my heart was filled with joy.
I’ve been blessed to be a wife, mother, and grandmother. Even though life can seem so cruel. God has some incredible plans for you. We may not always understand but we can choose to trust His almighty hand.
2 Corinthians 12:9- “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me.’ ”
Psalm 147:3- “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Dear friend if you find yourself in the place of brokeness. I want to pray for you right now.
Father God, Only you can know the heart that bears such pain and only you can heal this place. I pray for those who have lost someone they love, would you pour your peace over them. Would you give them your grace to make it through. Would you let them know that you are near and you will make all things new.
In Jesus name I ask these things, Amen.
His Grace is Alive,