Three generations of women who are free indeed
WARNING: This is a long post concerning the loss of my mama, Yvonne C. Amador, and could be considered quite self-indulgent to some. Wherever you fall on the boundary line, I pray you would permit me the grace to get this all out so a new season of healing and freedom can come for us all.
It’s been a week since my mom was laid to rest. It’s been just over two and a half years since her battle with ovarian cancer started. Today we are both on the other side of a new day.
It’s a strange thing this thing when you realize you are no longer have a mother to check in with, to care for or to update on how the kids are doing. I’ve never had to grieve as a grown woman with her stockpile of pain within reach. Moving on with my life feels kind of brash while staying stuck in the moment and leaving the door open for grief to sweep me off my feet and into despair is not a risk I am willing to take. I read a quote the other day that said: “Busyness is Prozac for loneliness.” I know this to be true.
I took some time to seek the Lord on healthy ways I can enter into my new normal. A few things that sprung to the surface of my heart were these; stay present to the moment, stay present to my feelings as they ebb and flow and to create. Creativity has always been a good caretaker of me.
So, I recorded a podcast honoring the life of my mom. Why would I do that? Because as the cancer began to steal more and more of my mom’s presence away from me it became more and more crystal clear that because my mom loved and lost I was set free to love and win!
Take a listen to my podcast, and you will get what I mean.
In this podcast I share with the world the most important 1221 words I have ever written or possibly will ever write. These are the same words I spoke at my mom’s funeral. And for posterity sake of all things found on the internet that can not be forgotten, I am going to post those words here below:
To know my mom was to know unceasing kindness, extravagant love, and childlike faith. She loved. She loved hard. She loved far beyond most. She loved until it hurt. She loved and got hurt. I confess, when I was younger, her unyielding love bothered me. Why she loved people who would not love her in return was beyond my understanding. Where most would have stopped loving, my mom kept going.
She was a faithful woman.
Her love for me was good seed that overtime….lots of time….bloomed into a colorful and imperfect garden that God could tend.
She gave me and taught me the greatest gift, the gift of faith.
My mom would sacrifice all to afford for Eddie and I the opportunities she never had.
Like the time I was 6, and she encouraged me to join The Brownies. Then due to a flat tire, she didn’t make it to school in time with my suitcase and sleeping bag. The bus left without me. With a fallen face and an urgent hug, my mom arrived at the school office. She felt so bad that I had missed the campout. She turned to me and said, “Well, it’s your special day!” She took me to Christown Mall where I was treated to anything I wanted. I commemorated this day with a Mr. Bill iron-on t-shirt and a brand-new pair of red, with a white swish, Nike waffle bottom shoes. (And by the way…I was scared sick about this camping trip. I didn’t want to go anyways. So as you can imagine, for me, this was the best day ever!).
My mom loved extravagantly. She was not stingy with her love. (Her parties for a few where she would make enough for an army was proof of this extravagance. Better to leftovers than not enough. Something Jesus believed in too.
She wanted me to be everything she was not and to do everything she never could. A desire of her heart that would cause significant tension in our relationship through the years. We loved each other and yet we were very, VERY different from one other. We were oil and water on most days. She didn’t want me to hurt in the ways she had been hurt. So, she taught me to speak up and stand up for myself or others when something wasn’t right.
All she ever wanted was to love and to be loved. And yet, love hurts. We are all hurting now because we loved.
As the British writer and lay theologian, C.S. Lewis so perfectly wrote:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
Mom was not selfish with her love.
Mom taught me to be bold. Something she showed me in action the day I returned home from school only to be handed a hammer. Mom told me to start swinging, as she pointed her hammer towards the old wood-paneled wall. For some time, she had been asking my dad to take it down. Since dad didn’t seem to be getting around to it, mom took matters into her own hands. That wall was coming down, this day, on her watch. We had such a great time swinging our iron clubs and making a mess. I am pretty sure the message was received loud and clear when dad came home to a half-standing, swiss cheese looking, wood panel wall with a view into the hallway.
Mom loved big and sometimes big love makes a bold move.
Anything another sees that is good in me springs forth from the seed of love and faith that my mom cultivated in me.
Born fatherless, and into lies of rejection, abandonment, and un-chosenness; The very things that tried to destroy my mom and our family has now become the battle for which I was born.
11“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires
12I will make your pinnacles of agate
your gates of carbuncles
and all your wall of precious stones.
13All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
14In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15If anyone stirs up strife,
it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
shall fall because of you.
16Behold, I have created the smith
who blows the fire of coals
and produces a weapon for its purpose.
I have also created the ravager to destroy;
17no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”
The greatest comfort we now have is knowing mom’s days of sowing tears and experiencing pain are over. She is with Jesus now; laughing, jumping, leaping and dancing. She is free! And I know she would want everyone in this room not to waste one more minute trying to get their needs met in a world that cannot satisfy or to believe that the love of another is enough to quench your ache. Those are loves that will one day leave you and forsake you. But God’s love never will.
To quote CS Lewis again: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
God’s love for my mom was out of this world and helped her to face all her fears. Especially in her last days. Death spares no dignity. But not one day did He take her eyes off her, nor did she off of Him.
Mom knew that only God’s love; the love of a good, good and heavenly Father could complete the work of love in her. Jesus, fully God, and fully man, was also rejected by many. The finished work of Jesus dying on a cross for the sins of the world only to resurrect three days later was mom’s constant reminder that Love will conquer all her fear.
My mom now knows eternal life free of all pain and fear.
Mom, you shaped my heart, handed me a hammer and passed on to me a legacy of unrelenting love and foolish kindness.
I love you. You are my queen of queens. I miss you something awful. But I know you are with me now in greater ways since your spirit and soul now exist outside of the confines of time and space. I know heaven and you are always near. Together, along with a great cloud of witnesses, we will continue to tear down walls and set the captives free.
If you are still reading, thank you for permitting your heart to go there with me. Thank you for letting me leave a birthmark on the internet to let the world know that my mom, Yvonne C. Amador, lived to love and loved until the end.
Question: What out of the ordinary thing(s) have you done to heal your heart when you have loved and lost?