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Friday, May 25, 2012

Joan's Legacy

Today I'm linking up with Mom Heart  for their very first link up. We are supposed to share on our lives as moms and in particular share about the legacies that we are leaving for our children. I want to share someone else's legacy though.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that my mother in law has been ailing from cancer these past 5 months or so. It seems as if she has been in a steady decline with no will to fight for her life. The moment she heard the word 'cancer' she seemed to shrivel up and shrink away from God and from life, even refusing to eat until a feeding tube had to be inserted so the family could 'force-feed' her because she is malnourished.

Yesterday she was admitted to hospital again for a blood transfusion and a battery of tests. As I looked at her asleep on that hospital bed last night, it seemed as if she is in an unreachable place. I wondered how much longer we would have her with us and I understood the quiet anger that simmers beneath the surface of the family's regular activities that she has given up...that she has not fought for more time with them.

My thoughts ran on the legacy that she has built up. I looked around the room at all four siblings who are quietly drawing strength from each other. Even if her presence and participation is weak, it is enough to be the central force of their connection...as it has been their whole lives.

She, who taught them that family is the most important thing, who doggedly continued to cook Sunday meals just so she could have her family visit every Sunday, even though I kept telling her that we should be cooking for her and even though, as children grew, fewer of us came.

She has taught them to have faith in God and to turn to Him for answers. I remember my husband telling me that when he had major decisions to make she would tell him to pray and that his heart would know what to do.

She, who had to depend on that faith in order to allow her children to spread their wings and fly out of her nest, also taught them to let go and let God. It couldn't have been easy to let her firstborn leave her and travel to North America to study at the tender age of 17, in a time of no cell phones, Skype or email. How she must have prayed for him!  This same son who was later involved in two serious car accidents...what a strong lady she has been!  She had to repeat this emptying of her nest three more times, sending two more children to university and giving one over in marriage.

Yes, she has taught them to be strong...to believe in themselves. She once quoted to me what she used to say to them "Nobody is better than you are." She didn't just talk the talk but walked the walk too having to rely on her own strength so much in the years that my father in law travelled heavily due to his job and even having to live apart from them for a while. I just cannot imagine doing this without my husband!

She has encouraged them to see the lighter side of things. This has always left a deep impression upon me, having come from a very uptight family. They always banter and tease and joke around, even with their mother lying in the bed before us they could find something to smile about. I feel very uptight by comparison!

There's so much more I could say, but I would be writing a book! I know I should be writing about my own legacy, since this is what we are linking up with today. I promise to do so next time, but today I wanted to share with you about my amazing mother in law and to ask you to continue to pray for her and to thank you, all of you who have been lifting us up in prayer.

May God bless you all abundantly and may His protection be with you and yours.


4 comments:

Kristin Bridgman said...

In a time when so many are negative and make mother in law jokes, this was so refreshing. What a blessing to have her as your mother in law and how sweet of you to share her in the way you did. I hope she knows.
You are such a dear! ;)

m said...

What a blessing she has been! God and family are indeed most important. Visiting from created2behishelpmeet.blogspot.com

livelifewithyourkids said...

Though you may feel you should be writing about your legacy - when a person touches us like your mother in law has touched you - she does become a part of your legacy. Thanks for sharing her story.

Lisa Maria said...

Oh thank you ladies for the blessing of your kind words. Paying you all back a visit now.