Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day...the gift of love and life

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted:

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up:

A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing:

A time to get, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 

A time to rend, and a time to sew; and a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Eccl. 3:1-8
The front of the program at my mom's funeral...Eccl. 3:1-8

My mom and dad on the night they got engaged

My mom and dad right after my older brother David was born
Too funny!!  Oh my Word!!

I got my love of talking on the phone from her for sure:)

My beautiful mom....the last picture I have of her before she died

Most people associate Valentine's Day with romance, love, flowers, chocolate, gifts, etc.  In 1985, on February 14, Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning of 'love' for me.  That's the day I lost my mom...although she was not officially pronounced deceased until Feb. 18,  the reality is that she never woke up from the accident which happened on Valentine's Day.  I remember those few days 27 years ago like they were yesterday....from the the first night when we spent all night at the hospital unsure of what had really happened or how serious it my dad sitting my brothers and I down in the living room of our house on Briarcliff street in Bethany, OK to tell us that it didn't look like my mom was going to make sitting around the conference table at the hospital with the pastor to find out she was no longer with us.  It was like a really bad dream that I never would wake up from.  As a twelve year old girl,  I lost the woman in my life who had cared for and nurtured me from the day I was born.  My life on that day was forever altered.  Although many years have passed, when I think back on that day, I can still feel an ache so deep it hurts.  It's the type of pain I would never wish on anyone.

The years following my mom's death are a blur and sometimes still hard to remember.  I know that when something tragic happens, especially at such a formidable age,  that can often be the case.  As a teenage girl, I needed my mom more than anything.  I think to most people looking in from the outside, I probably seemed like I was doing just fine.  I laughed and smiled a lot, kept busy, and did my fair share of rebelling too:)  My dad remarried almost a year to the day of my moms death and again, from the outside, all seemed well...the Rothwells were moving on.  The truth is that on the inside, things were not fine....I was dying to have my mom back and to have a "normal" family.

I got married and moved away at a young age, maybe unconsciously hoping I could escape the pain of my junior high and high school years.  I remember going to visit my grandparents in Tyler, TX that first year of marriage and my grandmother giving me a memory album she had put together of some of my mother's pictures, letters, etc.  It is a prized possession that I am so thankful to have.  In the album is a letter that my mother wrote to her parents just a week or so before she died.  I have read it many times and laugh and cry each time I do.  It is long, but I want to share a little piece of it and my mom with you...

Dear Dad and Mom,
Hope this letter finds you both doing well.  All is well up here in snow country.  I think that I shall never want to see another oz. of snow as long as I live.  It has really been something.  The streets will get slushy during the day and then freeze at night making taking the children to school and going to work a true experience.
The kids are all doing very well.  They received their report cards last week and all have 3.5 grade averages and all three are in honors courses.  I guess the thing that amazes me the most is that Katie is in Honors Math.  She does exceptionally well.  You would not believe their questions.  Even Paul gets stumped on some of them.  It is really the strangest thing-the only course that they ask my help in is spelling-imagine that.   I am constantly going to the bottom of the stairs and yelling "either turn down the stereo or else"-Paul and I know when to do this as the drapes in the den are standing straight out from the wall.  I can look in the boys room and Timmy is sitting at his desk writing away and his head is just a bobbing up and down like a yo-yo.  He'll go on like this for a few seconds then he'll have a 'spas' attack and start drumming his finger and pencils on the desk.  The he'll calm down and go back to bobbing his head up and down.  Now note this is all done to extremely loud music.  Yet I can go over and tap him on the shoulder and he'll bounce off the ceiling 6 times.  Can you figure it?  Now David sits at the kitchen table-he is up and down out of his chair watching whatever we're watching on the t.v.-yet he maintains an A average.  Katie, on the other hand, lays on the bed and somehow pulls out a 3.5 average while talking on the phone for 2 hours at a time.  Now tell me what possibly can be talked about for 2 hrs?  Void that question.  However two weeks ago she got herself grounded for 2 weeks because she and a bunch of girls and boys went over to this boys house to listen to records till after dark then shows up at the gym at 7:00 for David's basketball game.  I was near frantic and Paul was ready to call the police.  She say's "I forgot to call-y'all said I could stay at school till David's game and watch the first 2 girls games."  We said "yes we did, but you weren't to leave they grounds."  So this was why she got herself grounded.  Katie is a precious gal, but I don't know about the coming years.  She is a very well liked girl in her school and although this is good, it still worries us.  All we can do is to try to stay on top of the situation.  Paul and I count ourselves as being two of the luckiest parents alive.  We so love our 3 children!

She goes on to talk about a few other things and ends with telling my grandparents how much she loves and appreciates them and how special they are to her.  Wow!  I love having memories of her to hold onto...and BTW, I think that was probably the first of many groundings for me:)

It was a year after receiving the memory album from my grandparents that I held my firstborn son in my arms and I, for the first time, understood the love of a mother.  There's nothing like it!   At every milestone in my life, I've yearned for my mom to be there. I know she would have loved being a grandma.  I have often longed for a mother to call and talk to about my life like others do with theirs.  With Cody's graduation coming up, I so wish she could be here.  I have had women over the years that have stepped in and been mother figures in my life and for that I am so thankful and blessed....but no one could ever replace the love that I know my mom had for me...because I know how deeply I love my own children.  I'm sure I would have disappointed her at times over the years if she were still here, but I would hope she would be proud of who I am today.

Valentine's Day is a day set apart to show our love to the special "one" in our life, but for me it's so much more.  Valentine's Day to me is a reminder that life itself is a gift... and the fact that I have the privilege to love and be loved makes it worth it.  On this Valentine's Day I want to invest more in the people I love because time is more precious than anything else I can give them.  It's not about getting gifts and candy, but about giving all of myself to the ones I love...on Valentine's Day...and every day.  I'm thankful for the 12 years that I did have with my mom and will continue to cherish the memories.  Have a great Valentine's Day!


No comments:

Post a Comment