Home is Where Your Mom Is: Heaven

Some say, “Home is where your heart is.”  But I have come to know since September of 2013 that home is actually wherever your mother resides.  And that is why now, even more than before, Heaven is my home.

My mother was a professional homemaker. Not the fancy, delicate kind. Just the good, solid, comfortable, inviting kind.  She planted petunias and pansies because they were hearty.  She was a good cook.  She didn’t have a large variety when it came to her menu options, but we always knew there would be a hot meal waiting for us after a day at school/work.  Both she and my father were from Iowa, so strong work ethic,  small talk, and meat and potatoes were our staples growing up.

She was the oldest of 9.  She knew how to milk a cow and drive a tractor.  She was physically very strong.  She hated to exercise.  She married her high-school sweetheart at age 18 and helped to pay for the wedding with the money she made working part-time at the bowling alley in their town of 800 people.

She was very smart though she never went to college.  But more importantly, she was wise.  I still read from the One Year Bible that used to sit on the kitchen island after her time with Jesus every morning.  Its margins are full of dates.  Records of the battles: the losses and the victories that she fought with the Lord in prayer.  She probably spent more time praying than anything else.  She was constantly taking people before the throne.  She had God’s ear, and if I needed to see a mountain move, I knew to ask for Mom’s help.

She cared about people.  After her death, we realized this truth in an even greater way.  She gave much of her spending money away to charities.  She took time to talk to people, but mostly to listen.  A few months after she had passed, my dad was mailing something at the post office in our city of 14,000 people.  Somehow he got into conversation with the woman behind the counter about my mother.  The woman remembered her and began to cry, thinking about how friendly mom was to her each time she came in to mail her packages.  She even made the mail lady cry!

She knew how to keep a secret.  She VERY rarely spoke poorly of anyone.  And if she did, it was usually in defense of one of her kids (mostly my brother!  LOL!)  She was not a gossip.  She honestly strove to assume the best about others.  And she was a peace-maker.  I remember asking her why she didn’t stand up to people more and defend herself when needed.  She told me that after cancer nearly took her life when she was in her early 30s, she realized that it just wasn’t worth it.  Very few battles were actually worth fighting.  The small offenses and grievances that sidelined others just seemed to roll off her back.

I find now that she is gone, I look at old photos of her differently.  I don’t just look at the people in the pictures but also how she put her life together.

The keys in the bowl beside the telephone.  The Sunday newspaper spread out on the dining room table.  Her clip-on earrings and bangle bracelet laid on the bookshelf immediately after returning home.  Her presence.

I miss so much about her.  Shortly after she passed away, my husband asked me  what I remember most about my mom.  I couldn’t put a finger on it.  Memories of my mother are so different to those of my father.  Childhood memories with Dad usually center around an activity: horseback riding, camping, playing baseball.  Memories of my mother are hard to define.  It’s as though she was childhood.  I can’t think of many standout memories of her because she exists in all of them.  She is like the thread of quilt.  The substance that holds it all together but doesn’t draw any attention to itself.  In fact, the part you often take for granted until it’s gone.

And home did unravel when she left.  My husband and I and our then 2-year-old son returned home for China to be with her during the last few weeks of her life.  I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter.  After she passed, we were able to stay with my father during what would be the most difficult transition of his life.  How does one become two again?

Her absence left us groping for a way to do life.  Holidays, birthdays, someone to call when I needed advice or encouragement.  A new way had to be found.  And we are finding it.

The poet Nayyirah Waheed said, “My mother was my first country, the first place I ever lived.”  Mother.  The one who teaches you what a woman is to be.  The first culture we learn.  The ever-present helper, defender, friend.  Our true north.

My mother was my first country, the first place I ever lived. -N Waheed Click To Tweet

And so my compass now points to a higher place.  A place where there will be no more tears.  Where I will hear her golden laughter once again and watch her play my with children.  Where we will feast and drink to the best of life for an eternity.  And where we will see our precious Jesus and thank Him for making a way for us all to be Home once again, together.

~Brooke

20 Comments

  • Donna @ Soul Survival May 2, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Brooke, how blessed you are! And what a reunion you will have one day! May God comfort you and flood your heart with beautiful memories this Mother’s Day. Blessings!

    Reply
    • Brooke May 2, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Thank-you, Donna. I completely agree- I am truly blessed! Blessings to you too!

      Reply
  • Debbie W. May 3, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Brooke what a lovely tribute to your Mom. Words that I could speak about mine. We miss them so much don’t we?

    Reply
    • Brooke May 3, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Yes, so much! So sorry for your loss too. Thank-you for reading!

      Reply
  • Michele Morin May 4, 2016 at 7:47 am

    So sorry for your loss, but so happy for your full heart! Thank you for sharing this for all whose hearts are ambivalent about Mother’s DAy.

    Reply
    • Brooke May 4, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Thank-you, Michele! Hope you have a wonderful one with your boys!

      Reply
  • Jennifer May 4, 2016 at 10:07 am

    What a precious tribute to your precious mother! I love how your described her. You did just a good job with it I feel like I know her. Thanks so much for sharing your story on Waiting on…Wednesday!

    Reply
    • Brooke May 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Thank-you, Jennifer!

      Reply
  • Susan Shipe May 4, 2016 at 11:02 am

    This was stunning. I lost my mom in October 2012. I was 62 and she was 86, I had her a very long time. It took months and months – perhaps years to find my new normal.
    I so relate with this post. Thank you, Brooke.

    Reply
    • Brooke May 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Thank-you, Susan. It does take so long to get used to the new normal. I’m on the journey!

      Reply
  • Diane Durnell May 4, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Brooke, what a precious memory of your sweet Mother. She was, just as you said., a VERY SPECIAL person. I remember her infectious laughter and her sweet spirit. We loved getting together with your Mom and Dad for Bible studies, dinner or just a fun party. The best was when we played Taboo – men against the women. I swear your Mother would lose for us every time because as soon as the timer was set she would get so flustered!!! Lol. She had everyone laughing so hard! God bless you for keeping her memory alive. Happy Mother’s Day to you. Carry on her legacy and please give our love to your Dad. ❤️

    Reply
    • Brooke May 5, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Thank-you, Diane! I love hearing how others remembered Mom and the times you had together with her! She was crazy at those games!! Happy Mother’s Day to you too! <3

      Reply
  • Victoria Morgan May 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    My dearest Brooke,

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother. You described your mom so beautifully. She was such a strong Christian woman and knew how to keep her priorities straight. She loved every minute she had spending time with her family! She was always on top of every special occasion! She loved to celebrate and put her whole heart into accomplishing many good times, filled with lots of laughter and love. She always thought the best of every situation. She could talk about the Lord endlessly! She could talk about serious situations and then end with saying something hilarious. She never lacked laughter or trying to help someone in need. God bless you Brooke, you are definitely your mothers daughter. Have a Happy Mother’s Day ! Xoxo

    Reply
    • Brooke May 5, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Thank-you, Vicki! She really loved you and considered you such a dear friend. Sometimes I still remember the way you both laughed together! I feel very grateful and humbled to have had her as my mother. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!! Much love.

      Reply
  • Charlemagne Summers May 5, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Brooke this is beautiful and I am crying!!! I honestly think your mom is an angel sent from heaven to spread love, laughter and joy….she is now back in heaven and oh how I wish that she could have stayed longer!! Sharon always took time to talk to me and I loved hearing her laugh….she was a genuinely nice lady and you are so blessed to have her as your mommy….she was so proud of you …. she was the real deal! Thank you for sharing your heart! I will pray that God comforts you on mother’s day and that in some miraculous way you will feel her love in such a tangible way!!!

    Reply
    • Brooke May 6, 2016 at 8:29 am

      🙂 Thank-you!! She was an amazing lady. And you are an awesome Mom too! 3 really great kids. Thank-you for your prayers. And happy Mother’s Day! Hope they spoil you!

      Reply
      • Debbie Orrick May 7, 2016 at 9:44 pm

        Brooke,
        Thank you for sharing such warm memories with us. Your Mom was a beautiful example of God’s grace to those of us who were blessed to know her and call her friend. It’s so beautiful to think of her and smile remembering her laughter and the joy she shared with us all. One of the things I’m most excited about regarding heaven is getting to see your Mom again and talking to her for hours! All the love she poured into you and Shane you are now pouring out on Benji and Pearl. This Mother’s Day I hope you are celebrated for the beautiful woman you are, for your grace, laughter and for the joy that you bring to others. I know your Mom is with you always in your heart. She was so very proud of you and the wonderful Mother you are. Happy Mother’s Day honey.
        Love you so much.

        Reply
        • Brooke May 8, 2016 at 6:07 pm

          Thank-you, Debbie. She loved being your friend. You were cherished. I hope you have a good Mother’s Day too! (And hope your kids spoil you!!)

          Reply
  • Hannah @Sunshine and Spoons May 7, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    My mom is still living, but she lost her mom at the age of 14 so I’ve seen her grief, especially on Mother’s Day when she feels that loss the most acutely. I wrote this post for her and others who have lost their mothers: http://www.sunshineandspoons.com/2016/05/a-mothers-day-reminder.html

    Reply
    • Brooke May 8, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Hannah. My mom lost her mother as a child as well. It’s something I wish I could ask her about now that she’s not here to guide me through it.

      Reply

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