Posts Tagged ‘mom’
I spoke at my mom’s memorial service. A lot of people said I was brave. But I didn’t feel brave, I felt sad. Overwhelmingly sad. And I felt proud. Proud that I had my mom as my mom.
Here is what I said:
Thank you for coming. My name is Kara Noel and I’m Suzie’s only child.
She got it right the first time.`
As I look around this room, I can’t help but think of how much my mom would have loved to be here with all the people she loved most. It feels like she should be walking though the doors right now… LATE… of course!
I wanted to share some simple stories and memories about my mom. A woman FULL of joy, life and happiness.
The week before my mom fell, she was over at my house. We made beautiful pillows together for my couch. We talked about life and love, and laughed together all day. It was probably some of the sweetest time we’ve ever had together. She told me in her proudest mom voice that I had done “so much” with my life by 32. Maybe she was referring to the amount of children I had in such a short amount of time!
Her statement resonated with me, and later that night I was thinking about all the things she had done in her life:
She put up with 3 younger siblings… and if you know them, that’s quite a feat!.
She was a leader among her peers.
She was faithful to her High School sweetheart.
She traveled the world… even climbed the pyramids in Egypt.
She was my Room Mom from Kindergarten thru 6th grade.
She was a vigilante for my High School.
She took in strays… cats and people!
She was instantly loved by anyone who met her.
SHE LIVED BIG.
But that’s not what made her awesome.
She loved the Mother Teresa quote, “Do small things with great love.” Even though she lived BIG, I feel like my mom was the master of small things.
A master of the details.
She made my childhood magical with Small Things:
My tooth fairy, named Melanie, wrote me letters and would leave a trail of fairy dust from my hair to the window sill.
After school on rainy days she would invite all the neighborhood kids over for popcorn and hot chocolate.
She made every class party special for every child.
She made homemade lunch for about 30 teens at my house every Tuesday my senior year of High School.
She made my adult life magical with Small Things:
She secretly decorated the front door of our tiny apartment the first year I was a married woman with homemade wreaths… that I still use and cherish today.
Every Christmas she would fill my stocking with hot glue sticks and my favorite Earl Grey tea. Something I have never had to buy in my 8 years of marriage… till last week.
She would fill Brad’s stocking with the “good Q-tips” that we were too poor to buy as a young married couple… because she paid attention to the details and knew he didn’t like the generic ones
AND I was BLESSED to see her do Small Things with my children (I just wish I would get to see more):
Baking brownies with a whole container of sprinkles on top.
Building legos and sticking stickers for hours.
Glitter! Because we all know parents don’t to glitter because it’s so messy.
Now I get to pass along all those special small things. Wouldn’t you know it, Eli’s has the same tooth fairy and she leaves sweet letters.
BUT the biggest Small Thing my mom did was listen.
She would truly listen.
Growing up we had a neighbor, who has since passed away, named Millie. And Millie would come over a couple of times a week and shoot the breeze with my mom for at least an hour. It would throw my mom’s day totally off and she would be stuck doing her chores late or not getting things done at all. I remember telling her, in all my infinite-teenage-knowledge, to just tell Millie that she had things to do or to just work while she chatted. My mom told me that she had made a promise in her head to God, to just drop everything and give Millie her full attention every time she came over. My mom felt this way about all visitors and would drop everything and give anyone who came over, her full attention. Not wanting to miss any divine appointments.
She actually cared and had true compassion.
When she was with my children she wasn’t pushy and wouldn’t try to force a special moment. The most precious moments would just happen as she listened. She would do whatever they wanted to do, all the while listening to whatever was going through their sweet little heads.
I want her to hear the way Tess says her first new words.
I want her to chuckle over Cy’s latest mischief.
I want her to bake dozens of brownies with Cora Jane.
I want her to marvel over Eli’s latest lego creations.
I want her to tell me in all seriousness that each one of my children is a “true genius.”
When I first started I said I wished my mom was here… and I still do!
But in a way she is here because she left a great legacy.
My Aunt found one of my mom’s notebooks yesterday (what a precious gift). My mom had written this quote,
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything.
They just make the best of everything.
Please remember my mom when you do Small Things.
Because Small Things matter.
In fact, Small Things aren’t small at all.
Just look around at this big room of hundreds of people, here to celebrate the life of a my mom, Suzie – the master of Small Things.
So, that’s what I said at my mom’s memorial. (deep breath)
Before I spoke I was praying about something Jesus-y to say. Nothing came to me until about a week later. I suppose it wasn’t meant to be spoken there. But I’ll share it here, in another post soon.
I’m also doing a post about what to say (and not to say) to someone who has just suffered through a loss.
Here is a little tribute post I did for my mom 5 years ago. It’s sweet, so I thought I would include it here as well.
My computer crashed on January 17th.
My life crashed on February 7th.
The computer has been fixed for a few days. (Hence this post.)
My life will never be the same.
My mom died.
I absolutely hate that that is part of my story.
I absolutely hate that my mom won’t get to read this blog post.
Or any new blog post I will write. (She
thinks thought I was so clever.)
I’m sad (understatement). And I’m sure I’ll be writing about it. Along with all the other things this blog is about. But for now, I’ll write about how it happened. Because it’s a story worth sharing. And it’s my story (deep breath).
My mom broke her leg falling off a curb, and was getting better. We spent Christmas and New Years in the ICU (wrapping presents on the waiting room floor above) Then she wasn’t getting better and was transferred to Cedars Sinai. At Cedars we found out her body was rejecting the metal hardware put in to fix the broken leg. It felt (feels) very tragic and unfair.
We became quite popular among the nurses because we brought treats every visit. (Thank you to those of you who helped me out!) Even though things were so dire, I really felt like God was working. My mom was somewhat stable and my heart thought once the hardware was gone she would start to recover again like she did from her initial leg surgeries. It felt like God was trying to get as many people involved in his miracle as possible.
We prayed. And prayed. And churches all over the country prayed. We made the decision to remove the hardware. Which meant we needed to remove the leg. The leg she broke was her “bad” leg. The one that was really unhealthy from her diabetes so it really wasn’t the hardest decision to make. Especially because the alternative was give up and wait for her to die. She had less than a 10% chance of making it though the leg surgery.
She made it!
Glory to God. He was working. It felt big. And horribly wonderful.
Now we just needed to wait.
It took about 10 days from her broken leg surgeries to get back to talking and eating again, and I was prepared for about the same amount of healing time. Three days went by and she was overriding the ventilator and her blood pressure was normal – even during dialysis.
Then it wasn’t.
Her blood pressure was dropping and she would no longer sustain dialysis. We had a family meeting with her doctors and they told us there was nothing more they could do. And the week of healing ended up being the week she died. It took 3 days for her body to finally give up. She
is was the strongest woman I have ever known.
I was holding her hand when she breathed her last breath and for her last heartbeat. The people she loved most, sung her favorite hymns and ushered her into forever.
It was beautiful, and a peaceful way to enter heaven.
But I wish it had never happened.
I can’t believe it has happened.
From falling off a curb.
I can’t believe I’ll never get to sit at my dinning room table and sew and chat with my mom. I can’t believe that my younger kids will never remember being adored by her. And that my older kids’ memories will be mostly prompted by old photos instead of last week’s visit.
My heart hurts and my head keeps thinking that this just isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
I feel very alone.
My heart knows she is in heaven rejoicing and my head says it’s not fair that such a truly good person is gone from earth.
I feel like 60-years-old is too young to die.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
believes believed this. Do you?
There is a lot of power in being a mom! I’m not talking power trips or the power to do good or evil. Though being “mom” certainly does allow opportunities! I’m thinking more along the lines of the power to be a fun mom. Maybe power isn’t the best word… choice? Yeah, the choice to ignore the messy living room for a day and have a water fight instead! I have a feeling my kiddos won’t remember a few
months days in a cluttered house but they will remember the fun of spraying the heck out of each other with H2O on a hot day. And the flip side – they probably would cringe at memories of a mom whose need for a spotless house kept the family on pins and needles every time a toy was pulled out.
Maybe one of my favorite family buzz words, intentional, is the best to describe our Mom-power. Being intentional about my mommy decisions is key in my daily mom-ness. I’m intentional because I know that what I teach them will have long lasting effects. Now, I’m not saying I always make the best mom-choices (that’s unintentional, of course) and I most definitely won’t be the “fun mom” that buys beer for her 16 year olds, but sometimes I get it right. Like letting a certain lil’ fellow use a stick he found on a walk as a fork for his snap peas.
(pics from June 2010)
Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow!
I’ll be at the beach enjoying my annual Mother’s Day picnic.
Have you ever given your toddler the camera?
I don’t know why but I adore these shots!!
I did clear out the memory card first… just in case those little fingers found the secret combo for deleting the whole thing… ha! Eli has figured things out with the TV remote that Hot Hubby can only dream about.
<<<——— Self portrait…
This shot makes me want to buy a house so I can paint walls and create the funky (probably bright red) kitchen of my dreams…