As the familiar signs of spring are upon us once again, I hear the Chickadees with their sweet call. I feel the gentle soft rain and I see the trees beginning to burst with their leafy green blossoms and I remember.
I remember, and my heart aches.
It is hard to believe that it has already been a year since my mom suddenly fell ill. “Just appendicitis and a simple surgery”, so we thought. While the surgery was simple and quick, what followed was not. The reality to come was beyond what I could have ever imagined.
Unknown to us, prior to this simple surgery, Mom’s appendix burst and poison filled her body. This led to all kinds of trouble and caused her to die just 6 short weeks later. Those weeks were filled with some of the darkest moments of my life. Decisions about her care were made rapidly. After 2 weeks of recovering in the hospital, plans for long term recovery needed to be made. Together, my mom, my husband and my siblings, decided that the best option was for her to move in with us where my family and 4 of my siblings could all take turns caring for her. And that is what we did, day by day, moment by moment. And after about a week or two, it appeared that she was on the mend!
My mom was the bravest women that I have ever known. She went through more struggle and heartache than most people ever will in their lifetime. As I watched her courageously face into each one….deaths of family members passing on far too young, breast cancer (twice), and artery blockage that finally led to triple bypass surgery, I learned what it means to be brave! I learned to face into fiery trials with strength, peace and joy. My mom never felt sorry for herself even though there were many reasons she could have. Her faith was rock solid and never faltered. With each crushing blow that the enemy threw at her, she learned to lean deeper into her Savior and trust His plan.
As healing slowly continued in mom, it seemed apparent that she was going to need care for a length of time. Another decision was made. One that drastically impacted me in so many ways. I decided to leave my position as Director of Finance at a small missions company in my area. I had spent the past 2 ½ years in this position lying down a solid foundation of finance where none had been in place. I was proud of my work. It was here that I learned how much I love to help young, small businesses and their owners lay this foundation and to discover that it is possible to gain control of this critical area of business.
Suddenly I found myself led away from this position and into something far more important. It was time for me to care of my sweet mom for the remaining days of her life, come what may. (so I thought) I put in my notice and left the position. To my shock, mom had a massive stroke and passed peacefully into Glory just a few days following.
All of a sudden there I was….mom was gone and what I thought was my new purpose slipped away peacefully with her. It was like someone hit the reset button on my life! My calendar suddenly went blank. More than that, there was all of this open space in which to grieve.
I spent my summer days facing into that grief. I often went to her townhouse to clean out her belongings, cry, learn to let go, and discover hidden treasures buried throughout that small home. One of those treasures is the old bookkeeping journal captured in the photo on this blog. My mom used it to track the finances of her parents farm estate after their passing.
It turns out, my mom had the heart of a bookkeeper just like me! I had no idea even though she had often talked to me about her love of numbers and how much she loved her first job at a bank in downtown St. Paul. A job she left when she got married and began the enormous task of raising 6 children. How did I not see this sooner? Her gift of organization was so strong and apparent to all who knew her. She used it often to help others. My mom instilled these same traits in me, love of organization and order, and evidently my love of bookkeeping. I also inherited her fighting spirit to keep going and never give up!
After I spent the summer facing into my grief, I knew that it was time to move forward. For 10 years, I had dreamed of owning a thriving bookkeeping business and for 10 years I made excuses for why I could not invest in that dream. The time had come to jump in and do it with the determination and fight that I had learned from my mom. So began this new journey and so far I have faced some big obstacles and challenges. As a business owner I have learned that I will be forced to grow in ways that I don’t want to sometimes. At the same time, I feel my mom’s heart cheering me on and telling me to keep going!
Happy Birthday, Dear Mom! I am glad that you are free of your earthly tent. In my heart, I can see you and dad walking hand in hand down streets of gold. My heart longs for the day when we are all reunited. Until then, this bookkeeper’s heart lives on to continue your legacy.