This was written for my mother’s memorial service book. Her service will be held on Saturday.
Over the last few years my mom stopped saying “I love you” and started telling me, “I’m loving you.” As I have thought the last week or two about my relationship with Mom, the meaning in that small wording change has begun to reveal itself to me in ways that I’d never really noticed before.
I can’t think of a day until her death when I didn’t at least have the possibility of my mother around every corner. If it wasn’t dropping by to see me and Eamonn at work, it was calling to see if we wanted lunch. If I didn’t talk to her on the phone, I chatted with her online before going to bed. She was there for the birth of my son. She was there not just to share joy but to pick up the pieces when, so many times, I made a shamble of things. She was my mom but she was also one of my best friends. I think I can honestly say that there was nothing at all I could bring to her that she couldn’t hear and love me all the same.
Many of you remember the time that Mom spent praying for me when I was following a path in my life that brought me and just about anyone who loved me a lot of pain. I know from notes in her bible, things friends have told me, and conversations she and I had later about the countless, faithful prayer requests she wrote for me to others even as she toiled in prayer herself. I keep thinking about how, the day I finally prayed, asking God for his forgiveness and opening myself up for a relationship with him, Mom was the person who knew the second I walked in the door that something had changed. I believe her exact words were, “What on earth happened to you?”
My mom did not simply feel affection for me and tell me so. She pursued me with her love and, if I’m brutally honest, there were a lot of times where she pursued me with love even as I ran in the opposite direction or acted so unlovely I’m tempted to wonder why at times she even bothered. But she did. She poured love out in ways too many to count – on me, on Ryan, on Eamonn, on more people than we will likely ever know about in this life.
One of the things we found after Mom passed away was her testimony — her own version of her life and relationship with God. As I sat reading it for the first time a few nights ago I realized that my mother had been pursued all her life by Love, too. She had learned to love by example and it led her, as she put it, to the foot of the cross.
My mother spent her life actively loving because she was and is actively loved by a God in whom she found hope, forgiveness and peace. From the foot of that cross, where she found the Source for all she needed, she drew and poured out love on me, my family, her friends and most likely if you are reading this, on you too.
Because of her faith and love, Mom’s life was the living out of that little phrase, “I’m loving you.” I am so thankful to have had her in my life and as my example of the life of thanks I would like to lead. I will miss her terribly but will think of her with joy until we meet again in glory.