Since Mother’s Day is coming up, I was thinking about all the wonderful women who are a part of me and who I am so grateful for. Thank goodness we have set days in the year to think about special things in our life- otherwise, we may pass over some of our greatest blessings. There are so many ladies I’m thankful for, but one, in particular, is on my mind today…
On Mother’s Day last year, I looked down the bench at church to see all of our kids. Mother’s Day is bittersweet at my home. To some this day was great I, their mother, was sitting right next to them and this day didn’t really phase them. They sang songs about moms and listened to the speakers like any other week. (Which means they probably weren’t listening at all!) Then I looked at the other faces of our kids on the bench and saw sadness. It broke my heart like it does every year. These three kids are Matt and Amanda’s kids who I now consider my own- by some miracle. They lost their mom nearly 7 years ago to esophageal cancer- a rare cancer of the tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. Amanda fought each day to spend just one more day as a mother and a wife.
I feel lucky to have known Amanda. We worked in a church calling together, so I stopped by her home and spoke to her quite a few times. I remember praying for her as many who lived in our surrounding neighborhood heard she was going through this health issue for 18 months. I also remember the call I received telling me she had passed away- it was my brother’s birthday, so the date stuck with me. I was so sad for her family. I recall so distinctly driving past their home on the morning of her funeral and wondering how her husband and kids could possibly go through this day. I couldn’t imagine. Surprisingly, two months later I found out myself when my husband passed away. It was devastating.
I describe Amanda as quietly confident. She was easy to be around, smart, positive, and had a sweet peace about her. Matt had stickers made for her that people placed on their cars. It said WILLPOWER. Yes, that describes what she and her family were all about.
Her family, including her parents and siblings, have welcomed me with open arms and I see Amanda in them. I know this is an extremely hard thing for them to go through. I do know loss, but I have never lost a sibling, child or parent, so I really have no idea what that is like. But even through their loss, they are so loving to me and my 6 kids. I can’t be around her sister without crying because she treats me like gold. It shows me what kind of person Amanda was by how her friends and family embraced me.
I feel very fortunate to be the one to raise her amazing kids and sometimes I wonder why? Well, I believe the heavens made it so. Madie says she, “prayed me here”. Now if that doesn’t make me want to be the best parent ever- I don’t know what would. I feel a great responsibility to be uplifting Amanda’s children since I am in the position she desperately fought to be in. I feel Amanda’s presence in our home and know she is still a part of their lives. This life I am living is truly a humbling and spiritual experience.
One of our Mother’s Day traditions is to go to the cemetery. Years ago none of us would have ever guessed that this would be part of our day.
In a few weeks is Father’s Day and the tables are turned. It’s my kids who will have heavy hearts and somber faces as I look down the church bench. They will be missing their dad. I also know that they have a wonderful man who has stepped up to be a good “dad” and I feel blessed every day for Matt in my life. Once again, we will visit the cemetery.
So to you, my friends, don’t take Mother’s Day for granted. Even if you haven’t reached out in a long time– tell the women in your lives how grateful you are for them. You never know if this is the last chance you will get to. Take the time to show your love!
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms in heaven and on earth. A special Mother’s Day shout out to my mom because she has had the most influence in my life and I am grateful for her every single day!
In memory of Amanda Lyons 1967 – 2008
*first published may 4 2015