Remembering Momma

I’ve got a home in glory land that out-shines the sun!
Do Lord, oh, do Lord, oh do remember me! . . . ‘Way beyond the blue!

I took Jesus as my Savior, you take Him, too!
Do Lord, oh, do Lord, oh do remember me! . . .’Way beyond the blue!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn September 5, 2013, a small group of family gathered around the graveside of my mother, Ruby Gertrude Tice, to honor her life and to say good-bye.  Momma died on Saturday, August 31.  She was 88.

Momma had Alzheimer’s disease.  It had ravaged her mind and ultimately her body, leaving her totally helpless, but for the support of her family and caretakers, for two years. The disease was long time in coming and it was virtually impossible to separate its effects from the mental illness that Mom struggled with in some measure all of her adult life.

So, in fact, saying goodbye to Momma came/comes with a mixture of very many emotions: relief, sorrow, hope, confusion, and anxiety, to name a few.  Life with Mom has not been easy.  Often over the years she lashed out in anger and bitterness against those she loved.  Yet, so many times, she was eager to show her love in the way she knew best—by giving of herself.  Nobody worked harder than Momma.  Nobody was so careful in spending money—unless, of course, she sensed a real need and then she generously shared from her heart.

Momma’s faith seemed pretty simple:  Love God and work hard to make the world a better place.  But there was little grace—neither for her nor for us.  Her inner emotional turmoil was a burden we all carried and we have spent most of a lifetime “walking on eggshells.”

So how does God make sense of all this?  I have spent a lot of time thinking about this.  I am so glad that God understands Momma like none of us could.  He knows the limitations that early abuse and poverty imposed on her.  He can unravel the confusion of her mind from the intentions of her heart.  I reach out to believe that God has now completed in Momma what he has promised for us all:  He has taken her brokenness, her struggles, her sense of not measuring up, and he has filled all the voids with Himself.  He is giving Momma the love she always craved but seemed unable to receive.

poct sept 13We sang “Do Lord” at Mom’s farewell, as she had requested years ago.  Initially, the choice had seemed a bit odd and childishly simple.  But I think in fact it was very appropriate.  Its truth rings true:  Jesus does and will remember us now and always.  He cares.  Hope lives!

Joyce Thomas

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7 Responses to Remembering Momma

  1. Dale says:

    Joyce, as always… beautifully said. Ruby was a very complicated person who never stopped working to make sure that everything was as good as it could be. I always enjoyed making her laugh!

  2. Yan Chan says:

    Hi Joyce,
    sorry to hear about the sad news. I hope and pray that you always feel God’s presence and His comfort in the midst of sorrow, confusion, anxiety and also in the “mixture of very many emotions”.
    thinking of you,

  3. David W Heughins says:

    I can identify, Joyce. Marie had a battle with mental illness, too, although she kept it at home pretty well for the first 30 years of her life. The perfectionism. The self-depreciation. The sleeplessness. The outbursts of rage. It was the fire that drove her overachievement. But the diagnosis from Dr White released her from her self-condemnation and medication slowed her down and made her a good deal easier to live with. Now the Lord is making it up to her by giving her a serene and joyous form of alzheimer’s. We should all be so happy! So I’m sure it will be a bitter-sweet time for us. Thank you for sharing.


  4. Shirley McMillan says:

    Dear Joyce,

    Thank you for sharing with all of us your touching remembrance of your mother. You have written with love and deep respect for her, about issues that are hard to acknowledge and face up to–pain that has passed on from generation to generation.

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Shirley McMillan says:

    I’m sorry, I hit the send button before I’d finished writing. I’m glad our God–your mother’s God–is merciful and gracious and kind beyond all measure. I’m sure your Momma is truly at rest now, and enjoying peace and joy that she never dreamed possible. May God bless and comfort you, and give you his peace.

    Shirley McMillan

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. Sandy LeGrow says:

    Joyce, You expressed your thoughts so well and we are thankful that it is finally over for all of you. May the God of comfort be you strength at this difficult time. God is faithful to the end.
    Love and Prayers Lorne & Sandy

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