Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simple Gifts

Seven years ago this week I was rushing back to Southern Alberta to plan my Mom's funeral. The circumstances of my Mom's death only added to the deep pain and heartache. We were wounded. How could healing and forgiveness ever happen with so many unresolved issues??? I honestly doubted that peace would ever be apart of our lives again.

But there have been many tender mercies. Simple gifts for my sister and I. Real glimpses into Mom's true self.

First, several months after her passing, as we were going through boxes of her personal papers we came across the original copy of her Patriarchal Blessing still in its envelope, postmarked from Salt Lake City, more than forty years before. A document we had believed had been long before lost. In reading this precious gift we knew my Mom was a daughter of God and had fulfilled a very special purpose in this life...

Then last week, I was searching through her things looking for pictures. I came across what I thought was just a binder full of notes from a class my Mom had taken after we had moved to Canada. When I actually opened it I realized it was her final paper from her Special Education teaching diploma, the topic, the story of MY life.....

I was born with some significant challenges, something my Mom never really spoke openly about, I think in an effort to protect me. Most people just thought I was weird, awkward and clumsy.....all true but I also have cerebral palsy.

It is surreal to read about your own life from an other's perspective, but as I read through her pages I was truly humbled by her honesty in a matter that was still so tender. She was determined to give me the best outcome possible. Four days a week of physical, occupational and speech therapy for more than a decade. More than a dozen doctors and specialists. Staying in California after my parents split up so that I could have the best pediatric orthopedic specialists reconstruct my feet and the refusal to let any labels limit me. I think it is only as a mother myself that I can truly understand the extent of her sacrifice.

She did love us, I no longer doubt that. I will never know why mental illness has touched our family in such a profound way. But I know with certainty that I can have peace without that answer and gratitude for simple gifts.


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