But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:9
It is Mother’s Day weekend and I wanted to share with you a tribute to my Mom, Ardis Merrill, who died August 2012. I still miss her and especially feel that absence when I walk by the card aisle. My mom left a legacy of three daughters, two sons, and many grands and great grands. The following poem is a tribute my sister wrote following her death. I pray it not only gives you a glimpse of my legacy but may it open doors for you to appreciate yours as well.
I Wear Her Face………..
By Beth Byerley
Peering through the lens of time to backward years
That lie like a long string of dominoes
Still falling forward – and feeling the momentum
As I am propelled forward with them,
I wear her image like a cloak
All-at-once identifying me, coloring who I am.
We lost Mom’s presence nearly a year ago,
When her favorite season was coming to an end – Summer.
The time when her home on the lake was swelled with
Children, grandchildren, family, friends.
She cleaned, laundered, swept, and baked her way through summer,
Time measured by pitchers of koolaid, cribbage games, needlepoint projects.
Her presence permeated through
Smells of morning coffee, freshly baked muffins,
Through vases of the flowers she gathered –
From spring’s lilacs to late summers’ lilies;
Through the sounds of her smooth, warm voice
Talking low over the breakfast table…
The sweet beginning of a summer day with Mom.
I knew my Mother well – her deep faith in God
And her pervasive love for her family.
Fiercely loyal and true to her beliefs, she had her share of heart dents in life…
The wounds of prejudice,
The slights caused by battles with callousness and ignorance,
She wore her wounds like a soldier – fighting forward, suffering in silence,
Aware that other’s wounds were worse than her own.
And she loved us with openness of heart on the ground floor of life,
Where the anger could be expressed, the grief could be cried,
And the love could be embraced.
Mom decorated life from the time she entered it, until she left it.
Whether it was her beautiful face, the colorful scarves,
The art treasures she created with her hands in swift stitches on fabric,
Bold strokes with brushes and watercolor on canvas,
Or the creative ways she transformed “ordinary” into “beautiful”,
Mom left this world a more beautiful place because she was here.
She lived her life like a missionary: giving herself away to others,
Mentoring people behind her on the journey of life and faith —
Sharing truth with them; supporting them through their struggles.
She gave herself to us and our families…
Welcoming us for holidays and family gatherings…
Coming to our homes to care for our children,
Bringing the warmth and security of her presence while we traveled away,
Giving us peace of mind as we entrusted our precious families to her care.
Mom loved to travel….seeing the world at its best time…
Before wars and hatred tore our human fabric into fractured pieces.
We all have treasures from various parts of the world
As she brought home small pieces of its exotic beauty to us.
She shared her life with us, even as it began to close at the end….
Her eyes becoming her only way to express her love
As her brain dulled and her speech stopped.
We could see her frustration as she tried to join with us,
Participate in our circles of conversation,
Let us know her thoughts — but not being able to
Make it through the maze of twists and turns
As her Alzheimers slowly blocked her pathways through to us–
The people she loved most in the world.
When we said our final goodbye, surrounding her in the
Tight circle of family she had created in her womb…
Whom she had nurtured and served all her life,
It was to release her to the freedom of heaven,
To the great love of God and all who had gone before.
And what is left behind?
We are her legacy….
The sons and daughters and loving husband;
The beloved family she adored;
The friends and churches to whom she gave pieces of herself and her heart.
And to us, her daughters, she gave a more visible legacy –
Features from her lovely face.
May I be a credit to the legacy and all that it means….
May I love well and fully through a heart that loves Jesus first.
May I mentor and guide others to health and wholeness.
And may I love my family in ways that undergird them
With the secure knowledge of unconditional love.
I Thank God that being perfect is not the requirement for being loved.
Because love grows and prospers in
Grace, Forgiveness, and Healing.
That is what I learned from
ARDIS MARIE, my Mother.
Happy Mother’s Day!
As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve!
Bringing Stories to Life!
If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!
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Or you could order my book Devotions for the Distracted Heart- https://www.amazon.com/Devotions-Distracted-Heart-Peg-Arnold/dp/1732769923/