Wonder What My Mother Was Like
Posted on May 23 2019
Written by Leanne B.
As a teenager I used to wonder what my mother was like. Did I act like her? What personality traits did I get from her? What was her favorite color, favorite food, favorite music to listen to? As I got older those questions turned into, would she like my husband, what was her pregnancy like and how am I supposed to be a mother when all I remember of mine was of her being sick? I didn’t know or maybe it’s better stated that I didn’t remember what the unconditional love of a mother was. I was 9 when she passed away. My brother, Clint was 11. She had been sick for most of our lives. In and out of the hospital. Most times when she was home, she was bedridden. That was what bone cancer does. She had beaten breast cancer already!! But that nasty, evil “C” word reared its head again. This time in her bones. For that, at least at the time, there was nothing but the poisonous chemo and radiation that could be done. My childhood memories of her are sickness. Sickness and an unwavering faith in God.
Needless to say, our father Ronnie needed all the help he could get raising two small children. He was a retired First Sergeant of the US Army and when he spoke, he expected people to jump, right then. Especially his own children. He called on the help of his mother, my sweet Grandma Jackie. Oh, how Clint and I adored her. We would have gone to the ends of the earth for her and she would have done the same for us. Sometimes I can close my eyes and still smell her kitchen! Straight from the garden to the table vegetables and no meal was complete without her homemade biscuits and red eye gravy! She passed away when I was 14, Clint was 16. Clint always used to say that if she didn’t make it past those pearly gates nobody else stood a chance. We spent many summer days shelling peas, shucking corn and canning tomatoes. She taught me the value of work and she also taught me the value of unwavering faith in God.
I didn’t know at the time that she was the buffer between me and my daddy. After she passed, Clint protected me from ALL things that he thought might cause me anything but happiness. We became each other’s best friend and we didn’t even know it. We had an amazing father. When some men would have walked away, our father did not. He stood by his family, he provided and he supported. But he was a hard man. The only way he knew how to show love was to provide and he ALWAYS provided. I have no idea how he did it but he did. He was strict. He raised us up like we were a couple of soldiers. He knew we’d do whatever it took to keep the other one out of trouble. Most of the time that meant not letting daddy find out!! As it is with most children and parents. Clint wanted to be just like our daddy. All I can ever remember him wanting to do was to join the Army. He wanted to be Airborne, like our daddy. When he graduated high school in 1998, he signed up and off to Ft. Knox Kentucky he went for his basic training. Nine years later we received a visit from two soldiers out of Ft. Bragg. My brother, my best friend had been killed in Iraq. The one person in my 25 years of life that was untouchable was now coming home in a coffin. Of course, I knew that that was a possibility. But this was Clint!!! No way was he going to lose a fist fight, he was going to have to be shot if the enemy was going to take him out. Even though it was his second tour, not once did it ever enter my mind that an explosion could kill him. Crazy, I know, but I believe that that was God’s way of protecting me. Protecting me from yet something else I would worry about, so He never let that thought enter my mind. Clint showed me what true loyalty really is. He was always the one person I knew I could count on. For anything. As long as I could get up with my brother, there was peace in my world. That peace died with him.
In 2016 I took another blow. My finance suddenly died. At the time, my daddy was in ICU at Chapel Hill. I worked a fulltime job and every other day I went to see my daddy. On the day Jason passed I had not been to the hospital. I was able to leave work, pick up my son and go home. When we got home, we helped Jason finish up his work, he worked for himself, had supper and everything was normal. My son, Thomas had gone to bed. Jason and I were in the living room watching TV, he grabbed my elbow to get my attention and when I turned to look at him, I watched him die. The cause of death listed on his death certificate was heart attack. I believe he had an aneurysm but we’ll never know for sure. I had called rescue but it seemed like it was taking them so long to get to our house. I had gotten Thomas up and sent him across the yard to Jason’s grandmother. The moment I realized Jason was dead I felt the spirit of the Lord consume me. Standing in our living room, looking at his lifeless body, I was at complete peace. It truly is something that you can not put into words. It was, for me, God in His most sincere form. That was the first time in all my life that I had felt this type of peace. God knew that I could not handle this on my own and He let his presence be made known to me. Jason showed me everyday that if we put in the work God will do for us what we can not do for ourselves.
A year and a half later, my daddy was to be called home. My son and I had moved back to our hometown and I worked full time and went to see my daddy every day. His health had declined to the point that he couldn’t get out of his recliner without help. He told me more than once during his last few months here that it was almost his time. And each time I’d reply with the same answer, “Daddy you’ll go when the Lord says so and not one minute before.” He passed away on a Sunday evening. I remember clearly the conversation we had the Thursday before he died during my lunch break. He was in the hospital and said he had not had anything to eat since the day before. His hands had turned in such a way that he needed help eating. So of course, I asked him if he had not eaten because he wasn’t hungry or if it was because he didn’t have any help. “Well, a little of both I guess” was his answer. I told him to give me 10 minutes and I would be on my way to him. He didn’t want me to go, he said “It’s about over, good.” That’s what he called me sometimes, good. That’s when I asked him “If you don’t overcome this are you ready, daddy?” Now, I didn’t ask him because I’m a good Christian. I asked him because I’d already lost everyone else and I needed to be able to sleep at night knowing that my daddy was right with his Lord before he died. I’ll never forget what he said, “Yes, good. Me and the Lord are ok.”
I do not tell you all these things for your sympathy. I do not need it nor do I want it. I tell you these things so I can share God’s blessings with you!! Yes, I was a young girl when my mother passed away and yes, I STILL need her today. But you know what I did get? A best friend in my brother. Had our mother still been alive we would have never needed or depended on each other the way our circumstances forced us to. I have a wonderful woman who I call my mama. She loves me unconditionally. Without hesitation. She loves me for who I am. No, she will never take the place of my mother but she was sent to me. She is one of many gifts the Lord has seen fit for me to have. My mother taught me how to read the Bible and how to pray. My grandmother built on that foundation that my mother had already laid out. My “mama” was an answered prayer. When my brother was killed, I thought I was going to die too. I prayed for death, begged for it. I didn’t want to kill myself but I begged the Lord to just let me lay down and never get back up. But the Lord had a different plan for me. He had given me an amazing little boy who needed his mama. Or as I like to tell people, the Lord gave me an angel to protect me from myself. I was at the very bottom of my pit. I mean it was like I was UNDER the rock bottom of my bottom! See, we had not planned on having a baby! At least not as soon as we did. Thomas was the most wonderful surprise I’ve ever or will ever have. God knew exactly how badly I was going to need this angel He had entrusted me with. He was 4 years old when my brother passed, he was exactly what I needed to pull myself out of what seemed like a bottomless pit I was in!! Thank you, Lord, for sending me this precious child! During the past 2 years I’ve learned a lot about myself. For most of my life I was Clint’s little sister. After that I was Ronnie’s daughter. Now I’m not sure who I am. What I am sure of is this, the Lord has brought me back to my homeplace. The home that my brother and I were raised in. And every day, He shows me something about myself that I never knew before. I am the daughter of a King who can not be shaken. Yes, I have endured a tremendous amount loss during my lifetime but would I have ever cried out to the Lord for His saving grace without it? Would I have even known to call on Him had it not been for my mother and my grandmother? Would I be saved had it not been for all of the devastation in my life? I doubt it. So, when people tell you that the Lord will not give you more than you can bear, know that He will. If He didn’t, we wouldn’t need Him. My salvation is what was riding on all the losses. And I know that I know that I know my loved ones that have been called home are ok. And I will be ok because I am a child of God.