Every marriage faces different seasons. Some you see coming and others take you by surprise with a phone call. Being aware of this helps us adjust when the winds change–rather than get blown away by the emotional roller coaster, we cling to each other holding on tight until the wind subsides.
Tom and I have been in such a season.
It began on October 25th when we got a phone call from a hospital in Belize. His Mom and Stepdad had been on a cruise when she fell and broke her hip. After being airlifted from Belize to Ft. Lauderdale, Tom had to leave right away in order to meet their arriving flight. He stayed with them until she had surgery and was released to travel back to Orlando via a non-emergency medical transportation service.
Suddenly all our plans were canceled and a new urgency was put on us–caring for his mom and stepdad. He was focused on them, and I was focused on him. Decisions were weighty and the waiting was numbing. Prayers were constant and God’s help never felt nearer. We took life one day at a time. We had no idea if this would be a short season or a long season, but we were confident in the One who knew. So we did what we had to do each day.
On Saturday, January 28th shortly before 10p. the winds stilled and his Mom took her last breath. The fight was over and she was at peace. One season ended and another one began–grieving the loss of someone whom we loved deeply and was our biggest fan.
I didn’t meet Tom’s mom until the week of our wedding in 1979. I was afraid it would be awkward and that she wouldn’t accept me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. She loved me because her Tommy loved me, and anyone he loved she was sure to love as well. I realized then I didn’t have a Mother-in-LAW. God had blessed me with a Mother-in-LOVE, and for almost four decades she has been gift to me.
Tom has called her every morning for as long as I can remember. He honored her. He cared for her. He enjoyed sharing his moments with her no matter where we were, whether on a mountain top or standing by the sea. He included her in his joy.
She loved to cook and she was good at it too. She loved to see us well-fed and happy. I never tired of getting a call from her thanking me for loving her Tommy the way I do. In fact, I still have a voicemail on my phone with these words…
“I don’t want to forget to tell you this, and I’m forgetting a lot these days…thank you for sharing your Tommy with me today. I love you very much.”
I will miss her. Tom’s only sister is also a Debbie so she called her “My Debbie”, and I was affectionately called, “Tommy’s Debi”. I love the way she loved all of us, and our lives are the better for it.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for raising such a man who knows how to love deeply. I am grateful to God for you. You will be missed, especially in the mornings when Tom used to call you. But we will never forget you or the influence you’ve had on our lives. We are better for it! Until we meet again, I remain…