Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy Birthday, Bettie GRACE

      Today is my mom’s birthday—the first one since she passed away on May 25.  She would have been 79.  We were already thinking about what we were going to do for her “Big 80th.”  I guess it will be different than anything we were thinking about.
      Though I started my day in West Lafayette, IN, I am ending it in Los Angeles—an appropriate way to spend my mother’s birthday, in the city where she was raised and where she raised me.  I am on my way to a conference called, “Space for Grace.”  “Grace” is what filled the space between her first and last name.  Grace was also something that she lived out better than anyone I know.  It’s what I appreciated most and what frustrated me most about my mother.  It’s what made her a great mother and an amazing grandmother (which also made her a great mother).
      At the time that my mother died and the weeks after, I heard all at once something that I had heard many times in my life.  “You mother was my best friend.”  In the midst of the shock and my grief I remember thinking (and maybe even saying out loud to my sisters) “How in the world can someone have so many ‘best friends’?” and “I’ve never even heard of you.  How can you be my mother’s best friend?”  And then I realized, they weren’t her best friend, she was their best friend.  That I could understand!   Bettie GRACE ‘s legacy.
Mom and I (and possibly Kellie?)
      It made me think of the people that were a part of our life growing up.  I am quite sure that for some of them my mother not only was their best friend, but their ONLY friend.  I would say to her, “Why are you friends with that person?”   But that is grace.
      And it is a good thing that she lived up to her name.  There isn’t anything that she wouldn’t do if it would help her daughters or her grandchildren.  She was the haven for parents (her daughters) and children (her grandchildren) that could no longer live peacefully in the same home.  She was the one who unconditionally loved her grandchildren when they felt like no one else did.  We knew she was praying for all of us, even when we didn’t ask her to.
       Space for GRACE:  Happy birthday, Mom!  I miss you!

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