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When I was a young boy, there were three words that my mother said to me each morning, five days a week, nine months a year for 12 years....RISE AND SHINE, she would say. It meant we were to get up for another day of school.
If I had known then, what I know now, there would have been about five words I would have said to her each time. My mother didn't have the benefit of a good, solid education. But, she was the smartest person I've ever known. She didn't have a diploma or degree from any school or university. But, she had a PhD in life and yet another, in love.
Many had said of her that she did too much for us, her children. It was said that perhaps she loved us too much. But, I ask of you, just how can you do too much for your children and even more, how can you love them too much? What people seemed to forget was the circumstances surrounding our life at home when we were coming up. She had to be both mother and father to us. Yes, we had a father there, in body. It was mama who did for us, it was mama who watched out for us, it was mama who calmed our fears. It was mama who said that one day things would get better for us, that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't an oncoming train. She was right.
There are so many memories of her that I scarcely know where to begin. One that seems to be standing out most right now is when we moved to a place called Woolmarket, MS. This place was so far out in the woods, I think they had to import daylight to separate day from night. My first day in the second grade, I was confused as to what bus to take home from school. So, I decided I would walk home down the road I thought was where we lived. 'As you can imagine, my mother was frantic when the bus came by our house and I didn't get off. She got a neighbor to help her go looking for me, her wayward son. When they came across me, I was so embarrassed, I didn't want to get in the car. My mother ASSURED me I was getting into that car.
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We had some many rough times when we lived in Woolmarket. Many times, we didn't have food in the refrigerator for us to eat dinner. But, somehow, someway, mama always put something on the table for us to eat. Once we ate, then she would eat. That is something I remember about her as I mourn her passing. Another time, my mother had taken all she could off of my father and we left and moved into a home that had the conveniences of central heat and central air. Unfortunately, we had central heat in the summer and central air in the winter.
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What I remember most, was my mama sitting up all night in that hardback chair, with nothing on her arms to protect her from the bitter cold...quietly weeping, quietly praying for me throughout that cold, miserable night. THIS...was my mother. I've often thought the highest praise you can give any woman is to say she is/was a good mother. This being the case, my mother was the very personification of a good mother.
She loved us unconditionally and her entire life was devoted to us, right to the very end. Sure, she had faults, just as we all do. But, she admitted hers, while so many others find themselves faultless. She's be the first to admit her faults...she was so very humble. For the first time in the 46 1/2 years of my life, I face a Mother's Day without my beloved mother. It will be difficult, to be sure.
She taught us how to laugh, how to love, how to give comfort, how to live our lives morally and there at the end...mama showed us how to die. I comfort myself in the knowledge that she is with Jesus, and her daughter who was so tragically killed nine years ago...something she never was able to recover from.
She no longer suffers from crippling arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, eye disease or other problems that I can't remember right now. But, despite it all, my mother's faith in God remained unshaken, she believed on the Lord with all her might.
Today, I am happy to tell you, my mother is dancing in victory before the Lord. She has fought the good fight and I am sure, that the Lord has said unto her, "WELL DONE, MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, WELL DONE."
Finally, someday I too must pass from this world, just as we all must. By the grace of Almighty God, I enter into His Heavenly Kingdom, I will bear witness to all the saints that went on many years ago, the wonders and majesty of that magnificent kingdom. Somehow, someway, I just know...I just know that I will hear that sweet, familiar voice say 'rise and shine' and I will turn to her and say 'Thanks mama, thanks for everything.