I shared my first Memorial Box Monday here, regarding our adoption. (For any new readers, at the time we were still calling him Danilo, but now he goes by Daniel.) Today I'm going to share one about my mom. She's been on my mind and heart a lot lately. Last week (Feb. 18) she would have celebrated her 67th birthday and in a couple of weeks it will be the six year anniversary of her going to be with the Lord.
This story takes place March of 2004. She was in her last days of a six year battle with cancer and we were savoring every minute we had left. We were already at such a place of brokenness because just weeks earlier, we lost a baby boy near the end of my pregnancy (that story can be found here .)
To understand the significance of this story, I must explain that my mom was one of a kind. She made every day seem like a party and could find humor even in the worst situations. For example, she did one more round of chemo with the hope that she would live long enough to meet her grandson (who is now with her for eternity). The treatment burned all of her soft tissues including tastebuds . . . except for one who she affectionately called Bud. She named her car, her piano, even her wheelchair. The term "detail-oriented" was certainly an understatement when describing her. Not only was she creative, she lived poetically. And she wanted her last breath to be on a day that had meaning.
Thus when the calendar flipped to March, she was bummed. There wasn't a day in March worthy of her obituary. She wished she could make it to a day like Palm Sunday or Good Friday or Easter. But she knew her days were few and I could just hear her talking to God under her breath, "March . . . really?"
While my mom was praying for a day of significance, I was praying for a sign of significance--a sign that our storm was almost over. During a nine month period we lost my grandmother, our son, and now my mom. In addition to those losses, we had also faced with some detours and other challenges in our life. I was thinking that God should just cover me with boils and call me Job. I was becoming fearful about what might be next.
The morning my mother died the sadness was overwhelming and I just kept praying for peace. Later that day, I glanced at my calendar and saw a little word typed in the box for that day . . . "Purim." Since I'm not Jewish, I wasn't sure what it was but quickly Googled it. I couldn't believe it when I read about the Feast of Purim, that this is the celebration where sorrow is turned to joy. Never has Wikipedia been so profound. I just wept reading the words "the days of mourning are over"!!!
Apparently the Feast of Purim is observed on a different day each year (according to the Jewish calendar)--anytime from late February to mid-March. But that year Purim just happen to fall on the same day my mother went to be with the Lord. God is amazing.
I picked up the phone to tell my mom about her perfect day--then realized this sweet revelation would be coming from her Father. I'm sure her mouth--with brand new tastebuds--let out a squeal when she found out how beautifully God had numbered her days.
And my prayer had been answered as well. I suddenly had such a peace and calm that this would be the end of our pain and our goodness and mercy would follow. And it has . . . in abundance.
I wish I had kept that page of my calendar to put in my Memorial Box. Instead I tucked a copy of the verse from the beautiful book of Esther that records the first observance of Purim.
Feast of Purim
"The time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration." Esther 9:22
The book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn't mention God, yet His mighty hand is seen throughout the story. And as we celebrate the anniversary of my mother's passing, we don't remember that day with sadness, but stand in awe of a great God of great love who cares about every little detail. I'm so grateful that His mighty hand can be seen throughout the story of my life.