Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Prized Possessions # 2

This is a very personal one for me. It really means so much on so many levels.

Ok, let`s start at the beginning. This prized possession is my Mom`s Bible. She passed away in 2003 after a 2 year battle with cancer. She was and will always be my big inspriration. She was my best friend and we had an inseparable bond. In fact, I was a Momma`s boy and very proud of it!

My Mom was always the one who Monya (my sister) and I could run to, the soft shoulder. My Dad suffered from depression and he was not always there. Mom was ALWAYS there. Even after a long day at work, she would spend time playing catch with me in the garden or helping with homework. She never said no and she never complained, although I`m sure she felt like it sometimes. She did this with Monya and Dad too. I remember as a youngster watching sport with my Mom, she watched everything with me, rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, everything! She even became a big Manchester United fan and more especially a Ryan Giggs fan, he was her favourite. Dad was never really interested in sport. Mom, even though she probably didn`t always like all the sport watched it with me. I think that played a big part in my love for all sport.

My Dad passed away in 1992. I was 20 and Monya was in her final year at school. My Mom never once put her grief ahead of ours. She was the one making sure we were all ok. Although, I remember one night, I was going out with my friends and went to say goodbye to her in her room. I found her crying on the bed. That killed me. I knew she was hurting but she NEVER complained.

I moved to Johannesburg in 1995 to start my career and Monya got married a while later. I went home every weekend so I could at least see my Mom. We chatted on the phone at least twice a day.

Then in 1997, Monya and Brian emigrated to New Zealand. It was a very tough time for all of us but especially for my Mom. Up until then, Monya and Brian had lived very close and they got to see her everyday.

Monya fell pregnant and had a beautiful little girl they named Danielle (my idea....!) in 1998. That, was that. My Mom spent 3 months in New Zealand, came back and decided to join Monya.

So, on the 24th April 2000 my Mom left for New Zealand. That was one of the worst days of my life. I cried the whole day. What would I do without my Mom to chat to everyday? I felt really alone but from that day on I received an email every single day, without fail, even if she didn`t have too much to say. She always emailed to say hello.

Then, exactly a month later, on the 24th May, I met Hayley and immediately knew that she was the one for me. I never had any doubts, never. This was no doubt in God`s big plan. He knew how alone I was and he sent Hayley.

We went to New Zealand in November 2000 and spent 7 glorious weeks with my family. It was absolutely awesome.

In April 2001 my Mom, Monya (a very pregnant Monya!) and Danielle came to South Africa for our wedding. Brian couldn`t make it due to work commitments. It was so awesome having them with us. They spent 7 weeks in SA and shared our wedding day with us.

Then on 25 March 2002 (my Dad`s birthday) we got a call from New Zealand. It was Monya and she told me that my Mom had been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. My whole world fell apart. At least I had Hayley, she was awesome. She was now the soft shoulder I so needed.

My Mom started her chemo and radiation and things were going ok. I phoned a lot and I still received my daily email. Only when the chemo was really bad did I not get one. Then in August 2002, my Father-in-Law bought me a ticket to NZ to go see my Mom. It was such an awesome gesture, something I will never, ever forget. We kept it a secret from my Mom and I landed the morning of her last chemo. Monya picked me up and we drove to the Oncology Unit in Auckland. Monya walked in and told my Mom that she had a surprise for her. Then I walked in. My Mom completely broke down. I ran and grabbed her. We just held each other and cried. That moment will always remain with me.
I spent 8 weeks in New Zealand and got to meet Nicholas, my sisters little boy. My Mom and I spent a lot of quality time together. I took her to radiation sessions and doctors appointments. I was so grateful to be able to help in this way.

On the 1st of March 2003, I got another call. This time the news was very bad. The cancer had spread to my Mom`s lungs and was now terminal. How do you handle news like that? That is something I cannot answer but I can tell you that God carried all of us through it.

Hayley and I left for NZ on the 31st March 2003. My Mom was not doing so well but we got to spend some awesome time with her. She never complained, not once. She also introduced me to the music of Michael W Smith which I`ll forever be grateful for. She talked about her relationship with God and the peace in her was there for everybody to see.

My Mom passed away at 23:05 on the 30th April 2003. Monya and I were at her side and we feel so blessed to have been with my Mom when she left to be with her God.

So, I was privileged enough to get my Mom`s Bible. It is filled with little notes, written by her during Bible studies or just time spent reading. It has dates in it, indicating when she read which chapter. Everytime I open the Bible I see my Mom`s hand in it and I feel as though she is watching over me and smiling her awesome smile. She is the reason I love God and the reason I am here today. Who knows where I would have ended if my Mom wasn`t as strong as she was.

Thank you to God for giving me my Mom and then for sending Hayley to be at my side. I will say thank you in person one day....

Like i said, this is a very personal post for me. I think it`s therapeutic in a way. It helps to talk about these things sometimes.

I want to leave you with something I found in the Bible. It`s on a little piece of paper and must have been my Mom`s guiding words during her difficult last days.

Walking with God

Feeling a hand in mine,
just when I needed power,
knowing it is the Lord`s,
sharing my darkest hours.

Stepping with fearful heart,
into a path unknown,
sensing His presence there,
knowing I`m not alone.

Drained of all human strength,
finding that from above,
His everlasting arms,
Bear me along with love.

Taking each step with faith,
trusting when sight is dim,
knowing His will is best,
this be your walk with him.


Musicaljean said...

Beautiful - both the poem as well as your tribute to your mother. I've heard that a mother's prayers are in effect even after she's gone. This post gives me encouragement to keep praying for my kids - they do not all know God's amazing love.

David Richardson said...

Right on, francois!

I put a link to this article on my blog.

This is a touching story and a powerful poem.

Well done, my friend!

Francois said...

Thank you so much for the kind words Jean. I especially loved "a mother's prayers are in effect even after she's gone". That is truly beautiful.

David, my friend, thanks as always for the kind words (and the link!). You truly are a blessing to both Hayley and I....

Hayley said...

Jou Ma sal baie trots wees, Sweetie!

(Hows that for good Afrikaans, she would be proud of me too, after that :-))

Francois said...

Thank you my Sweetie, she`d be even more impressed with your afrikaans!