17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 2 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 (ESV)
November 20th was a day that was like any other day on the calendar. It’s the birthday of my brother-in-law but other than that it really was just a day that I never put much thought into. That was until last year. At 6am my dad called to tell me that my mom was close to the end and I needed to come quickly. We knew that her 13 year battle with breast cancer was drawing to an end, but the final days came quicker than any of us expected. I arrived at my parent’s home at 7am, I sat with my mom, prayed over her and said goodbye for the remaining hours I had, my mom died at 3pm.
The hope of heaven is real, the pain of death is real too. That has been the struggle and fight over the past year since. I miss her terribly, at times painfully, wanting to ask her a question, hear her voice, share good news with her but, at the same time, I know that she is experiencing glory beyond glory, joy that is beyond anything I can imagine. The joy of the Savior, that lived for her, died in her place on the cross and rose 3 days later defeating death, so that she may be forgiven, and live with Him forever, this is a true anchor and hope. It is something that I have found myself repeatedly reminding myself of.
One of my biggest struggles I have had is that my kids would forget their Nana, and that our little girl who is due in April will never meet her. There is something, however, that I have come to realize that has helped me in this pain. My mom is not just a memory but that the lessons and love she gave me is what I am now using to raise the children the Lord has blessed me with. So instead of making this post about me and my pain I want to share the main thing my mom taught me and, if you knew her, I am sure taught you along the way too.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
Love, love, love. There is something I never doubted about my mom, it is that she loved me. She was passionately on my side in all things. She was there to tell me to get rest when she thought I was working too hard. She was there to get upset and angry at the person that insulted or disagreed with something I said. She was a quiet and gentle woman except when someone she loved was threatened, or at Lobo games. In all of this I learned to love, to put love first, to always be there and on the side of your kids, no matter what, just love.
She loved Lauren. She picked out Lauren for me before I even thought of her as a someone I might like. Lauren was her favorite student, yes my mom taught Lauren in 4th grade. She loved her as a daughter, not for a minute thinking of her as anything but.
She loved my dad. She stuck by him in good and bad. She was his biggest supporter and best friend.
She loved, and I mean LOVED, her grandchildren. She cried the day we told her we were pregnant. Her biggest fear about dying of cancer was not the pain, it was not seeing the kids go to school, not seeing them grow up. Her love for them is something I have learned to constantly remind the kids about. I do this best, I believe, by loving them in the same way she loved me, passionately and constantly.
If you met my mom you know that she was a woman of grace and love. Heck, she might have made you a Christmas decoration, as she did for many. I think a year since her passing into the arms of Jesus, the best way to memorialize her, to honor her, is to love like she loved, love your kids, love your grandkids, love your friends, love you family in a passionate, unconditional, never-hesitating way, just like mom.
While today has a mix of emotions, there is also an amazing tangible evidence of God’s grace that we have, a baby girl due in April. While this girl will never meet my mom, here at least, she will be reminded of her nana, Angela Griego, in a special way.
We have decided to name our baby girl Angelina Grace Griego.