The Gift of Reconciliation & My Mother: Reflections & Resolutions

The Gift of Reconciliation, Reunion and How It Will Shape My New Year’s Resolution

In October I wrote a post about the potential of losing a loved one at the holidays.

First be reconciled to one another … —Matthew 5:23

Photo Credit: www.hipsterscripture.com

While I am writing this, my grandmother is still with us. However, she will never be the same. She relies on round the clock care from caretakers. Her dementia has been thrown into overdrive and she does not remember what I have told her five minutes before. It is no longer me that she relies on, but her daytime caretaker for security. While she is still with us, I have lost her.

I have found myself uttering the same cliche phrases many do in situations like this. “It would be a blessing if God takes her,” “She is not living, she is existing,” “She is never going to be any better than she is right now.” After speaking these phrases, I feel the residual guilt as though I am trying to speed up the process. It is not my place to play God. Everything is in His timing. I have prayed that as God sees how devastating this loss of independence has been to her, He would choose to take her home sooner rather than later. He ALWAYS has a plan.

I shared what I am certain was my last Thanksgiving meal with my grandmother this past November. While her dementia has progressed significantly, she had some moments of great understanding and clarity while we shared our meal and time together. I asked her point blank if she was tired and ready to go to Heaven. Her eyes welled up with tears and she confided in me that she was not certain she was going there. I reminded her that she had been to church with me and prayed the salvation prayer. I asked her if she believed that Jesus died on the cross for her sins. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Yes, I believe that”. I held back my own tears as I told her she IS going to Heaven. I told her God gave her the gift of Heaven the minute she started believing that Jesus died for her sins. She likely forgot our conversation the minute we returned to her apartment, but I am at peace that she was present during the conversation.

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Photo Credit: www.prosebeforehos.com

I asked my grandmother a few times when she was at the hospital and rehabilitation facility if she would like to see my mom. She declined each time. My grandmother is my father’s mother. She has always been very critical of my mom, her daughter-in-law. As I became older, I decided it was easier to keep them apart.

While conversing with my grandma at Thanksgiving I brought the subject up again. I told her my mom really wanted to spend time with her. I reminded her that she had declined her previous offers to visit. This time my grandma’s response was, “Well, if she wants to come see me, I guess that would be alright. There is no reason to hold grudges.” I was astounded!  As my dear friend and neighbor put it, “She is cleaning up her house before she is ready to go”.

 

My mom came out from Nevada and we headed over to visit with my grandmother the week after Thanksgiving. They had not seen each other since 2001. Emotional does not adequately describe the scene as we walked into my grandmother’s apartment. She and my mom cried and hugged for a long time.

 

Granny & Mom

Granny & Mom
* Used with Permission

I could feel the guilt, shame, resentment, bitterness and all other negative emotions wash away with their tears. God blessed me with the gift of seeing them reunite. My mom sent me out of the apartment and they had the opportunity to truly reconcile. My mom now calls her regularly and visits whenever she is in town.

I now feel more prepared to receive the call my grandma is gone. Will it be heartbreaking? Of course, you can never really prepare for loss. But now I am at peace with His timing because of the peace he has brought to my family.

I was able to feel love between the two ladies (both so instrumental in my life) who I didn’t even allow in the same room together for over a decade. That was the most unexpected and beautiful Christmas gift I could have ever received.

 

 

This brings me to my New Year’s Resolution. It is quite simply to be more like my mother. I find this ironic since we spend our younger years swearing that we will not become our mothers.

These are the traits I want to emulate:

She Walks The Walk – My mom is a much better Christian than I am even though I introduced her to church. She has a huge heart for others and always tends to naturally do the right thing.

Forgiveness– You could walk up to my mom and throw dirt in her face and she would still have something nice to say to you. She knew every spiteful comment my grandmother has made about her over the years and yet she had no hesitation about seeing her and showing her love. My mom forgives quickly, completely and does not hold grudges. She always encourages me to take the first step if I am at odds with people in my life.

Unconditional Love– Even when I went through the darkest periods of my life and was a terrible person to be around, my mom never gave up on me. She has a servant’s heart and would do anything for anyone. She has never met a stranger and I am certain people who encounter her remember her smile and her heart.

Generosity– For as long as I can remember, my mom has extended invitations to friends or neighbors who do not have anywhere to go for the holidays. While our family may be rather small, the house was always filled to capacity at the holidays.

This has been a life altering year for me. I have experienced many significant changes and more are on their way. If I can live by the four core values I have watched my mom live by so effortlessly, I am certain I can weather any storm.

 

Were you able to have important conversations with someone you love before their passing?

Have you been given the gift of reconciliation within your own family?

What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year? May I suggest it go something like this?

 

Lori

About Lori

I was born in Long Beach, raised in Cypress and ventured to South Orange County in 1999. I’m a member of Saddleback Church and through volunteering in the Memorial Ministry I was introduced to Neil O’Connor. Neil decided to bring me on board even despite my endless badgering at our first meeting. I am the Director of Care Coordination and also fill the roles of Memorial Marker Design Specialist, Weekend Receptionist and Blog Team Member. Never did I expect a mortuary would be the place I would find my dream job. I feel extremely blessed by the relationships I have formed at O’Connor with the team and the families we are privileged to serve. I now live in Aliso Viejo with my beloved pups Max and Bella. Free time, though often hard to come by, is mostly spent with friends. The Bible verse I live by – I can do everything through him who gives me strength Philippians 4:13

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  • Kery levinson

    Lori, we spoke many times about your Grandma and mom. When I saw your post on Fb I knew I had to read this. Absolutely beautiful! You and your mom and Grandma are amazing, all of you. Happy New Year!

    • Lori

      Kery,

      Thank you so much for reading and adding your comments!
      Yes, anyone who has been apart of my life has heard about Grandma and mom. I thank you for listening, reading and responding.
      Happy New Year!!!
      Lori

  • Anne

    Lori
    I knew this one was coming… I knew the story before it was in print, but I hadn’t seen the picture of your beautiful mom with gram. It really cemented it for me.
    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. She is a treasure for you for sure, in the years to come. Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog.
    My brother in law Wayne, was in poor health a long time before he died. Since he was in Canada and we were far away, we purposed to call and speak to him that way in the hospital by having a nurse bring him a phone. Those conversations held a lot of “final comments and thanks for all he meant to us”.
    Also, several times with neighbors and friends I felt a desire to sing at their bedside songs about heaven, only to see them pass either the next day or within days. Another friend, I went through scripture and made copies of ones I felt would be comforting and took them to the bedside and read them. He died that weekend. At his funeral the next week, his pastor read all the same ones, saying Mac had chosen these to be read at his funeral about 6 months before when he planned everything.
    I am a firm believer in saying the things that need to be said so there are no regrets later.
    Love you
    Anne

    • Lori

      Anne,

      You knew this story each step of the way. I share these parts of my life with you because I know you have the heart to find joy in these moments.
      My mom is an amazing lady who has never complained about having to take a backseat to my grandma for a very long time. A heart like my mom’s is a very rare gem. I can no longer take her for granted.
      Thank you for sharing your experiences. I know many call heaven home because of you and Lou. That is an incredible accomplishment.
      I hope I recognize the opportunities to share the gospel and do it with the grace you do.
      Love you!
      Lori

  • Jeff

    Lori,

    I love this story! I am thankful for the gift that this is to all three of you. The benefits of it will have their affect long into the future especially after your grandma leaves this world. Your persistence and being the bridge between your mom and grandma has, I’m sure, at times been very difficult. Arriving at the moment of reconciliation must have been overwhelming and now, on the other side of it and being able to reflect on the path to get there, you can marvel at God’s design and involvement in it.

    Well done Lori. Thank you God for this gift! How appropriate for the “New Year”, a renewed relationship.

    Jeff

    • Lori

      Jeff,

      Thank you for being fundamental in making this reunion happen. With your pastor’s heart, you suggested, never forced this reunion.

      I have entered the New Year with a peace beyond any I imagined with regards to Granny.
      You deserve a great deal of credit for the restoration of my family.

      Well done Jeff!

      Lori

  • Great post Lori! It’s so wonderful to know you have peace in these relationships and that your Granny can “move on” in a way that is blessed and restored. Thank you so much for sharing such a great story with all of us! You & your mom are outstanding women – great new years resolutions!

    • Lori

      Molly,

      YOU are an outstanding young woman who I am priveleged to use as my sounding board!
      My posts are only as good as my editor. Without your encouragement and suggestions, my stories of Granny would never have had a forum.

      Hope you are feeling better!!!

      Love you,
      Lori

  • Betty F.

    Lori, I know how desperately you wanted this reunion between your Grannie and your Mom. God has a way of making things happen at the right time and place. Even though they both missed out on a lot of time that could have been spent together, this reunion was timed just right. You also played a big part in this as your head and heart needed to be in the right place also to make this happen. Your strength was the glue to put this together. While Grannie’s life may be coming to an end, your growth has just exploded both in your personal life, work life and your spiritual growth.
    I am so blessed to have you as my friend. You fit right into my family. Everyone loves you especially Uncle Jim. I am ready to make some new commitments to do better in keeping in contact with those in my family that are getting older. When I see the changes it makes a difference in how we need to be more considerate of them. I pledge to do better this year.
    Praying that 2013 will be your best year ever.
    You are loved.
    Betty

    • Lori

      Betty,
      You have been instrumental over the years reuniting me with my Grandma when we were at odds. You would always ask me if I had spoken with her or didn’t I think I better call her. You never forced, but kindly nudged me in the right direction. You know how stubborn I am and you love me in spite of it.

      I am so blessed you have invited me into your family to share your Christmas meal. It makes me miss my own family a little less to be included in yours. I am so thankful you have all welcomed me with such open arms.

      We all need to be more cognizant of all of the important people in our lives. As I am writing this I am thinking of three people, including you who I owe phone calls. Time goes by so fast, but we should remember to make time for who’s important before it is too late.

      2013 is going to be a great year for both of us!!
      You are loved as well more than I sometimes express……
      Lori

  • Connie Yanez

    Lori
    I definitely am not the writer you are, but I will try to put in words what a Beautiful Blog
    you wrote, and how very much it means to me. Wow what a Happy New Year when I read
    your Blog this morning. I am so very proud of you, of course I have always been in anything
    you have done but each year that goes buy, I get more proud of my Little Girl who I Love very much.
    Im so happy Grandma and I had the reunion, and I only wish it had been long ago so you would
    have not had to go through so many years of turmoil, but like you said and I truely believe God has
    a plan for everything that happens to us.
    Thank You for the Beautiful words you wrote about me.

    Love Always,
    Mom

    • Lori

      Mom,

      This blog basically wrote itself because it comes from my heart and it is an accurate description of the exceptional woman you are.
      You have always gone out of your way to tell me you are proud of me, even when it was a stretch. I have multiple cards you have given me over the years that tell me just how proud you are. Those are priceless.
      You are not just my mom, you are my best friend.

      Love you so very much!!!
      Lori

  • Carrie Bayer

    Lori, you write so beautifully. Your words tugged at my heart & I could feel their meaning though I didn’t walk your journey. I, too, found myself speaking the cliches you mention while my grandmother was in her last months- and I felt the guilt. But over time, I was able to reconcile within myself & felt better. I’m so glad you were instrumental in the reconciliation between your mother & granny, what a blessing you all received! I love how you describe your mom & I’m so glad I was able to meet her. She has an amazing daughter whom I love dearly! XOXOX Carrie

    • Lori

      Carrie,

      You are very kind. I would love to take the credit, but this story wrote itself. I just recounted the events. I am so grateful that I had these experiences.
      We have walked a very similar path with our grandmothers. I am thankful I will have you to help get through the difficult times when mine is gone.
      I am happy you met my mom too! I hope you get to spend more time with her. I know you would love her and she you.
      Thank you for your love! I know it’s not always easy!!!
      Love you right back!
      Lori

  • Hi Lori –

    What an amazing story, I love this!! You have received a life times worth of gifts between the three of you ladies. All three of your lives where meant to play a greater role for each other. Funny how we can never see the road in front of us until get going down the road a bit. I have had the opportunity to say goodbye to someone on their death bed, and more importantly tell them I love them. My new years intentions are to become a better person, so as you know I have a lot of work to do, and so many days to do so. Thank you for sharing this amazing story, of love, compassion, reunion and forgiveness.

    • Lori

      Neil,
      Thank you for your support as I share my life story.
      I think you sell yourself short. You are a wonderful man just the way you are. It’s always good to have goals. I believe you are an amazing role model to Jesse and all of us.
      “Don’t go changing to try and please us. We love you just the way you are.”
      Xoxoxo Lori

  • Judy

    Lori: Sooooo very excited for this to finally have happened. You certainly deserved a “special” Christmas gift such as this. . what a wonderful and beautiful representation of your life and life’s “work” with your Grandma.

    • Lori

      Judy,
      Thank you sis!! You’ve heard the rough times. I’ve been thanking God every day for his faithfulness to me and my family. I am so thankful you are part of that family. Miss you and love you!!!
      Lori

  • Gloria Reid

    WOW! I had no idea you were an author! What a beautiful, amazing story. God has blessed you with two wonderful women in your life and I agree, what a great gift that was. Happy New Year and hope it is a year full of wonderful blessings for you. Love, Glo

    • Lori

      Gloria,
      I have always loved writing, but have not been good about journaling or getting anything down on paper.
      Our blog has given me a reason to write and has given me the opportunity to share stories that I hope will touch others in some way.
      Thank you for reading and Happy New Year to you and the family!!!!
      xoxo Lori

  • kari Leslie

    Lori,
    This is the best one yet!! I know you’ve been blogging for a while now, but this is a GRAND SLAM!! Really, really well done, made me feel as if I were there with all three of you. The women in our lives are so important, and even though we tussle with them, more than the men sometimes, it’s wonderful to see endings such as this. You wrote a beautiful tribute to both of them here, and I LOVED reading it.

    oxoxo
    kari

    • Lori

      Kari,
      Thank you so very much! You have heard my story about Mom and Granny reconciling first hand. It means so much to me that you enjoyed reading about it too. Seriously, I feel that it is not fair for me to take credit for writing this post. God had a plan and all I did was describe the events.
      We do tussle with the women in our life, but we also need those relationships sometimes more than we are willing to admit.
      Much Love and Happy Birthday and I am replying to this post on your special day!!!
      Lori

  • Shayna Mallik

    Wow Lori, this blog is truly filled with love. It brought tears to my eyes as I read it. Thank You for sharing this amazing reconnection of your mother and grandmother. I know how much joy this has brought to you and them both. This is a moment that live in all of your forever. I love the picture of your granny and mom. It is as you said a perfect Christmas gift.
    Love you Lori and am so happy this moment happened for you and your family.

    Shayna

    • Lori

      Hey Little Miss,
      My post brought tears to your eyes? I thought I was the only one crying around there lately. 🙂
      Like Kari, you have heard the story of this reunion. Thank you for taking the time to read about it as well and comment. The picture is pretty darn cute, huh? I love those ladies.
      Love you, your generous heart and kind comments on my blog posts.
      Lori

  • Beautiful. Very heart warming. I’m thankful for your mother and grandmother

    • Lori

      Thank you for reading and commenting Cheryl. I am thankful for them too. I am grateful you read my post and it encouraged you to comment.

  • Cathi Hartwell

    Love, love, LOVE your story! Thank you for sharing…for being there for your grandmother and for loving your mom so dearly. You touched my heart and I truely feel your walk with the Lord!