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I think so much about my mother these days. It’s been three years since she passed away, but the missing just grows and grows. So does my respect for her. When she was alive, there were so many things I took for granted. Whenever we argued, she would tell me: “One day you will understand”. As a stubborn teenager, I declared I never would – but already in my twenties, I sensed a different picture. Today, I am amazed at how she did it. She didn’t complain – she just went for it. Even when her body was breaking and the ache was too much, she never allowed it to hold her back. “If I lie down now and feel the pain, how will I ever get back up?” she said.

I keep thinking of how she inspired others, not through talk but through her actions. My father and I are the dreamers of the family: the talkers, the inspirers. All people are different and all talents have their time and their place – but there was a time when I believed in the power of words and held it in high esteem. My mother didn’t. She believed in actions, and she never let other people’s uncertainties slow her down or keep her from following her heart’s desire.

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After the year that we have gone through, I understand her so much better. My words have been stored away in the soft parts of my heart, next to the pain that I feel but keep safe-guarded both from myself and others. I don’t want to be a person that has buttons that can be pushed, nor possess Achilles heals that can be reached from the outside as I struggle to keep my head above water-surface. Yet I know I will never grow hard, and so my heart is left to bleed because there is no other way to release the pain. Throughout her life, my mother bled. She bled both on the inside and on the outside. She paid a price for something she truly believed in, but she went after it with all her heart and invested her every talent. She didn’t complain. She is amongst the few people I know who would have relive the same life all over again if given the chance, because the fulfillment she received from her life’s work was worth all the pain, all the tears and all the frustration.

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My mother with newborn Tabita, her first grandchild (August 2005)

I think of my mother and my grandmother and I miss them so much. There’s a part in me that I inherited just from them, and that void is making itself known ever so often these days. I miss their wisdom. I miss the tenderness of their hearts. I miss hearing about their love for Jesus. And because love doesn’t fade, the missing part just grows and grows.