Mothers Day: the last gift

I’d flown in for her second last Christmas. Mum had told her friends she wanted Christmas Day just with me and they had helped her arrange things so it could be that way. I was deeply moved. I arrived prepared for a long hot day but the weather played its tricks and it was to be a cold gusty wet day. Regardless, it was a special day. 

I flew home a few days later, before New Year’s Eve.
A month later on a strong prompting I flew back.
That was to be the end.


Let me tell you about the beginning.
Mum and I had had a difficult life together. She wanted to keep me safe, while I fought her control.
I wanted to be free to roam to do, she held the secrets that breed her fears.
We battled through the decades. Always a loving truce when I was sick.

After my father died I was living clear across the country. I rang to see how she was and heard myself saying “would you like me to come and live with you, for a few weeks?”

On the flight East I found myself pondering what might happen if I treated my mother like I treated all the older ladies in Relief Society?


After the flight I caught the bus to the city then the train for a hour ride south. I was quite tired.

Mum met me at the station and I greeted her with a cautious weary hug.
From that moment I thought first of her and her needs. That was the Thursday. I rested Friday but made her breakfast, lunch and we went out for dinner.
Saturday I drove her into the local Village as she called it. I carried her shopping. Helped with all I could. I did the washing, hung it out, bought it in, folded it according to her instructions. I dusted, and piled the newspapers neatly. I put her feet up while we discussed what we would be doing on  ‘Mothers Day’.
We planned a relaxed day with a special lunch of her favourite foods. I planned and organised myself for her to have breakfast in bed.

Mid morning of Mothers Day I was in the kitchen and my mother walked in. She came close and put her arms around me. Shorter than me, she rested her head in my shoulder. I thought she was never letting go. Figuratively speaking she never did.

She then produced a package. A surprise from my daughter.
In the parcel was a cross stitch panel for me. This would eventually become a cute cushion. There was also a small complete and filled cushion for my mother. 
She hugged it tight as her crinkled eyes glistened with tears. I was surprised. But said nothing.


Settled at an outdoor table we rang my daughter. I listened to my mother say she couldn’t love the gift more if it was a diamond ring.  OK,  now I was amazed.
Over the next days and weeks there was much more to be amazed about.
It seems that when I changed, as per my thoughts on the plane, mum changed too.

For 5 years we basked in that special relationship. In true mother daughter closeness. I flew up and down amassing quite the collection of frequent flyer points. I rang 3 times a day when at home. We talked through everything. Agreeing to lay no blame, we found what had caused the problem. After she shared the secrets which pertained to my childhood and now life-long health issues, we discovered we had been wrenched apart by a hospital system that excluded parents. Mothers were kept from being anywhere near their sick babies, toddlers and children. Apparently I could see her, but she could not come to me. 

Five years later: The last five weeks.
With an unspoken agreement that this was the last visit we proceeded to do all the last things mum wanted to do. She was now permanently attached to an oxygen machine which I named Darth Vader. (Honestly it sounded just like the movie character. When my son had visited he asked me if the machine affected my breathing. Both of us found we breathed along with the rasping in-out pattern of the machine. A strangely funny circumstance.)
A day out then a day home. On the day home while she physically rested mum would teach me what-so-ever she thought I might need in the future. ‘Get your note book’ she would call before quickly replacing her mask. I wrote down recipes and instructions. Some things I wondered at but I wrote diligently.

When she napped I would get online and catch up with friends, especially in a writers group. Later when she woke I would read the messages to her from these women she had never met.  They were most supportive of us through this time.

We did the last shopping trip. The next time supermarket supplies were needed I went alone. I had a thorough list with preferred brands and instructions. As the apartment door clicked closed behind me and I started to walk towards the lift, I suddenly thought ‘what if she dies while I’m out?’
I turned back and let myself back in.  She looked up from her newspaper. I went to her side and kissed her cheek. ‘I love you’ I said. Squeezed her hand and set off again.

We did the last haircut. Went out for the last lunch with her girlfriends – women she had known for years, from work from her political life and painting class. We had figured out the portable gas cylinder and a little trolley to pull it on. As she struggled for breath I distracted the friends with cheery news of what we had been up to.

Easter Friday was her final day at home. She was noticeably slow in getting going. Mid morning she asked me to assist her to have a shower. But first she directed me to which clothes she would wear. Aqua pants and a matching t-shirt. And crisp white shirt open over the top. The coordinated earrings and soft white sox since we would be at home.
I got the shower running then left her to it – call me if you need, I said as I went to the kitchen.

Fairly soon she did indeed call. Wrapped in a towel she sat breathless on the shower stool. I gently dried her off. She was trying to speak but struggling for air. Quickly I grabbed the mask attached to Darth Vader and she breathed easier. I waited.

‘Dry between my toes’ she whispered. Hmm, I thought….now feet are not my favourite things. What to do?
Then in my mind a quiet voice. A voice of love. ‘Jesus washed the feet…It was good enough for Him’
I knelt beside my small frail fragile mother and gently dried between her toes.


That night she went in an ambulance to hospital. I knew she would not come back. She requested no visitors. No-one was to come. Not even me. Dad had chosen to die alone and she wanted it that way too.

However at her request I did visit on Saturday afternoon. She was in a Palliative Care Unit. It was a few weeks before I understood why she had asked the nurse to ring me to come in.

She looked even smaller and even more fragile. Her bed was set at angle allowing her to see through the French doors out to a small pretty courtyard. I realise as I write that, that  she would have requested the bed to be moved. I’m smiling. I held her hand and whispered to her. Her large brown eyes looked anxious. Talking was so hard now. Too hard. I indicated the doors. Leaning in close I said Mum, remember what I told you? It will be like walking through those doors. The need to breathe, the pain, the struggle will drop away as you step through them. She squeezed my hand. Her eyes sparkled.
On the other side of the door, I continued, will be dad, your parents, and other people you love. They will embrace you. You will not look back. I will be ok. You’ve taught me well. I love you.

Somehow my mother reached her tiny frail arms up around me as she gently hugged me. For the last time. Here on earth.
By 2:00AM Sunday she had stepped through those beautiful doors.

I later realised that my mother had requested me to visit her so that I could leave her, rather than her leaving me. This had been a tender issue since my baby-days in hospital. This is what we had figured out.
She has never left me. I feel her close. I feel her influence. I hear her voice. I read her guidance. 

Happy Mothers Day mum, I look forward to our next embrace.

Posted in Families, Inspirational, Motherhood, Mothers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Feasting upon the word

It’s April so it’s General Conference time. (Now recognised as #GenConf  on Twitter etc) Twice a year, each year the worldwide members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather together, where ever they are. This might be in the Conference Centre in Salt Lake, or near by Stake Centres. It might be at home in front of the television. These days across the world we often tune in on the internet, of course this depends on your time zone and sleeping patterns.

The 5 sessions over the 1st weekend in April are re-broadcast about a week later to nations around the world.  That is the morning and afternoon 2 hours general sessions of both Saturday and Sunday. The men/boys gather for a Saturday evening session. This is the Priesthood session which is now relayed live also.

No-matter where you view Conference viewing it is a must for Mormons (that’s what people call us, but we’ve covered that, right? The main thing to remember is that we are Christian, we worship Jesus Christ)

If you are not a member of the church we extend an invitation to attend or view on line via the main church website. And feel free to take a look around while you are there.

What ought we do to prepare to get the most out of attending General Conference? I am glad you asked…you know why we are there, right? The meme below is a good clue….scroll on down for the best advice I have ever read about how to get the most from this bi-annual spiritual feast.

In case you are are a visitor of another faith, you need to know the men below are what we call the First Presidency of the Church. President Thomas S Monson is at the front, he is the Church President. Henry B Eyring is the man with the glasses is the 1st Counsellor and behind his is Dieter F Urchtdorf is the 2nd.  I refer to him further down the page.

In 2011 President Urchtdorf taught us some great things. Steps that will not go out of date. Steps that will always work. Subject to your preparation that is.

Speaking in General Conference he said

‘As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. For example, you might yearn for direction and guidance by the Lord regarding challenges you are facing.

Answers to your specific prayers may come directly from a particular talk or from a specific phrase. At other times answers may come in a seemingly unrelated word, phrase, or song. A heart filled with gratitude for the blessings of life and an earnest desire to hear and follow the words of counsel will prepare the way for personal revelation.’

I’d like to say here and now that I have tested this out. I have sorted out what was most pressing, what I really need direction about, I narrowed it down to one question. I received answers. Clear and distinct. Personal to me.

You can be sitting next to me and hear the same words and not receive the message or enlightenment that I receive. That’s because personal revelation is just that…it’s personal.

2. Don’t discount a message merely because it sounds familiar.

3. The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us during the coming months.

In closing President Urchtdorf reminds us….

‘What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God’s messages for each of us during general conference! Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants.

For this is no ordinary blessing’.

Read the complete article

Remembering that in 6 months there will be another General Conference.

LDSMediaTalk suggests some other elements re your preparation. How to help children, things to read etc.

*On a side note because General Conference happens year in year out it can be a good reminder about other things. In April change your smoke detector battery and in October eat your 72 Emergency Pack (you have one, don’t you?) goodies and replace them. That’s the important thing, the replacing.

Enjoy Conference.

 

Posted in General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf., Special Events, Wisdom | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

a worldwide gathering of women

When the announcement came that there was to be a combined women’s meeting that would reach out and embrace not only Young Women but girls from baptism age up, not everyone was happy.  Personally I was fine with it. I wondered what form it might take. I looked forward to it.

WOMENS MEETING

Saturday 29th March, 6:00pm  MDT – that is Utah Summer time – at the Conference Centre in Salt Lake City women gathered for this historical meeting.

Here in Australia, I was unwell and therefore unable to attend my regular Sunday meetings. I opened LDS.org and watched the meeting live. I watched ‘with’ my cousin who lives in Utah. Her comments when spotting a neighbour, a friend, someone from work, how the choir was formed etc added to my experience.  It was quite remarkable. Love technology.

An abundance of the spirit and of LOVE. Inspiring. Tender.

The opening prayer surprised and delighted me. I know someone that age. …no spoilers here…through the heavenly music and the well-considered video presentations I hardly moved. The speakers captured my attention, inspired my mind and reached to my heart.

I confess my eyes filled with tears at the special invitation to the Primary girls. Sister Wixom involved them in an unexpected yet delightful way. I had a lump in my throat as I watched the mothers next to their daughters.

The 3 General Presidents spoke, followed by President Henry B Eyring of the First Presidency.

Up first was the Primary president…

The Young Women President reminded us…

The General Relief Society President addressed the worldwide audience

President Henry B Eyring taught us

This meeting will be broadcast in Australia over the weekend on 5/6 April. Check your Stake Calendars for details. Plan to be there. Yes you could watch it at home, and that is better than missing it, however I sense that the experience of gathering together will be a remarkable one. One worth any effort. One worth journalling.

Read about the experiences of other sisters. 

and lastly for now, I would like to invite you to come over to Facebook and

Like  Mormon Women Stand

unite with some 10,300+ women. Launched on 11th March this group is growing rapidly. You will find great discussions and articles that support you as you take a Stand.

Posted in Meetings, Relief Society, Special Events, Womens meeting | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

attributes to emulate.

Today’s Relief Society lesson was

Our Saviour, Jesus Christ

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, (2013), 48–57

At the beginning of this chapter we read…. “I try to love Him, our Redeemer, above everything else. It is my duty to. I travel up and down in this country as one of His special witnesses. I couldn’t be a special witness of Jesus Christ if I didn’t have the absolute and positive knowledge that He is the Son of God and Redeemer of the world.”

This phrase ‘…I try to love Him, our Redeemer, above everything else’ rang deep inside me and I realised that is something I would like to be able to feel, and to say. The words of this Prophet speak volumes of the man he was, of his dedication humility and service. Of Great perserverence. All attributes to emulate.

Like most of us I am more able to do this at times and less at others.

*I apologise if you have received any ads pop up as you’ve read this, apparently I have to purchase an opt out package. They are coming from WordPress. I have only just become aware of this. 

I’ve been pondering how to get this in place and hold it there; day in and day out?

Obviously daily scripture reading and prayer are significant steps. Getting to know what He taught, then embracing and living those teachings. More today than yesterday. Pushing back bad habits and worldly ways. Watching for the things that slip in under the radar. One must be ever vigilant.

We soon see the blessings of obedience are abundant. The increase in self confidence as we overcome the issues and draw closer to Our Elder Brother, Even Jesus Christ can be significant. This is but one blessing.

As we….’let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God…’ as in Doctrine and Covenants 121:45

We find then a greater light within us.

Locate this Provo Canyon sunrise image.

Speaking of Light, I pondered this during Sacrament meeting today.

It may be that even before Christ was the life of the world he was the light of the world. The one thing all men have in common is the light of Christ, the deep-seated, subconsciously remembered connection of our spirits to his. This light separates right from wrong, inherent good from inherent evil. Some call it conscience, some call it inborn morality, some deny it all together, but all of us have it (at least until it is snuffed out by sustained evil or intentional wickedness).       *Emphasis added by me

From ‘What Manner of Man’ (a weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ) By Richard and Linda Eyre.

Posted in 2014 Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrine, Sabbath | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Historical Moments…part 2.

A worldwide broadcast launched the new website ‘

‘Hastening the Work of Salvation’

Elder L Tom Perry spoke of ‘this digital age’ and a ‘new frontier of missionary work’ during a truly inspiring and uplifting broadcast conducted by Elder Holland.

For most of us in Australia there will be a Re-Broadcast. Don’t miss it.

watch the broadcast

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Historical moments…part 1.

Recently the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 became members of Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/lds.thomas.s.monson

https://www.facebook.com/pages/D-Todd-Christofferson/463711443718276

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeffrey-R-Holland/379960392112777

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boyd-K-Packer/524889424239910

https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-A-Bednar/616742591686819

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Russell-M-Nelson/501224873278287

https://www.facebook.com/pages/M-Russell-Ballard/137920063063410

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quentin-L-Cook/520704734633940

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dallin-H-Oaks/154127398093058

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Neil-L-Andersen/157863284388881

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-D-Hales/450446478381346

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-G-Scott/450084955083245

https://www.facebook.com/pages/L-Tom-Perry/523946494332143

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dieter-F-Uchtdorf/114461198724566

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Henry-B-Eyring/519087554805391
https://www.facebook.com/LDS

https://www.facebook.com/LDSMissionaries

https://www.facebook.com/LDSGeneralConference

https://www.facebook.com/Mormon

https://www.facebook.com/LDSSisterMissionaries

https://www.facebook.com/TheBookofMormonAnotherTestamentofJesusChrist

https://www.facebook.com/ensign.magazine

https://www.facebook.com/NewEra.magazine

https://www.facebook.com/friend.magazine

https://www.facebook.com/mormonchannel

https://www.facebook.com/mormonmessages

https://www.facebook.com/liahona.magazine

https://www.facebook.com/MormonTabernacleChoir

https://www.facebook.com/MORMONHELPINGHANDZ

https://www.facebook.com/MORMONHELPINGHANDS

https://www.facebook.com/Thomas.S.Monson

https://www.facebook.com/BookofMormonDailyPage

https://www.facebook.com/LDSVideos

https://www.facebook.com/LDS.SMILE

https://www.facebook.com/bookofmormon

https://www.facebook.com/LDSArticlesofFaith

https://www.facebook.com/JesustheChristpage

https://www.facebook.com/PreparingToServe

https://www.facebook.com/prepare2serve

https://www.facebook.com/PreachMyGospelMissionaryGuide

https://www.facebook.com/wellbehavedmormonwoman

Even More Links Here:

http://www.thereturnedmissionary.com/follow-the-prophet-on-google-plus-and-facebook/

www.preparetoserve.com

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More than a few Good men

USA Father’s Day is Sunday 16th June. This charming You Tube video has been made to celebrate men who father.  I cried the 1st time I watched it. It recognises that not all Dads are dads, some are good men who step up into our lives.

Posted in Families, Love, Special Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment