Life seemed to present so many things through these past months that I have been quite overwhelmed. When the time came, I was unsure if I could go on I realized I did not have time to not be able to do and be what was needed right then. There is only today because we never really know what tomorrow will bring.... or if there will be a tomorrow.
When the phone rang a few months back and I heard that my husband had suffered a fall, my heart nearly stopped. I knew he was working on a roof in construction and a fall from that high was serious. What I did not know right then was that he landed on his back on concrete. At first we did not know if he would live at all. I fully understood what difficulties he might face in the future. I managed to share that in a blog I wrote http://linda-nance.blogspot.com/2013/03/danny-novel-and-linda-author.html . As hurt as Albert was, his one request was for me to get the book Danny done. At that time all I could think of was Albert but he did not want to give up on our dream with the books and writing.
We have struggled with him trying his best to recover as much as possible but it has been so difficult for him to realize that so much of the damage is permanent and he is lucky to have lived. He is used to being the one that helps others when they need help and taking care of his family.
My mother has been in poor health for many years but this time we could see that there was little strength left to fight for life. Congestive heart failure, diabetes, and many other problems was only part of the problem. Cancer that had spread was more that she would be able to survive.
Day after day seeing her so helpless yet still fighting to live was heart breaking but seeing my father by her side holding her hand left me without words. When you see a love that has lasted more than 60 years holding fast in the worst times and delightfully living life to the fullest with family and friends in the best days so obvious in that simple moment it left me without words but tears that would not be held back. I still cry but am trying my best to do what my mother would want and find a way to make the best of life for not only myself, Albert, children, and grandchildren, but also to be there for my father.
My father gave me my mother's jewelry box as she had urgently requested and a bag he said was special to her that she had locked with their papers in a safety deposit box. It felt like a bag of beads. I waited until I was alone and looked in the bag to see what kind of beads were so precious to her that she had locked them away and kept special.
Oh what memories did flood my soul. They were beads. They were the beaded necklaces I had made through the years many many years ago.
I remembered as a young child we had gone on vacation and got lost. We got very lost and began to feel fearful not knowing what way to go when we saw a sign that made it clear tourist were not welcome. We had arrived on an Indian reservation but continued and hoped to find directions back to where we were trying to travel. We parked the car and Daddy told us to wait there while he went into the store to ask for help. A very old woman sat on the porch to the store making something. She looked up directly into my eyes and I felt compelled to step out and see what she was doing.
She was weaving the most beautiful necklace I had ever seen. It reminded me of lace. She smiled when I said how beautiful it was and told me I could not buy it but if I never forgot the legend of the necklace she would give me one. She patiently explained......
The Legend of the Necklace
The pathways we travel in our lives take many twists and turns. The necklace is not woven of many strands. It is made of a single strand of many twists and turns. The necklace is not worn hanging down low. It fits about the base of the neck to shield and protect the one who wears it with the tips of each point in the pattern points outward to defend. Any point, when tipped inward, forms a perfect heart. The design is formed to bring luck in love to the one who posses and wears it. We all need love in our lives. From the day we are born until the day that we pass to the next life we need love in many forms. This necklace is a symbol of the wish to protect the heart of the one who wears it that they may always feel loved and love others in return.
She told me that she felt in me a special bond and that I would understand what she was telling me and what was felt. She also told me there would be a time I would choose to make the necklaces and I could do as many as I chose spreading the legend of the beads with it. She smiled and I felt such a connection to her as she continued to explain what she had shared with me was something very special to her and all of her people. If I shared the necklace then be sure to share the meaning of it too.
“From the day we are born until the day we pass on, we all need to feel and be loved. May the legend of the necklace bring luck, love, and keep your spirit safe and protected. May it bring you peace and joy” was what she told me.
It is a perfect circle just as life is a circle with many twists and turns. It is a circle of life and love in every bead.
This is a picture of me wearing the original one.
This is what I found that was so precious to my mother....the simple beads I had made for her so many years before.
Every hour of every day, we did not know if that would be the last time we would have mother with us. When the time arrived …..I will not describe it because it was not an easy passing. It was filled with suffering, pain and her wanting a little longer in this world. My father bravely stood by her side every moment.
I felt a crushing pain in my chest and could not breathe. The moment was so intense I was sure it must be anxiety and stress. I could not be sick. My father and others needed me to be able to handle things. We thought we had the arrangements complete but there was a misunderstanding and when the time came we found out we would be unable to bury my mother.
My father was devastated and I worried I might loose him too. We would have to find a way to raise the money or they would not bury mother. Albert is unable to work and I have been unable to work for many years. We had no way to come up with money. Daddy sat with his head in his hands and softly said, “They won't give your momma back. What are we going to do?”
When he did not see me and sometimes when he did, the tears would not stop. I felt frantic. When times are the darkest if we hold on and do not give up we can find a way. I shared this on the internet and received some donations but so many heartfelt prayers and well wishes that it warmed my heart. I did not know how we would survive this time but no longer felt so alone.
The church worked with me as I arranged a memorial service. Some of my fathers family had driven many miles to be here with him and this would be a special time for not only my mother but also him. Mom was an only child who had 2 children and 2 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. We are not a large family. The church and the people in it were so wonderful preparing us a beautiful meal as well as the service. You felt the warmth of their love and comfort of their care.
We were eventually able to borrow the money. We still have to find a way to survive in many ways but will work one day at a time. I can take a simple breath now and look back to those moments and try to see more than the pain. We had a visitation and service at the graveside. It had been rainy and dreary weather and here in Arkansas it is also hot. The clouds offered a small measure of cooling shade as the rain stopped. We had no idea if it would end or brew up a summer storm. We gathered there in our small little group under the shade of the tent and clouds above for this sad parting to say our last good byes. The service that was done was beautiful and they did all that they could to make it special and as we would want it. At one point the tears were more than I could contain and that feeling in the chest had returned. The last thing I needed to do was have a heart attack right then. I glanced out across the rolling hills and as Amazing Grace started to play the sun shone through the clouds lighting the day in dazzling light. It was so perfectly on cue with the mood and the music it was almost like a sign. I was not the only one to notice. Most of us there, looked out at the beautiful scene before us.
With the sunshine came the sweltering heat and humidity. I drew in a deep breath feeling the strain and the clouds swiftly closed blocking the sun and a gently cool breeze drifted across us. It may be coincidence, but I felt a peace in my heart. I closed my eyes and said good bye to my Momma. I wore the necklace I had made for her so many years ago.
It seems as though life can become a nightmare and if we look at all of the problems that seem to have no answers we miss out on so many little things all around us.
I have had many sleepless nights. As morning neared I wondered if it was still so hot outside so I stepped out on the back deck. I looked over and saw an amazing glow in the trees of bright red. Morning sunrise is normally pastel colors that swiftly turn into the new day and this was blood red.
Since there are miles of trees around us the thought that red could be something like fire brought a brief feeling of panic as I looked closer realizing it really was the dawn of a new day.
It happened so quickly I would never have caught it if I had not had my phone with me. I take it with me when ever I go outside in case I fall or have a problem and need help.
As quickly as I could take one picture and then another the color changed and the day was before me. It was so very beautiful and I again felt a moment of peace.