Many, many years ago, my grandpa was fixing the plaster in my house. It wasn't my house then. The house I grew up in was also where my mom and my grandma grew up. My grandpa was fixing that plaster when my mom was just 3 or 4 years old. He pressed her hand in the wet plaster, and after it dried, covered it with wallpaper.
Over the years, the wall paper was removed and replaced a number of times. I remember the last time we replaced it. I was in high school. My mom and I pulled the pieces off, and she showed me her handprint hidden beneath the paper. And then we covered it again, forgetting that a moment of her life was hidden under the flowered paper.
My sister was staying with my mom over the summer, and while she was there, she tore down the paper hoping to replace it. Then my mom's health spiraled down, and re-wallpapering the stairwell wasn't a priority. When Jason and I went home in early September, I made a point to show him my mom's handprint.
My beautiful mom passed away on October 18th, and I couldn't be more thrilled for her. Oh...I miss her. Please don't misunderstand me. My heart has been breaking every day since her death. I am selfish. I, of course, want my mom to be here. I want to hear her stories. I want to get her advice. I want to hear about the newest clearance deal she found, and I want to know about who she helped, because she was always pouring out her life to help others. And I want her to want to know about me. She always wanted to know about my life, and it made me feel loved to know someone cared about the details of me. The lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes right now are the physical manifestations of my grief for time lost with her.
But, I am still thrilled for her. The pain she experienced here over the past 2 years...no one should have to endure that. Life in her last days was boiled down to simply trying to make it minute-by-minute, waiting for her next pain pill. She knew Jesus and lived her life to honor Him. She was ready to see her Father. I'm thrilled for her that she is freed from the body that held her back.
All around me, I can see where my mom left her mark...the impressions of her influence. There are families in Mexico who are warm and clothed because of her. There are unwed mothers who have received care because she gave. There are mentally and physically handicapped people who have been blessed by her generosity. Everyone who knew her respected her. They liked her. Most everyone, after spending more time with her, loved her. The impressions of her love are everywhere.
Mostly though, I recognize them on my heart. She's made such a lasting impression on me. She is the example to me of living a life as we're called to live...pouring ourselves out to love others, even when we don't feel like it. She sacrificed so much in her life in order to make someone else's life better. I want to do the same.