Today My Mother Would Have Been 70

Today my mother would have been 70.

The longer she’s been gone, the more my memories become vague impressions and less moving pictures of events playing out in my mind.

I’ve said this before, but it still holds true.

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Me & My Mom circa late 1970s

There is this Linda Gammel shaped hole in my life. Some days, it’s virtually imperceptible, but still there. Other days, like today – and this coming Tuesday when it will have been 30 years – it’s this gaping loss. This nearly all-encompassing vacancy in my chest.

It won’t last long at those levels. It will ebb and flow, at times nearly tear inducing and others bringing a wistful smile.

I have a great life. I love my life. I have a husband who loves me. I have four children who, usually ;), are well-behaved and hard workers and get along. I have a job where I get paid to talk to grown ups but still lets me stay home with my kids most of the time. I have a second job that lets me make up stories for a living and share those stories with the world.

I also have a husband who never had the privilege of meeting his mother-in-law. I have four children who, while loved beyond measure by six grandparents, will never be held or loved on by their seventh grandparent. And while those who knew her well have assured me that my mother would be proud of the woman, the wife, the  mother, the author I have become, I will never hear those words from her.

Mom & Stacy L. - one of my favorite pictures

Mom & Stacy L. – one of my favorite pictures – love the smiles!

This year is an extra tough one for me. That husband offered a birthday party to mark the likely halfway point of my life. Forty just a few months ago.

But by the time I went to bed three days after my birthday, I had lived longer than my mother did.

I have seen more milestones. I’ve seen more teenage days. I’ve seen more concerts, more victories, more defeats, more life in my children than my mother was ever privileged to see… from this earth anyway.

There is less than no doubt in my heart and in my mind where my mother is. She is spending her days worshiping her Maker, her Prince of Peace, the Lover of her Soul. Basking in the presence of The One who knew from the foundations of the earth, that we, those left behind, would believe she was taken from us far too soon.

My oldest daughter – named Linda Margaret for my mother – several years ago, suggested we mark this day with cake. I’m spending the day writing, but there will be some sort of remembrance while I’m here.

Page dedicated to my mom in the next yearbook - click to enlarge

Page dedicated to my mom in the next yearbook – click to enlarge

And three days from now, we’ll celebrate her entrance to Glory with cookies – because she made the world’s best. I wish I still had the recipe, but instead, I make my own version – and I’m teaching my children to. (And this year, I’ll have a brand spankin’ new KitchenAid to make them with.)

Thirty years. In three days, it will be thirty years.

Most days go by with just a passing thought or two. Some days, the grief is nearly fresh enough to be new.

They say time heals all wounds. And with some wounds it’s true. But some leave scars. And sometimes, if you pull or tug on those wounds just wrong, it brings fresh pain despite the healing.

I thank God for the time I had with my mother – far more than many will have. And I thank God I’ve had more time with my children than my mother did. All but one of them are older than I was when my mother went Home. And soon, I’ll raise a piece of cake in her honor. I’ll remember that she made the world a better place. I’ll remember that she loved me. I’ll remember that, more than anything, she loved her Savior.

And I can rest in that knowledge, knowing that someday we’ll meet again, and all the pain will have melted away.

Until then, the Lover of my Soul brings me peace that passes understanding.

And it is enough.

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