A Gift

Warning: this post is going to be all over the place. And long.

What started out as one night turned into 15 nights away from home. The longest I’ve ever not been here. I am ready to collapse, but as you may have guessed, my head is just swimming after the last several days. However, it’s good to be home.

The funeral on Thursday was really, really beautiful. It truly was a celebration of Mom’s life. That’s not to say that it wasn’t sad, because words cannot do those emotions justice. But, I think (and my family does, too) that not having her body at the visitation and funeral made it so much easier to endure. It’s just hard to look over and see your loved one lying there, not looking like herself. So, I encourage you to think unconventionally when you have to deal with something like this in your family…I hadn’t ever given it any thought until going through this, and now I know that I don’t want my body at my funeral.

We were incredibly moved by the number of friends and family that came to see us last night. Just really overwhelming.

Today we spent the day writing thank you notes. It was a huge job, as we were working from several lists that we’d created of people that had helped our family over the last week, but we got it done. Between my brothers (who were part-time helpers), their wives and me (I did have to take a break and bring my kiddos over to my dad’s house), we wrote nearly 170 thank yous today. My sister has her own stack of probably 20 that she’s going to do this weekend. I am so glad that we decided to just hammer it all out today. Those girls are workhorses!

Over the last several days, I’ve pondered why it took so long for Mom to pass, when she was obviously so sick, and watching this happen was so hard. In my incredibly limited ability to think about things like this, I kind of just tried to be okay with “because it’s God’s decision” (duh). But today, I think I may have stumbled upon a thought that helps me be more at ease with watching her struggle during her last several days. I think she was holding on so long so that she could give us one last gift, which is just like her.

My mom loved to have all of her kids and their spouses at home at once. Not only were we all there at once, but we were all there at once A LOT. Lots more than we usually get to be. And only these circumstances could have pulled all of us away from our respective jobs, homes, commitments and cities for such an extended period of time. I’ve never been able to spend so much time with my siblings and their spouses and my dad since we’ve all been adults. The last time would have been when I lived at home for the summer 9 years ago before I married Matt. And Hayley was only 13, so that doesn’t count.

I already knew that they were amazing people. And that my brothers had married wonderful, smart, strong women. And that my dad is just indescribably awesome. But getting so much time with them? Absolutely priceless. Thursday night after everyone else had left the house except us is a time I won’t ever forget…we were able to relax and have a good time together. Zach was totally on his game, with gems coming out of his mouth repeatedly. My mom would have been laughing right along with us, I’m sure.

I assure you that my regular posts on my stellar (please know that this is a joke) parenting skills, descriptions of outings with my children that I wish I hadn’t taken, and weird things my kids do and say will be returning soon. I’ve just got to clear my head first.

P.S. I heard that some family members are reading my blog and NEVER LEAVE ME A COMMENT. That’s fine and everything, but I love you people. Comment already. Even just once 🙂 I’d love to know who’s reading. It’s very easy…just click on the title of this post, and then fill out the little form.

21 responses to “A Gift

  1. I’ll speak for everyone and say. . . we miss you! Glad you’re back.

  2. Glad you made it home safely!!!

    To piggyback your p.s. – Megan told me on Thursday that she reads TONS of blogs – but she doesn’t have one!! We’ll have to work on that!!

  3. agreed, heather. i can’t believe she isn’t blogging! and since i know you read this, meg, i meant to tell you that after the email you sent me last week, which was so good. 🙂

  4. i’m glad everything went so well and that’s you’re home!

  5. oops…that you’re home. (i hate when i type things wrong)

  6. Yes, that church was PACKED! wow. very very beautiful service. and listening to bennett pronounce (yell) and call everyone a “turkey” made my day!

  7. Yes, the service was absolutely beautiful. I admire your strength throughout everything. And I love your thoughts about your mom’s last gift for your family.

  8. Welcome Home! You’ve been missed.

    Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

  9. I have been praying for you and for family for a while now, I love reading your blog, you’ve left a piece of your journey for all of us to see and learn from.

  10. Rather than try to describe the service to my children, I will just tell them to please read your entry because you said it so very, very well. And the reason your mom held on so long — overwhelmingly profound.

  11. hooray! a new commenter! welcome, aunt dee 🙂 and thanks for the compliment.

  12. I’m so glad that although you’ve just gone through the saddest month of your life, you will always have some very special memories to keep in your heart forever. Little would I have imagined that when Matt fell in love and married you, we would gain such a cool family to be friends with!

    The memorial service was so lovingly prepared – from all the beautiful arrangements & gifts – to the many photo collages & video – to the very touching eulogies by Cookie & Grandpa Beebe. But the best part, the part your mom would have been so proud of, was all of you kids and your dad standing up there, along with your other family members. What a tribute to a beloved wife and mother!

    I miss you! I know you really wanted & needed to get back home, but as busy as I am today (getting ready for my little trip), I keep looking at the time and thinking what the little boys would be doing if they were here!

  13. P. S. The new picture of the boys at the top of the page is a RIOT!!

  14. Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I’m reading and that I’ve been praying for you this week! This post struck me in that you’re already gleaning wisdom from a very raw situation. The Lord is gracious! Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

  15. Welcome home Nicole! Again, so sorry I missed the funeral and service….my doctor just didn’t allow w/ only a week until the baby. I thought about you and the family all week and especially thursday evening. My mom couldn’t say enough how nice it all was.

    I am going to try and call the beginning of this week before I have Kenzie on thursday. Your view on everything the past couple of weeks is amazing to me, you are an awesome person!

  16. Sorry to hear about your mom.

  17. The ceremony was very beautiful. Nicole, I thought you and your whole family were very well composed and seemed to be handling things very well considering the circumstances. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but you are handling this with so much grace and being so strong for your family. I’ll keep all of you in my prayers. Your mom would be proud and she will definitely be missed.

  18. Thanks, Carrie! And welcome 🙂

  19. Pingback: Say It Forward - Week 18

  20. Pingback: Remembering… « Here’s the Diehl

  21. Pingback: It’s Been Three Years. | Here's the Diehl

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