He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

December 20, 2010

Gina Paula Harden Bauhaus Gray (1949 - 2010)

mattmomMom had been nagging us for years to get her a print of this picture of her and Matt at our wedding. We've been slow (really slow) in having any special prints made of our wedding pictures, but I decided that we weren't going to make her wait any longer. I ordered an 8x10 and put it in a nice frame, and planned to give it to her for Christmas. I picked it up the day before (we think) she died.

I've never seen a more proud mother-of-the-groom than she was that day, and I think it probably ranked as one of the happiest days of her life. It's such a cliché,the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law not getting along; but we couldn't have been further from it. Gina always told me that I was the answer to her prayers for Matt. She made me feel cherished, and treated me like the daughter she never had. She wasn't just a mother-in-law to me. She was a second mommy, and I cherished her in return.

She was a tough lady, but this past year was one of the most challenging she'd ever faced. She went through losing her job, and then losing her eyesight, and those hindrances to being able to provide for her disabled husband weighed heavily on her. His failing health and hospital stays certainly didn't make things easier on her. She was so busy worrying about Rob, and about her eyes, that she neglected other things, like a cough that she assumed was nothing to be concerned about, at least not enough to make it a priority.

It seemed like things were starting to turn around. Rob's health was stabilizing, and she finally secured financial assistance for cataract surgery. Her first surgery was scheduled for this week. She was going to be able to see again by Christmas, and Rob was going to come home, and they were going to rest and hope for a better year.

It's one of mine and Matt's biggest regrets that we weren't able to help her more, to do more to make life easier for her and take away some of her burdens. But it's our comfort, as believers in Christ, to know that all of her burdens are lifted, and she can see perfectly now, and she has no more cough, no more diabetes, no more need to stick herself with needles every day. We're left behind to pick up the pieces and figure out how they fit without her as part of the picture, and that hurts. To say we miss her is a huge understatement. But we know we'll see her again, and it would be the ultimate in selfishness to wish her back to such a difficult life.

Your kids love you and miss you, Mom. Now it's time to rest.

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. 
-Jeremiah 31:13 (NIV)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. 
-Psalm 30:11-12 (NASB)

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