Mom’s Last Two Years – God at Work

PA281187When bad things happen, we want to know what it’s all about. Why is this happening to me? What purpose could it serve? These are pretty common questions, and they’re what my mother was asking two years ago when my father died unexpectedly of a rapidly progressive brain tumor. Mom and Dad had been married 58 years, and she was devastated by his relatively sudden death. She had some tough questions. Why did he die? Why am I alone? I was hoping I would die first. God, what is your plan? And we didn’t have any answers.

Despite her profound grief, my mother’s trust in God did not waver. She poured out her heart to Jesus, to us and to her friends.  Over time she improved, and about nine months after my father’s passing she moved to Westminster Winter Park to be closer to our family. Westminster is a Christian retirement community where Mom quickly made many new friends. She also found a new church home and was warmly welcomed into that fellowship. Between the passage of time, Westminster, friends, family, church and Jesus, Mom was becoming her old happy self again after about a year.

Then the cancer showed up. A gallbladder attack, surgery, unresectable cancer, no good treatments, and then “most people die within a year.”  What the hell is going on?! A year of grief, just getting well and now this?!  Mom didn’t say it like that of course, but it captures the way she (and all of us) felt at the time – more grieving and more tough questions for God. As you know, God showed up and Mom was given joy, peace and physical wellbeing until shortly before her passing last month.

Mom is at peace now. I am too, but I’m still thinking about her last two years. What was that all about? Why did it play out that way? It sure wasn’t an easy road for her. How do I make sense of it?

According to her wishes, we held a memorial service in St. Petersburg, and threw a party for her Winter Park friends, at both of which I heard many stories about Mom and how she had impacted the lives of others – a significant number of them from the last two years. Mom made an quite an impact despite and also because of her illness.  It’s clear that she left a legacy, and that God was using her for his purposes right up to the end.

As I have reflect on all that I have seen and experienced over Mom’s last two years, this passage from scripture comes to mind:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”      John 9:1-3 NIV

I don’t presume to know why everything happened as it did for Mom. God has his reasons. But for now, I’m considering that all these events happened so that the works of God might be displayed in her, because they surely were.

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Comments

  1. Beautiful. May God continue to bless all of you with His comfort and peace.

  2. Christine Pawlowski says:

    Your words are so true and cover most peoples thoughts during times like that.

    God is with us always as we should always be with Him. I pray for your peace during this time of grief. God Bless You. Christine

  3. Because of the fall we will have many “whys”. Although God gives us answers to many of our questions in the Holy Bible, some questions won’t be answered in a way that is 100% clear. Thank you for sharing your mother’s legacy of trust and faith. That is exactly what we need more of to get through these “whys”. Comfort and peace to you.

    • Peter Weiss says:

      You’re welcome and thank you, Kay. God’s ways are higher than our ways, but we can be sure that in all things he is working for those who love him, and Mom surely loved him.
      Pete