The first Best Friend!

The first Best Friend!

My grandmother used to tell my mother that she ( she being my mom ) should not get mad at her, because she was her first friend and her best friend.  Grandma Scheiderman wasn’t talking about the chummy or buddy friendships.   No, this was the forever friendship.  The friendship that endures through thick and thin .  The “I will stand by you forever friend” and “I will believe in you always, even when no one else does friend.”

My mother had carried on Grandma Schiederman’s tradition of forging a friendship that would endure a lifetime.  We survived boyfriends, pageants, college and thousands of miles of separation.   That was the kind of friend my mother was and on June 8, 2009, I said goodbye to my best friend.  I have not posted anything new since April, because I simply could not find the words.   If you have read “Sandwiched In”, then you already know this but for those of you who have not,  the last 5 years my mother fought  the disease of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and/or Parkinson.  The doctors, and even my brother and I, aren’t really sure or can’t really agree what exact disease mom suffered from.

Whatever it was ,the the illness snatched my mother’s ability to speak in full sentences and by the end, she could say very little .  She could barely write either. This  is so ironic for a women who loved to talk, pray and tell the most detailed stories.  The kind of stories that my father would ask if they had an ending.  She was an amazing artist too. To see her lose her ability to draw, paint and create, was heart breaking.  But in the midst of all of this, my mother still radiated the love of Jesus.  She never lost her ability to say, ” I love you” and flash a beautiful smile.

As believers, we are to live a life that is a testimony to the world of the awesome saving grace of Jesus.  I once heard it said that “the ever present world is watching.”  The world is watching to see how we handle  “the good, the bad and the ugly.”  Mother tried to live a life that was pleasing and honorable to the Lord.  She saw the good in everyone and she knew no stranger.  Not only did she live a life that honored God, but so did the countless friends that walked through the valley of the shadow with us.  We have seen that God’s love endures forever.

I have been walking this journey of loss and have been saying good bye to this dear friend for almost 5 years now.  When you lose your mother,  a dear friend as this one, the goodbye is never really final.  Some say it will get easier and some say that you never get over it.  Having three boys which we fondly refer to as the “Sons of Thunder”,  it seems an even stronger reminder that she will no longer be a part of their lives either.

I once heard someone say that the reason we get married or develop close friendships is so that they can be a witness to our lives. They will say your life mattered and it will not go unnoticed.  They will say I will remember you and all you have done.  I will be a witness to your life and testify to the difference you made in this world.  Well, dear friends, I can testify to the life of Eddi Carlin, my mother and my friend.  I can say without hesitation how proud I am to have been  her daughter.  How honored I am when people think I look  like her, act like her or possess some of her gifts.

I can testify that her impact on my life  and the lives of others,  was unforgettable.  I can testify to her amazing gifts, to forgive, to embrace and to celebrate the beauty around her.  I miss her smile, her amazing unending support and encouragement.  I was the blessed one to have such an awesome mother.  She was transparent, real, honest and passionate about the Lord.  I have been so blessed to be so loved.  Anytime I told her I was planning to do something,  she always came back with “Go for it,  You can do that.”   She empowered me to believe in myself and the gifts God had given me.

I am too young to lose my mother, my friend, my encourager, and even if I lived to be 120 years old,  it would have been too soon .  She had a word of wisdom for just about everything. She knew no stranger and was an encourager to all those around her.

“Death is so inconvenient.  We try to live and love and it comes and interrupts.”  I heard these lyrics nine years ago, by Sara Groves, on her beautiful CD Conversation.   These words resonate in my spirit so much  since mother’s death.  As my mother slipped away,  I had so much more I wanted to say.  Mother’s body was tired and the nursing home and the moves were just too much for her.  So for me, there is peace and solace in knowing that in my sweet mother’s death, she was given life and freedom and a new life in the fellowship of our Lord and Savior.  The lyrics continue with ” What I know from God’s word is to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and what I know of Him, that must be really good.”

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