Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom...

Kind of a tough day for me. It's my Mom's birthday. For those of you who may not know me very well, my mom passed 6 years ago. So every year, when her birthday comes around, it's hard on me. Truthfully, there are a lot of days throughout the year when her death is harder to deal with: Mother's Day, my kids' birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas - the list goes on. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and miss her - but some days it's more intense than others. Jack's birthday is especially difficult because she never got to meet him. That's so strange to me. In my heart I feel as though she knows him - but it's not the same.

She got to know Hope - and for that I'm so grateful. When she was first diagnosed with cancer, I was about 3 months pregnant with Hope. The doctors told my mom that she only had weeks to live. But my mom just flat out said, "No. I'm not going to miss this baby being born." That's how Hope got her name.
And my mom got to share in Hope's first year.

Jack knows who his Grandma is - we show him pictures and tell him how Grandma Rekstad is in Heaven. Someday he'll understand what that means and know what an amazing woman she was.

I'm thankful because I know my Mom's eternity is secured. She's with Christ now. I know that should be enough... But, there are days when - even though I know she's with Christ - that I'm more in touch with the fact that she's not with me. I'm ashamed to admit this, but there are times when I'm jealous of people who still have their Moms around. It's such a gift - and it's a gift that is so easily taken for granted. I know I took it for granted. I'm sad when I think of the time I wasted arguing with her or being upset with her. But I'm thankful that during the last few years of her life we spent time talking with each other on the phone every single day; and throughout the last year of her life, I spent almost every weekend at my Mom & Dad's house (Hope came with me - which was great because my Mom got to spend so much time with her). I'm sad that she can't experience watching Hope grow up - or getting to know Jack. But then I'm happy because I know that she's not suffering anymore. I'll never forget the day that she realized she couldn't hold Hope anymore because she was afraid she would have a seizure and drop her. Watching the agony of that realization come across her face is something I'll never forget - and I'm so thankful that she's not in that kind of pain anymore.

She would quote this verse from one of her favorite songs a lot during that last year and I think about it a lot now.
There are things about tomorrow
That I don’t seem to understand.
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

She had a tremendous faith.

She was a great lady. I wish you all could have known her. She had more purses than anyone alive. She couldn't go to Costco or WalMart without buying at least one movie - even one she knew she'd probably never watch (about 85% of them she never even opened). She could sew better than anyone I know. She made a lot of my clothes growing up - she even made clothes for all my Barbie Dolls. She loved spice drops (those little sugary gum drop candies). She would never pass on an opportunity to go shopping at the Orange County Swap Meet. She had more tubes of lipstick than 5 women combined (but she only wore one color). Her favorite place was Cannon Beach in Oregon. Every year at Christmas she wore the craziest Christmas sweaters and they got more and more elaborate every year. She loved the rain. She made the best Spritz cookies I've ever had - and she only made them at Christmas time. She loved white cake with white frosting and would often bake one "just to have." She loved to go to Disneyland at Christmas time so she could see all the decorations. Her favorite mall was South Coast Plaza. She couldn't buy a birthday gift for one of her grandchildren without getting all of them "just a little something so they won't feel left out." She loved to just "go for a drive" to no particular destination. She was a nurse for over 30 years. She loved her family. Her family was (and still is) very proud of her.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you and I miss you...


VikingMom said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. Even though her time here was shorter than it should have been, her loving mark on your family's live's is indelible. Although she didn't get to meet Jack in this life, her touch on his life is obvious...she helped to make the great mom that you are.

*sniff* See? Now I'm all teary eyed and crying. Only you and a few others can do that. Told you.

Take care my friend.

VikingMom said...

P.S. That last picture of her with the dachsund. That's totally a Heidi pose!

Kristi said...

Heidi, I had no idea that today was your mom's bday. Unfortunately, that means you have to withstand a hug from me tonight. I know it's not your favorite, but it's the only way I can cope with sad news. :o)

It was so fun to read about your mom and get an idea of who she was. I can't begin to imagine how tough it must be to live without her. As I told you before, you are a very strong woman. You make it look so easy. I know your heart is hurting, but thank goodness for the hope we have that we will get to see the ones we love and have lost again...someday!

And here's what I believe...she already knows Jack. In fact, better than you. I believe that those who have passed before us can see the good things that happen here on earth (since there is no heartache.) think of all the happy moments she has spent watching Jack....moments when even you aren't around.

I know, it's not the same as having them here...but I hope it brings you a small amount of comfort.

Love you...

discomommy said...

Heidi-I admire your strength in posting this. Your Mom would be very proud of the mother you are and your two amazing children.

Don said...

Thank you for sharing that moving tribute to your Mom. She was obviously a wonderful woman.

I assume that the person in the picture with the Dachshund is your mom. Wow...she really really looked like you! Had I not seen it in the context of your post, I would have thought it was you with an unusual hair color and "do." Or certainly a sister.

Thanks again for the post.

johnsonandjohnson said...


I remember talking with you about your mom when Hope was first born. I can't believe it has been that long already. I can't imagine the pain you feel on those certain days---and I know what you mean about the "taking it for granted" part. Thank you for sharing an incredibly personal tribute to your mom---Your mom was obviously an incredible role model for you. You are a great mom and Hope and Jack are so blessed to have you in their lives.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter....

Anonymous said...

Heidi, I know this is pretty belated, but I'm reading some of your older posts. I had no idea that your mom had passed away.

I'm sorry for your loss and can only imagine how you feel that she didn't get to experience being a grandma for long. What a blessing that the two of you were so close and she was able to meet Hope.

That pose on the beach does remind me of you and the dog reminds me of staying the night at your house as children and being warned, "don't touch the dog while it's eating!"

Anyhow, again sorry for your loss! Brandi