Even though I don’t remember Sarah Harkins from my time at Franciscan University of Steubenville I still am constantly thinking about her sudden departure from this earth. We had many similarities: we were born in the same year, we went to the same college, got married the same year, have 4 children – boy girl boy girl, our kids are the same ages, both involved in our parishes. And yet she’s no longer here and I am. I am saddened as I go about my day thinking she will no longer get to do the things I am doing to care for my kids. She won’t make their beds anymore or change diapers or snuggle. But then I realize she is in heaven seeing Jesus face to face. I think about how glorious that must be & I’m happy for her. I direct my sadness towards her children instead. They no longer have a mommy to make them meals or wipe their faces or give smiles. I wonder if they even realize the permanency of what has just happened. How sad for her children because there are some things that mommies are the best at & dads (despite their best efforts) just can’t parallel. Dads. Then I think of Eric. I do remember his face from college. And my heart breaks for him. Now he has to do all the things a daddy does plus all a mommy does (& that sounds exhausting) all while mourning his beloved wife. He has small children- they don’t understand; they won’t lessen their demands. I pray for Eric. I pray that many people come help: cook, clean, care for the kids, etc. (If you would like to help please consider donating at www.gofundme.com/c9t0j8 or www.youcaring.com/harkinschildren)
Then I think of my own family. What would happen to them if something like that happened to me? How would my children remember me? Would they remember that their mother loved them (& Jesus & that she wanted them to love Jesus too)? or would they remember that I yelled. ALOT? I decided to start telling them that I love them more often & to yell less. I started cherishing the snuggles. I decided to be purposeful about spending time with them (#momishere). I’ve always tried to do those things, this is just reminding me and reinvigorating me to do it. (In fact I’m letting Joshua sit on my lap as I’m typing this.) In fact this has rekindled my desire to blog because then they can read it when I’m gone (“things stay forever on the internet” so we’re always told when we’re told to think before we post. If a future employer or your children can see those pictures of you partying even though you deleted them off your Facebook page, hopefully they will be able to see positive things like this in the future too!)
I remember the times when in my darkest hours I felt like a horrible mom. I recall thinking that my children would be better off if I were dead so that they could get a new mom who was better at cooking & cleaning & would yell less. And I am ashamed. Now that I see this family having to live with the reality of the loss if their mother & I imagine what difficulties that are going through, I see how terribly, terribly wrong I was. I now know that no matter how unsuccessful I feel as a mother I am still better than no mother. As long as I love my children it doesn’t matter how infrequently I vacuum or how many dinners I’ve burned or in what ways I’ve disappointed their father. What matters is that I’m here & I’m trying & I love them. I need to treasure this time with them. Hopefully I’ll never feel that way again but if I do I want to come back to this post & reread it & remember how I feel & the lessons I’m learning so that I’ll be grateful instead of despairing.
Next my thoughts float to how I can prepare my family for the unexpected. This shows me that we never know when it’s our time & have to live each moment as if it’s our last. Thank goodness we have life insurance that will cover funeral costs. We also have a term policy that will pay out a big amount while are children are small. I hope my husband will use it wisely. Perhaps take some time off & live off the money while he grieves and spends time with the children. Perhaps keep working & use the money to pay for a maid, take out and child care. However we do not have a will and I should put getting one on my to do list. Also I take care of all our finances. I don’t even know if Tom knows all the names of the companies we have accounts with. He definitely doesn’t know the log ins and passwords (sometimes I don’t even remember them all!) Perhaps I could make a list or something & put it in the safe so he has a starting point. (I might even need to use it as a list of people to contact about our address change & move.) What else would help my family in that difficult time?
But most importantly I can spiritually prepare myself and my family because this world isn’t all there is. This world is just a stepping stone to eternity. Hopefully through prayer and the Sacraments we will live this life in friendship and communion with Jesus so that we get to live eternal life with Him. Thank you, Judy Polistina, for teaching me to always keep my eyes on eternity.
Living by Faith
16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Pressing toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.[b]…20 But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself. ~Philippians 3:12,20-21