(This post originally appeared as part of a guest post series at Finding Heaven and I have asked Tracy for permission to re-run it for #SDGConnections. Today is the 2nd anniversary of her mother’s death.)
“Tracy, your mother’s on the phone, do you want to take her call?”
That is strange… my mother never calls while I am at work.
“Tracy… it’s… it’s… falling out.”
My mother was weeping.
“Mom, what is falling out?”
“My hair, it is coming out in clumps. I was taking a shower and now it is all over the bathtub. Your dad is at work and I am here by myself. I just need to hear your voice…”
The lump in my throat grows thick. I will not lose control of my emotions.
I picture her naked laying on the floor of her bathtub.
“Tracy, are you there? Should I keep pulling it out?”
“Oh mom, I will sit here with you while you do. You’re going to be ok. I am with you…”
“Ok… Tracy, I feel so ugly.”
I cry silently on the other end.
“Tracy, I think I am done.”
mom, you are and will always be beautiful to me.”
2007-October 7, 2012
My mother’s hair returned, but so did the breast cancer.
Now it was all over her body.
More hair was lost and more chemo was taken.
There were days when my mother needed to hear my voice because her pain was great and because her reflection repulsed her.
My answer remained the same: “Mom you are and will always be beautiful to me.”
October 8, 2012
It hurts to look at what remains of my mother’s body. I rub her bald head and grasp the skeletal remains of the hands that first held me.
It’s just me and her in the room.
I am not sure what to do with the silence.
The lump in my throat is growing.
I will not lose my emotions.
I am her daughter and I hate cancer.
But I love a God who is good and gracious. What doctors said was impossible, He made possible. He honored countless prayers.
Jesus is coming to free and heal her now…
I lean in close so she will be sure to hear me. She can no longer speak or open her eyes.
I know that she needs to hear my voice
“Mom… I am here now. I am so thankful God chose you to be my mom. It’s time for you to go home to Him now. You are and will always be beautiful to me.”
And then I sing “Amazing Grace” and “Jesus loves Roxie” over her again and again…
My mother won her battle against breast cancer.
She beheld Beauty, literally.
Her suffering ended.
Her questions answered.
Her joy is unending.
March 28, 2013
I stand beside my grieving father as we clean out my mother’s side of the closet. Her clothes smell of her perfume. I quickly place the shoes she wore to my wedding in a trash bag. To stop and hold them is painful. Her High school ring and pearl necklaces are still here with me. But my mother is gone from me, temporarily.
Memories overwhelm me.
The lump in my throat returns.
This time I let my tears fall and I remember.
I remember beholding my mother’s beauty.
Cancer couldn’t kill the beauty of her courage or the beauty of her faith and trust in God.
Beauty cannot be purchased in a bottle, achieved by a diet, or purchased off the rack.
Beauty isn’t skin deep, it is soul deep.
My mother will always be beautiful to me.
I have beheld Beauty now.
Praise You, Jesus.
Tracy is proudly married to Chad, a pilot in the United States Air Force. Whenever they are not being relocated, she loves todrink green tea and watch re-runs of LOST. She also enjoys chasing their two children, Jackson (4) and Katherine (2), throughout their toy-infested home. Tracy graduated from Phoenix Seminary in 2005, and served as the Director of Student Women at Scottsdale Bible Church from 2005-2007. She is also the author of Images of His Beauty, a newly released Bible Study, for young women who struggle with self-image issues and eating disorders. You can find out more information about the study and follow her blog at www.onedegreeministries.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OneDegreeMinistries, or chat with her via twitter @tracy_steel.