Unconditional Love

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Fourteen

The weekend my mother passed away my good friend and deacon of the First Baptist Church of Maynardville, Ronnie Robbins, stopped by to see me. Tearfully, he told me how sorry he was to hear of my mother’s passing. He said, “You’ve lost the best friend you’ll ever have.” Ronnie would have known, for his mother had passed away some time earlier.

My mother didn’t always approve of everything I did, and she never failed to let me know when she didn’t. Even so, I knew she loved me until her dying day.

While she spent the last month of her life dying at St. Mary’s Hospital on Oak Hill, her three children took turns keeping vigil at her bedside. I guess I still had hope that she would survive, until the day the doctor took us three children into the hallway and told us that if we had anything to say we’d better do so, as her death was imminent.

I remember going back into Mother’s hospital room and pouring my heart out to her. I sobbed, something I hadn’t done since I was in college and poured my heart out to a girlfriend in a tender moment while I recalled my father’s death, several years after his passing.

When Dad died, I remember my sister-in-law Jewell Gay Mincey reaching behind me and wrapping me in one of her strong arms. When I told Mother good-bye, my friend and neighbor Pam Shoffner wrapped me from behind in one of her strong arms and comforted me. It seemed so appropriate that Pam did this at my mother’s deathbed just as my sister-in-law had at my father’s twenty-two years earlier.

Dad died from cancer that left him so incapacitated after three years that it was not possible to say good-bye to him; besides, Dad and I loved each other and knew it, but we didn’t have a close enough relationship probably to have said it anyway. I told Mother I was sorry for everything I’d ever done to make her displeased with me and asked if she forgave me. She did, of course, and that gave me enough peace to face her death.

I said my good-bye on Wednesday. I expected her to die that night, but she seemed better on Thursday. I said, “Mother, I’m glad you’re still here.” She replied, “Me, too.”

My siblings and I were hopeful that the doctor was wrong with his gloomy diagnosis, but the final decline began on Thursday, and she passed away during the 3:00 a.m. hour on Saturday, June 24, 2004.

Mother was a worrier. If I walked down the basement steps, she’d beg me to be careful and not fall. When I rode the lawnmower, she’d help out by picking up the sticks that had fallen from the trees and watch practically my every move to make sure the mower didn’t turn over with me, though the yard was mostly flat.

I found this annoying before her death. The day she died I went home and mowed the yard, feeling sad that never again would Mother pick up sticks for me or worry if I fell down the steps or had an accident with the mower. I should have known I would feel this way—she told me every time I complained about her over protection that someday I’d remember and miss her. Nothing pleased Mother more than to say, “I told you so.”

I do feel sorry for those who do not have good relationships with their mothers, whatever the reason. I feel equally as or sorrier for those natural mothers who have no regard for the children they bore. How sad it is that something so sacred, the mother/child bond, the very foundation of life on earth, is so often tarnished. If the mother cannot love the child she bore unconditionally, what chance do children have? Often a mother is the only chance one has to receive love unconditionally, other than from the Heavenly Father.

Mother’s love is definitely heaven on earth.

I have been fortunate to have other ladies in my life that loved me and accepted my shortcomings. Next week I’ll write about one of them.

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