A Time for Love

These last weeks I’ve been going through my Mom’s things. Mom passed away on April 12th. My sister and I have been sifting through, deciding on who will possess her things, donate, etc. And even though we went a solid week doing this, individually we are still going through Mom’s items. Being that Mom lived with my husband and I, I keep coming across treasures that are adding more to her memory.

There is something about life as a family when you lose your parents that my sister and I are now just appreciating or maybe it’s a whole new appreciation. Not that we didn’t appreciate our parents before, but I guess with maturity comes different perspectives. In the shuffle of time as a child, speaking for myself, I did much comparing my parents to others. Looking at how my friend’s parents spent time with them, gave attention, cared for, etc. That was my gauge. I grew up with that mentality and captured it against my parents, blocking me from seeing them individually and who they were.

It had much to do with feeling abandoned, which led to insecurity. Frustrations that turned me into being angry with my parents. There was never conversation or intimate talks on what had happened or where things were going. It was living through each day only to be disappointed.

To be clear, it’s not that my parents did not provide for me or celebrate me with birthday parties or Christmas gifts, but the relationship between parent and child and the respect needed was absent. I didn’t feel valued and neither did they. They were facing their own demons that only became stronger obstacles as life went by. Seeing them crutched my soul and paralyzed my lens towards them. Mom never explained to me her life situation, what she was facing, what she was battling when she made the decision to divorce my Dad. I only viewed it as her making the mistake. All my teen years was a lash out for that decision and a heart that at times was bitter towards her. I don’t know why she never shared. Instead she just let me be. Her life too became a result of broken love.

I recently found documentation from my Mom’s annulment process. This has forever changed my view on my Mom to which I regret not knowing about her struggles or her point of view at the time of her decision to divorce my Dad. Life was very different back then. No one butt into others business. Mom pushed through decision out of fear on both sides. Dad was spiraling in his life of addiction and had no grip on reality.

I can only speak for myself, but I feel if I would’ve taken the time to know my Mom as “Barbara” and not just Mom, my relationship with her could have been richer. I say this not to beat myself up, but with an appreciation and awareness to share that with my nephews and niece so they can find that fortune.

Mom was a very reserved person. She wasn’t one to share her frustrations or make her issues your issues. There was much to her life before she was married and while she was married that I did not know. While she lived with me, I did spend time asking her questions on her life. Those conversations were informative, but still didn’t reveal what I recently found.

The point I’m getting here is how much more profound it is to me the phrase “everyone is on a journey”. Dad and Mom battled their family circumstances/upbringing in their marriage. They were equipped with the knowledge they had. It was difficult and inconsistent. Any hurt my sister and I received was the side effect. It wasn’t that they didn’t love us, but they struggled to make it our strength.

Looking back at their lives, I am even more grateful to know what they overcame from all their trials, sufferings, disappointments, battles, by the redemption from Our Lord Jesus Christ. They found Him!

For whatever was absent in my childhood, I received a hundred fold when they both gave their lives to Christ. That is why their presence is greatly missed. Because the love that Christ wanted them to pour out onto our family broke through when they gave their lives to Him. My family and I all received that token of grace. Their lives were not their own. We experienced their love in endless ways that will live in our souls forever.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Heaven’s Eyes

It’s taken me a bit of time to muster up and write about this.  I had wanted to do this for my Dad’s anniversary in February but it didn’t happen due to my own issues and events taking place at home.

This blog is about my Dad’s final suffering.

My memories of my Father are mixed.  From a child until about 5th/6th grade, I have sweet memories.  I can recall many things like road trips, hanging out on the weekend, family gatherings, etc.

My Dad had a bad drug and alcohol addiction. By 5th grade it had gotten worse.  Mom and Dad separated and by 7th grade, they divorced.  I stayed in Mom’s custody and began a relationship with my Dad that was not consistent.

Visits with him consisted of buying stuff at the mall,  his  attempt to  bond.  I don’t recall him being in touch with me years after. Then when he bought me a car, senior year, I would meet him for lunch or whatever but it’s not like I had a connection with him.  It felt odd and distant. There were many times where I would go to his place where he lived and find him stone cold. Passed out.  I would often be afraid to find him dead. Thanks to God that never happened but there was a time where I would wish God would take him. Strange mentality, but I was thinking it would end his addiction.

In July 1994, by the grace of God, Dad surrendered his life to Jesus. His life as we know transformed because of it. His life from that point on was to just love and share what he found in Jesus. He learned many humility lessons early on, actually throughout his life until his death.  Reconciling with family, getting a job that paid less than half what he used to make, great remorse, but he was happy.

From this time until 2005, he led a humble life. He remarried and gave much of his time to his Free Methodist church. He even completed a program in theology.

At the end of 2005, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Sarcoma.  He had a 14 pound tumor removed on Thanksgiving day. After surgery, he never got back to being “normal” again as much as he tried.

My Sister and I attended to him with doctor appointments, hospital stays. He was battling mentally and spiritually more than physically. He so much wanted to live because of what he found in Jesus. Freedom. Love. Peace.

This brings me to his last five days in hospice.

He had such peace.  He knew fully well that when he was brought to hospice that this was it.  He asked me, “the only thing I want is to be able to see the Tucson mountains from my room.”  The place was God given.

He went through episodes of joy, fear, calm, laughter, and sorrow. Because I was self-employed I was able to be at his side all day and stayed with him the first night.  We shared “shifts” between his wife and my sister.  Both of them worked full-time, so because I didn’t work, I had time to be with him all day.

I remember feeling fatigued. Mentally drained. Always wondering if what we were doing was right with him. Medical treatment wise. Angry with past doctors.  He was in much pain.  I didn’t think of it then but I know now God graced me.

On the last day, February 20, 2006, his pain med had been increased. He was antsy!  I remember getting up to go outside and sit but he grabbed my arm because he felt me move. I said “Dad it’s ok, I’m just   going outside.”  But then something told me to stay.  So I stood next to him and just caressing his arm, telling him it’s okay. That I loved him. His restlessness stopped. And at that point, I remember staring at him into his eyes. He relaxed himself into his bed. I felt like my heart was being pulled to his and my being felt like I was taken away. When I looked into my Dad’s eyes it felt like I was going somewhere with him.  I literally felt a pull. His pupils changed.  I’ll never forget it.

After that, he fell into a heavy sleep.  He slept the whole day and evening. When I left it was around 8 pm.  My sister and step-mother were there.  My Dad passed away around 9:30 pm.

Heaven became real to me that day. Not that I didn’t believe in heaven before. But this blessed experience helped me see my Dad’s life was headed to the eternal. I knew this.  My mind had gotten so busy with what I was responsible for that I was forgetting what was happening here with my Dad. This moment definitely had me feeling I was a soul away, my Dad, from being to touch heaven.  I saw the depth in my Dad’s eyes.  Nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

I also know that my appreciation for those who are in their final hours is different for me now. My awareness is great!

I thank my Lord for this and for giving me my Dad Joel.  I miss him greatly and still feel such a void in my life without him here.  With that void, I turn to my Lord and with greater faith, press on so that I too join my Dad in heaven. +++

 

Leticia Ochoa Adams

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