On July 10, 2011, my sweet, sweet, momma went home to be with the Lord. She was willing to keep fighting her courageous fight, but Jesus wanted her home. Below is my tribute to my mom, the words that I shared at the beautiful celebration of her life last Saturday.
My tribute to my sweet momma
Thank you for celebrating mom’s life. This is exactly how she wanted to it be. She wanted a celebration of her life and wanted to be remembered like she always was, happy with her contagious laugh, vibrant, and full of life, just as she was until her last days.
This by far has been the hardest year and a half of my life. The mourning process for me started when we first found out about her cancer. The loss in my heart is so deep I can't even describe. My mom was my greatest supporter, biggest cheerleader, and everything to me. Our relationship so strong, words cannot even describe.
God’s provision and mercy
Through all of the sadness and the pain, God has been so faithful. His provision and His mercy so undeniable. In Romans 8:28, Paul tells us that, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” God is always working out everything out for us. Three months before we found out about mom’s cancer, I was able to resign from my job to be home and take care of Jericho. Though I knew it was a gift to be able to be with him, I now know that God was also giving me a season to be with mom. Two weeks before we found out about mom’s diagnosis, we found out that I was pregnant with a baby girl. As you all know for James and I to have a baby girl was nearly impossible, but both of our moms’ prayers were so powerful. God knew that I needed to have Karis in my life when she was gone. Mom called Karis her replacement. Karis looks exactly like her. Her smile lights up her face, just like how mom’s smile was. God knew before we did the void that I would have, and through His mercy, He gave me Karis so that I would have her especially during the days when I would miss mom so much. Karis’ middle name is Faith, because of mom’s unending and unwavering faith in God. When I asked mom what got her through this last year and a half, she said that it was her faith and trust in the Lord. Last November we moved back to Pasadena. My plan was to convince mom and dad move to San Diego when mom retired. Us moving back to Pasadena would ruin my plan. Again, God was working everything and providing everything we needed, a job for James, a place to live, and friendships deep and new to support me during the hardest times of my life. And most importantly, God was giving me and the kids precious time to spend with mom to make memories that would last a lifetime.
Mom’s legacy to me was her unending love, faith in God, continual forgiveness, and selflessness. The greatest gift she gave me was her faith in God. She was the first person who shared her love for God with me, with words, but mostly through actions. Through any trial she would always encourage me to pray and ask God. She always believed that He provided all that we needed.
When you think of a mom and how they should be, that was her. She opened up her heart and our home to all of my friends. Our house was always full of people. She brought all of my friends with us to church. They were always welcome to eat dinner at our home and also welcome to live with us when they needed place to live. She told me everyone was always welcome because she wanted everyone to have a family. Many of my friends told me how they wished to have a mom like her.
Mom and I talked on the phone at least five times a day. She cared about all the things that no one else would even care about. She wanted to know about everything I did and what the kids did. The kids adored her. When you ask Jericho where his Nanay is, he says, "In Heaven, with Jesus."
Mom’s strength was so quiet and so selfless. When she was diagnosed the only times she cried was when we were sad. She was always encouraging us and fighting for us. Though the chemo was beating her body up, she told us that she would die fighting. She told me that she had to drag herself to chemo but she wouldn't stop. She was willing to do everything. But God didn't want her to fight anymore. She was so strong for us. She didn't show us her pain because she wanted us to have hope.
Mom had an appointment at City of hope two weeks before she went to be with Jesus. They said that she could try the last chemo, but after that all they could recommend was hospice. When the doctor told her the news she didn't even flinch, didn't even cry, she didn't even hesitate. Her response was, we need to pray that this works. As her daughter and a nurse I knew what was going on. Bad report after another she didn't flinch, she didn't cry. She downplayed everything. The focus was never on her. She always talked about when she got better and what we would do. She kept telling us that she was going to be ok and not to worry about her. But the cancer was so far advanced and aggressive. Even though she knew as a nurse what was going on in her body she wouldn't give up and she wouldn't give up on hope.
My mom was the greatest example of what a mom should be. I pray that my kids would see from me the ways my mom was so amazing, and that her spirit would live on in me and my family.
My mom lived her life to the fullest even till the end. The week before she went to the hospital she was driving, cleaning, and playing with the kids. The day before she went to the hospital we spent the day together and she watched the kids so that James and I could go on a date. She told me, “I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me.” Mom had an unstoppable drive and love for me, my sister, dad, James, and kids. I begged God to heal mom, but He healed her in a different way. I know that He loves her more than I do, and that’s a lot of love. We cannot ask why God took her home so quickly. Mom said that she was ready to go when God decided to take her. She was such an example of unwavering faith and trust to me.
Thank you for all of the outpouring love and support during this season. Thank you to all who prayed fervently for the last year and a half. Thank you for carrying the burden of sadness and asking God for healing when it was too hard for me to pray. Thank you to all of my aunts and uncles who love my mom so deeply and all the ways you showed your love for her. Thank you dad for spending every single day with her for the last year and a half and keeping her going. Thank you, James my rock, Jenny, my strength. I am so grateful for each of you, for who you were to my mom, and for loving her.
I love you mom. Thank you for loving me and all that you did for me. You are the greatest mom and more than I could have ever wanted. I will miss you for the rest of my life.