"Taking care of yourself physically to be your best spiritually."
This is the dedication I wrote in my book to my mother. As I was reading posts on Facebook my friends have written about their precious moms, I wanted to share this dedication. She taught me so much. I am so grateful. I pray her story inspires you and shows the importance of living your life for Christ.
Dedication to my mom from The Master's Masterpiece:
"When I was thinking about whom to dedicate my book to, the first person who came to mind was my mother, Claudia Petty. When I told my mom about training to become a Grief Coach, she was so thrilled. I actually debated about telling her for a while, because she already thought I had too many irons in the fire; however, she seemed so proud.
My mom has always encouraged me, although as a child and young teenager, I didn’t always see it as encouragement. However, as I matured as an adult, I realized she was doing what she felt was best for me. When I wanted to begin a direct sales business she and my dad loaned me the money to get started. She then was a great customer and at the age of 62 she joined my team. At the age of 65, she became a widow. Instead of feeling like her life was over, she moved to the town where my sister lived and became very involved with her new church just as she always had been: jail ministry, helping with the babies in the nursery, having the college girls over for meals, taking food to those in need, sending cards and notes to the sick and those needing encouragement, speaking at ladies events, helping teach Bible classes, taking sick people to the doctor and being a mom and grandmother. I called her the Energizer Bunny® because she was so active. At the age of 87, she was still driving and would go to another town about fifty miles away to visit and help with her older sister. She also would pick up other elderly ladies who couldn’t drive anymore and take them to church.
In June 2011, my mom wasn’t feeling well. When she shared this with me, a red flag went up. My mom never complained about being sick, so when she told me what was going on, it sounded serious. Because of her being so independent, I kept begging her to let me come make sure she was okay. (I lived 2 1/2 hours away.) She kept telling me she was okay and was supposed to go back to the doctor the next week. Three days later, on a Sunday night, she called and asked me to come so I could go with her to the doctor. I grabbed some clothes, packed quickly, and started on what was going to be a journey like I had never had before.
I arrived at her home about 11:30 p.m. and knew when I saw her something was seriously wrong. We were finally able to get her to her doctor on Monday afternoon. She was put in the hospital that evening, tests were run and the next day we were told she had cancer and the doctor helped us understand how serious it was. She and I both started to cry. Then she suddenly wiped the tears and said, “I don’t know why I’m crying, I have a mansion in heaven waiting for me.” It turned out to be colon cancer and she died 5 1/2 weeks later. She was in the hospital three weeks and at home with hospice care for 2 1/2 weeks.
My mother taught us how to die. During those 5 1/2 weeks, she never complained, even though she couldn’t have any food or water in the beginning because she couldn’t keep anything down; and only an occasional sip the last two weeks of her life. She also had surgery so the doctors could find the cancer and see if there was anything they could do. She was so brave through it all. She asked me the second day she was in the hospital to have her visitors sign her journal; she wanted to remember who came to visit her. I thought it was an odd request; however, I am so glad we did. We counted the signatures and she’d had over 600 visits. Many came several times to visit; some even came every day.
The words “she taught us how to die” were used describing her. One young man whom my mother had mentored even asked how she could be so peaceful knowing she was going to die. The nurses would come to her room to feel her peacefulness. When friends from church would come get a hug from her, she would ask different ones to take on one of her “jobs” –sending cards, picking people up, taking care of the babies, the jail ministry, etc. She was also known for helping with missionaries when they came to town, being sure they had a car to drive. She sent them e-mails and handwritten cards. While in the hospital, she received a card signed by the women she taught in her jail ministry. Her whole focus during this time was being sure others were taken care of.
After we got her home for hospice care, I asked her if it made her sad to know she was leaving us. She said at first it did; however, she was now ready to go. I can’t say it was easy to let her go; however, I know she is with God. I miss picking up the phone and talking to her while I’m getting ready for the day or while I’m traveling. She always wanted to know what her children and grandchildren were doing and their travels. She would write this information on her desk calendar and we knew she was praying for our safety and for us to make wise decisions.
My mom wanted to leave one last gift/legacy for her children and grandchildren. We ordered Bibles and she wrote a note and signed one for each of her three children and seven grandchildren. It was a hard task because she was so weak and it took her several days to get them signed. The grandchildren’s were signed first and I was so afraid she would die before she got to mine. She lived long enough to sign them all and I treasure that Bible. We gave the Bibles to the grandchildren at her visitation. Here is a picture of my grandson (her great grandson) asleep that night with my Bible wrapped in his arms, so sweet.
Thank you, God, for allowing Claudia to be my mother and thank you mom, for being such an amazing Christian example and for leaving a legacy. I love you!"
The following is a poem we received and fits her so well - although she wasn't anxious - she always handed it over to God.
She always learned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.
And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.
Her thoughts were all so full of us-
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet,
Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late-
Watching from heaven's window,
Leaning from heaven's gate.