Sunday, January 19, 2014

In Honor and Memory of My Mother, a Mighty Woman

Mom 2013

I wrote a letter to Mom a couple months ago. It is the sum of my heart to the woman who I miss more than I ever imagined possible. I’ll just read part of it here, as a tribute to her.

Dear Mom: “I know that my solid foundation of faith is not only because you brought me to church every week while I grew up. It is also because you have been a steadfast role model of what it means to be a Christian and to trust in our Creator. You are a woman of prayer and worship…I have watched you be the ears, the hands, and the heart of Jesus to countless numbers of friends and strangers alike. You have listened with a caring heart. You have given time and energy to many in the form of cooking and teaching and prayer. You have shown me the gift of hospitality as you have always graciously opened your home to many. You put the needs of many before your own. Your first thoughts are always about the welfare of the people in the world around you, not yourself. You are a woman of incomparable integrity. And you are forgiving.”

That was my mom right up to her last days. Her life was about Jesus and her life was about others.

God alone knows our hearts and it is our hearts that he judges. I know that when he looked at her heart, He saw one that desired to love first and to become like Jesus, our ultimate purpose in life.

Mom missed Dad so much her last couple of tired months that it was achingly hard to hear and watch. I believe it’s true that in the union of marriage, two become one. Their spirits are joined. Even death cannot part them.

I had a dream the night before my mom passed away. It was a wide open place of light in countless beautiful colors and Daddy was there. He was so young, like in his 20s. His hand was outstretched and he said, “Come on, Elaine.” And then I saw Mom run toward him. She was young, too, with the thick, medium length, nearly black hair of her youth.  He whisked her up into his arms and twirled her around like in their old jitterbug days. She threw her head back and I heard her laugh with joy in a way I’d never heard her on earth. Dad said, “Come with me, Elaine, I want you to meet Jesus.” He took her hand but paused and said, “Listen to this music, Elaine. Isn’t it glorious?” He began to praise with the angelic choir in his great baritone before they ran off together, holding hands.

At least four times in the night I woke up and that scene was before me. In the morning, I texted the dream to my sister who read it to her.

Mom passed a few hours later.

Missing Daddy wasn’t enough for Mom to let go of this world. She was 84 years old when she died on the 84th day in the hospital. When I told my neighbor she got her Bible and read Psalm 84, “My soul longs for the courts of the Lord.”

On the 84th day, my mother, mighty prayer warrior and lover of Jesus, longed to praise Him in his courts even more than she missed Daddy.

And then her heart was able to let go of the world.

I love you, Mommy. And I’m thankful that you and Daddy are in the courts of the Lord, dancing together and praising Him, as one, for all eternity.

Mom & Dad in Chicago 2005

Elaine S. Brancato Foster, 
June 29, 1929 to December 31, 2013.
May her soul rest in peace.
Richard B. Foster III, March 9, 1927 to June 13, 2013.
May his soul rest in peace.
Richard B. Foster III married to Elaine S. Brancato 
on May 28, 1949.
They were wed 64 years and 2 weeks
when he passed on just ahead of her.

Mom & Dad's last Thanksgiving weekend together. Myrtle Beach 2012.

(I read this at Mom's Memorial Services.)

To share your thoughts or comments, click on the '(numeral) comments' link below and next to "posted by Cheryl Ann Wills.' I would love to hear from you!


anita davis said...

Oh dear one! What a lovely tribute. I hear the heart of a daughter who honored and appreciated the gift of a mom who knew how to be the face of Jesus to many...and to you! It is a rich heritage to walk in. You were the face of Jesus to me when I needed someone to believe in me and my destiny in the Lord so I am grateful for what she passed onto you and became my blessing. I stand with you in the Spirit sister and recall the sweet memories of my loving selfless mom who I miss as well. May this be a time of sweet remembrances and quiet moments in Jesus. Love, Anita

Jennifer said...

So beautifully written Cheryl.

May your parents rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Just purchased your book in KCMO: Who is Jesus? Oh wow, what a beautiful gift of writing and research to our needful world. The name Brancato, my mother too, was one...and how I miss her, as well. Thank you for your beautiful gift you have shared with the world. Thank you for your book. Thank you for allowing me to share with friends. How can I buy more?

Cheryl Wills said...

Thank you, anonymous, for your kind words regarding both my book and my wonderful mother. You can find my book(s) on amazon. at Amazon go to search in books and search for Cheryl Ann Wills.
God bless you,