This is a long long post, and to be honest, I wrote this for me, for a place to put it all together, to have something to look back on and to remember, a place where I can share with my children and my family. After someone has been gone, I find myself longing for the simple memories, the day to day, to remember my feelings and emotions. I found this journal that I had kept and just felt the need to put it someplace else, someplace for safe keeping. I also find myself wanting to scream from the mountain tops about my mom. Though our relationship was difficult and painful, she was the most amazing woman and this world lost so much when she died!
My journal March 22nd, 2008
The day before Easter. We have spent the last few hours spring cleaning. I’ve realized that the next house we move into really needs a good attic…we use our two bonus rooms now like most would use an attic.
I got the kids some goodies for their Easter baskets. Not going overboard this year…just a few things.
I’m painting tomorrow in worship, I both love this and hate this. The pressure to paint a painting during the few songs is always hard, but I love being able to use what God has given me to bless HIM! I miss being away from family during Easter…I feel alone.
Chris and I had one of the biggest arguments of our marriage yesterday, I really don’t like feeling the distance that it caused most of the day. And the worst part about it is that it was over church. I feel like when you are in ministry that at times, church is what we disagree about the most and causes the most friction in our marriage. Today is a new day though and we are doing better.
We are done with Basketball, this year wasn’t that enjoyable for Micah, he felt lousy a lot of the time, was playing with 3rd graders and I think he’s realizing that soccer really is his game
So in my efforts to take pictures and not worry so much about post processing and just to take pictures and capture my kids…Its a struggle to not want to get the perfect shot, but to just capture life!
My journal March 23rd, 2008
I’m sitting here at my dad’s computer with tears streaming down my face. The last 18 hours have been such a blur. I find myself writing just to try to journal some of my feelings.
Last night at about 2:30 am, I recieved a phone call from the Lycomming, PA coreners office, “I’m sorry Mrs. Caudle, your mother was in an accident and passed away…” my heart sunk. Thinking of the fact that I had just talked with her at great length on Friday. She and I talked about many wonderful things and the fact that she was joining her church on Easter morning and she wished I could be there.
My grandmother was with her and was life-flighted to an area hospital, with non life-threatening issues.
The coroner couldn’t not get a hold of my dad in Northern VA, even the state police couldn’t get a hold of him so I was the one who had to tell my father and my sister of my mom’s passing.
I’m in shock, waves of tears come and go. We took my kids at 5:30 this morning to meet my inlaws. I really felt that I was going to have to bear much of the burden in terms of planning and wanted to be able to be there more for them when I told them the news. We will have a funeral in Eagles MEre, where my mom loved. Then later, when my grandmother can attend, we will have a Celebration of life service in NoVa.
Thankfully the kids were excited to see their Nona and Poppy…not one notion about what was happening in their families lives….
I know that my mom is happy today…we get to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, but she get’s to sit at his feet. What a glorious Easter for her.
I want to make sure that we honor her the way she would have wanted.
I hurt so much for my grandmother who is now so alone
I hurt for my kids who will miss their Mimi so much…Makaley was actually going to go up there next week to spend the week with her…she had plans of painting rocks and baking cookies and making their own musical instruments.
What a loss for all the people who my mom encouraged on a daily basis. She would send about 30 cards a week to individuals…just to encourage
I miss her deeply…as I was packing…I just cried…I need her..I need her.
Again, realizing she is with her Almighty and rejoicing
I was blessed to call her mother…there were times when our relationship struggled, but more recently, we came to a place of understanding and thankfully I was able to tell her on Friday how much I loved her.
My Dad’s Words March 27th, 2008
Here are my dad’s words at my mom’s funeral…he’s adapted them for the memorial in a couple of weeks.
I received a card last week that said, “God gave Mezzie a beautiful soul; that beauty is now perfected in his presence.” If you take nothing else away from this service, please take that thought with you.
On behalf of my family, I want to thank you all for coming here to celebrate Mezzie’s life, and, above all, for making that life richer and more beautiful. I think that in the end what defines the life we live is the quality of our friendships and relationships. By that measure, Mezzie’s life was wonderful beyond compare. All of you enriched Mezzie’s life immeasurably. If I try to take hold of what defined Mezzie’s life it was five great loves – love of her Lord, love of her family, love of her friends, love of the new home she found in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, and love of life itself.
Mezzie was a dedicated follower of Jesus and her love for Him was the cornerstone of her life. When she was passing through troubles she turned to Him for support. One time she had a vision of God holding her in the palm of his hand. She was dressed in a white mink coat, and God was whispering in her ear over and over, “I love you.” That image thrilled her soul, and her greatest desire in life was to hear that voice say those words. I am sure that is what is happening right now.
Mezzie loved her family fiercely. Many of our early arguments revolved around her determination to give her daughters everything whatever the cost. She made motherhood her full-time job. She committed herself totally to her children, always looking for ways to prepare them for their adult lives and to strengthen their Christian walk.
She was devoted wife, following me wherever my career led me – to Kenya, to Nigeria and to the wilds of Northern Virginia. She loved doing little kindnesses for me. I doubt my handkerchiefs and sheets will ever be ironed again. Her judgment was almost always sound, and I learned to follow her instincts more closely than my own. It was her commitment to our Lord that led me to seek him out as well, and that has been her most precious gift to me. She was my closest friend, and I’ve found over the past few weeks how much of a vacuum her passing has created in my life. Perhaps once an hour I think of something or experience something and think, “I have to tell Mezzie,” and then realize that Mezzie is no longer there to share with.
She was a spectacular Mimi. She loved bringing her grandchildren to Eagles Mere and sharing the mountains with them – counting red barns with Maddie or picking baskets of flowers with Makaley or teaching Micah the names of herbs. She loved reading to them and showered them with love and wisdom.
She was a wonderful daughter, extending her father’s last days – bundling him up in that last winter, taking him out on our porch, and getting him to march which worked in alleviating the pain from his pancreatic cancer. And you all know how much of her life in these last few years has been dedicated to caring for her mother Rose.
Her third love was for her friends. Mezzie was an encourager. When we arrived at Eagles Mere we found the dining room table filled with cards and notes she was preparing to send out. In fact, at her funeral, the pastor asked how many people received a card from her in the last three days, and at least a 20-30 people raised their hands. There were little evidence of this around our house – a letter from a Sister Ruth-whom Mezzie met once and to whom she gave a skin lotion for her rash and wondered if Mezzie could send her another one. Mezzie was the queen of small gestures. She forced me, grumbling all the way, to stop at different pet stores so she could find the right toy for a friend’s dog. She baked cookies for the electric company linemen and discussed faith with the house painter. Everyone she met was accorded her complete attention. She wrote to a young man in national guard training who she only knew because she knew his mother.
Mostly, she led people to Jesus and disciple them. I know of at least a dozen people to whom she was a spiritual mother. She must have given away at least 100 bibles over the years, to friends, to an Iranian hairdresser, a Turkish neighbor, to someone ahe met waiting at her doctor’s office.
Fourth, she loved her adopted home, Eagles Mere, as only a convert can. Mezzie was a true Luddite, who would have been more at home in the 19th century. She didn’t watch TV or go to the movies. She literally didn’t know the difference between Britney Spears and Cissy Spacek. She loved the peace, the pace, the old-time, small-town graces of Eagles mere and Sullivan County, a place of fifteen minutes Fourth of July parades, outhouse races and wild ramp dinners. Those graces were so evident to us in the few days we were up there preparing for her funeral, in the many kindnesses we received.
Last, she loved life itself. Even though she struggled with depression and insecurity, she loved life. She was an informaniac, wanting to know everything about everything. Her friends and family know that she was a walking encyclopedia; nothing was uninteresting to her. She was a person of infinite enthusiasms. Only by the grace of God was I spared from raising sheep so she could spin their wool.
For us, she was the center of our universe, the celestial body around whom our lives orbited, and we will miss her like we miss the sun on a cloudy day. It is a great comfort that many said to me that she had recently felt the shroud of depression lift, and that she looked forward to a refound freedom. I want to close with a poem that she shared recently expressing the joy she knew she received daily from walking with Jesus.
Oh the sheer joy of it! Living with thee,
God of the universe, Lord of a tree,
Maker of mountains, lover of me!
Oh, the sheer joy of it! Breathing thy air;
Morning is dawning, gone every care.
All the world’s singing, God’s everywhere.”
Oh, the sheer joy of it! Walking with thee,
Out by the hilltop, down by the sea,
Life is so wonderful, Life is so free.
Oh, the sheer joy of it! Working with God,
Running his errands, Waiting his nod,
Building his heaven on common sod.
Oh, the sheer joy of it! – ever to be,
Living in glory, Living with thee,
Lord of tomorrow, lover of me.
My journal March 28th, 2008
It’s been nearly a week since the tragic death of my mom and so many things swarm through my head. Again, I write purely to make sure that I can make sense of some of my thoughts and to let those of you know what is happening. At my mom’s lake house, things are very secluded, no cells, no computers…
my mom’s service was amazing. It was a beautiful tribute to her life. I can not explain how honored she was and how many wonderful things were said. My mom had a gift of encouragement…sending 30-40 cards a week. She would make some, she would buy old devotionals and cut them up, and she would write long letters in them. At her service, the pastor asked, how many of you have received a card from Mezzie since the day of her death and hands went up all over the place. One lady who came to the visitation said, that she went home in between the visitation and the service and in her mailbox was a card from my mom. Another lady told a story about her son who was in the national guard..he called home one day and said “who is Mezzie” and she told him…he said..”I get more cards from her than anyone else”
My mom was intentional…she cared about people. The man who cut her lawn stopped by and with tears in his eyes said, I will really miss her. She made me feel important. I had a cut on my hand that wouldn’t go away and she researched a special type of salve and bought it for me and baked me cookies…
I had a wonderful talk with my mom on Friday…in it I talked about Makaley and her art and the fact that she loved to use markers but that sometimes it was difficult to keep the caps on. when we walked into my mom’s house on Monday…there amidst all her cards were some markers that didn’t have caps…She was intentional.
My family did a wonderful job at honoring her. Someday I will post my dad’s words…amazing. My sister talked about how Micah at the early age of 1 1/2 didn’t know very many words, but because of my mom’s love for nature new all the herbs in her garden…all the birds that she had collected.
I was so blessed as we drove past the Eagles Mere Country Club…where they were members…flags flow at half mast.
I am running on empty…I can’t seem to sleep as my mind goes over and over that night when I got that dreaded call. My heart physically aches.
I realized how many people love me and my family….I know that in times of death and tragedy people’s best colors show, but the support from my soapstone family and our church family was more than I ever could even dream. My friends who I scrapbook with, my friends who I had lost touch with, acquaintances, thank you so much for your support, love and prayers…I can say from the bottom of my heart it is truly what has sustained us.
Jesus was glorified through my mom’s death…my dad’s sister (who is Jewish and hasn’t been in touch with our family since my fathers salvation) was at the funeral….my husband preached a wonderful salvific message…my mom was so proud of him and she would haved wanted salvation to be preached.
I left my family today to come back to “life” I hated watching my dad in the driveway as we pulled away. He’s been so strong and has been so gracious to us girls…he let us make most of the decisions…never pushing us, helping us through it all, but grieving in his own quiet way. He would say things like “I need to remember to tell mom….” He’s realized that he’s going to miss his life long companion…though their relationship was not perfect and had lots of pain, it seemed to all vanish with her death.
So I leave tonight with it’s so evident that even throughout all the pain and the heartache, God has had his perfect hand on it all. Never once have we questioned it…I’m stricken with grief, but I know my mom is rejoicing and I am rejoicing that I had such an opportunity to meet some of the people my mom touched and ministered to.
Journal Entry March 22nd, 2019
I can not believe that it was 11 years ago that I got that horrible late night call that you were gone. That call that would change our lives forever. I had just talked to you, I can remember at 4:30 am in a pile of clothes thinking, “How am I suppose to know what to pack …to pack clothes for your funeral” I remember trying desperately to call Papa or Samantha so that someone else could share the burden of knowing this news. It seems just like yesterday! You have missed so much. The amazing grandchildren that you have, you would have loved and enjoyed them so much. Over the years, we have needed you so badly. We needed you especially this fall when our family was in crisis. How I longed to hear the wisdom of your words. I needed you mom and you were not there.
I miss your voice, your laugh, your handwriting, your crazy ideas, your food, your outfits, your big cars, your silver jewelry, your clutter, your creativity, your mail, your ideas, your friends, your prayers, ….the list is endless.
I live in fear, I hate it, I fight it every day. I hate loss, I know I have survived it, but I fear it now more than ever. Its a weird thing, to feel that life is simpler now with you not in it, but much harder too.
So many great moments, achievements, happy times that you have missed. 5 grandchildren who have now grown up and are beautiful and world changers. Their life would have been even richer if they could have shared it with you.
In all of that, the one thing I know is that you are in the best place, the place you longed for, sitting at the feet of your savior. I miss you mom! xoxo