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Missing Momma

Thirty-eight years ago today, my dad, brother, sister, and I were walking the floors of Baptist Hospital in Montgomery, praying for a miracle while beginning to ask those unthinkable questions such as: "How do you know when someone is brain dead?" "Who do we contact about organ donation?" "What would momma want us to do?" "How can we possibly go on without this person who was the family glue and head cheerleader?"

The day before (a Saturday), Momma got up and started laying out the ingredients to make a batch of cookies for a bridal shower for a girl who lived at the Children's Home. She was in Troy. My dad was the Executive Director of the Alabama Baptist Children's Homes. She was a secretary in the administrative office next door, but that day was an off day. Suddenly, she had a blinding, nauseating headache, and forty-five minutes later she was unconscious, never to regain consciousness.

When my phone rang in Hartselle that morning, I expected to hear her voice on the line, because Saturday mornings were our "settle in for a good, catch-up chat" time. This time, though, it was another staff member at the Children's Home calling to tell me I needed to get to Montgomery as quickly as I could. Momma had suffered a brain aneurysm.

Steve was at the clinic, and I had two kids with chicken pox. It took a bit to make arrangements (Steve's parents graciously rushed to help), so I got there before they took Momma to surgery to attempt to relieve the pressure inside her head. My sister and I talked frantically, telling her we were there and that we loved her. A tiny tear fell down her face. I'm convinced she heard us. After that, though, the bleeding continued, and irreversible damage had been done. Momma was 55 years old -- seemingly healthy, active, beautiful.

The next day two brain scans were performed -- both with flat lines indicating no brain activity. That night we said our good-byes and got in an elevator while Momma was taken to a surgery room for her viable organs to be harvested.

The next morning, the Challenger Space Shuttle blew up. With that, the whole world was in shock and mourning. Not just my family.

There were two funerals. The first was at First Baptist Church in Troy. The choir, of which she was a faithful member in the alto section, sang "I Am." My dad remembered her coming home from choir practice and talking about how much she loved the song. They did a magnificent job. Click here to find a version I found on YouTube to get an idea about the depth and power of the lyrics.

The next day another service was held at First Baptist Church in Athens, AL. Momma grew up in Athens and had been a long-time member before moving to Troy. My uncle played the organ, and I remember the comforting sounds of "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" as we left the church to go to the cemetery.

Momma graduated from Athens High School in 1948. This was her senior picture.


As you can tell, the week of January 25-30, 1986 had a profound impact on my life. The details are just as vivid today as they were all those years ago.


Oh my goodness, how I have longed for some do-overs.

I would love another shopping trip with Momma. Her family, as many families were during the Depression Years, was economically strapped, and she only had two dresses growing up. As a result, once she had more money, she LOVED shopping for clothes. She rarely left Gayfer's or Parisian without a sack in her hand, and when I was with her, she wanted me to leave with something new, too.


I would love to sit down for another of her meals. They were scrumptious! A hearty entree (usually roast or chicken), several vegetable casseroles, salad, rolls, and a yummy dessert.


She loved for me to keep her in "bragging material." Wouldn't she have had fun telling her friends about my many grandchildren and great grandson?


Oh, what I would give for another conversation! I can promise you I would hang on to every word.

And, my goodness, what a treasure another hug would be. She gave such good ones, and she always smelled wonderful.


I know that in heaven we will spend our time praising God, but how I hope we get to stand next to each other in that choir.


Isaiah 66:13 -- "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you."

Proverbs 31:27-31 --"She watches over the affairs of her household

    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;

    her husband also, and he praises her:

 'Many women do noble things,

    but you surpass them all.'

 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done,

    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."


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I missed this sweet story about your mom. Patti Hicks asked me if I read it, but I couldn't get it open at the time. I went back today and was blessed reading your tribute to your mom. I, too, had such a close relationship with my own mother who was quite talented and generous with all she had .... just as my grandmother was...and sounded a lot like your mother. I do miss her every day and still sometimes think of picking up the phone to call. Thank you for blessing me this morning. Diane

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Thank you for sharing about your mother, Diane. We were truly blessed daughters, weren't we? Your comments are always so encouraging. Thank you.

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