Remembering Where we Succeeded



Here we are, believe it or not, in 2016! The years just seem to whiz by faster and faster, don’t they? Maybe my age is showing. It’s exciting to face a new year in so many ways. Everything is new. A fresh start is always refreshing.

Each year since Mandy died there have been a plethora of feelings jumbling around in my brain. One minute I am deep in my grief, the next I’m laughing when I remember something Mandy had done. I guess that is what happens when we lose a child – we have a split personality.

Bob and I were certainly not going to win parents of the year. However, we did do some great things with and for our children. I decided to remember some of these things as 2016 begins. Please let me share a few.

When we lived in the Philippines the first time, our children ranged from newborn to fourteen. Every evening when Bob came home they went running out to greet him with hugs, kisses, and shouts of “Daddy!”

One of our neighbor’s commented she had never seen kids so excited to see their dad get home!!! When he came home from a Temporary Duty it was really wild! I believe our exuberant love for our kids wore off on them. Not only did they welcome their daddy that way, but as it turns out, many others were welcomed into our home in the same manner.

There were always five or six additional kids in our house, eating, dancing, taking showers, and spending the night. It was so much fun even though at the time it was exhausting. They always were kind to the kids that were popular and not popular. Everyone was in their circle of friends. I’m thinking they learned great lessons in caring during these times. Our doors were always open.

Mission trips – living in one room homes with families in Honduras, and walking over a mile to get water- certainly gave them a kinder outlook. Mandy slept in a bed with three children while there, willingly sharing a totally different lifestyle. Nothing could change the humbling feelings she gained while living with that family. She always felt that the two months she lived in their home was one of her cherished memories.

“Today I tend to spend too much time wondering where I failed as a mother. I need to realize that remembering where I succeeded is much more healing.”

Then there was the joy we felt going under the bridge on Eau Gallie and bringing home homeless people – helping to get them jobs and back into the community. At the same time Mandy and her siblings fixed meals at Daily Bread and babysat at a ministry for adults with AIDS. At the time they just thought their folks were nuts, but what wonderful adults they became. It’s good to remember that we did indeed teach our beautiful Mandy and our other children some great lessons.

So in her death, Mandy opened my eyes to the fact that she lived a worthwhile and meaningful life. Too often in my day-to-day living I missed the importance of our children’s maturation into adulthood. Raising our children was my most important role. Today I tend to spend too much time wondering where I failed as a mother. I need to realize that remembering where I succeeded is much more healing. Take a little time to remember what great parents you have been. It helps much more than my words can express.




Focusing on How They Lived


More Than a Memory


The Holiday Season