Ever since George Mason died, I’ve been considering getting a tattoo. To literally write his name (along with Audrey Nole’s) on my wrist. To have a visual reminder of his life, right there for me to see every time I tie my shoe or put on a bracelet or wash my face. To remember his life but more importantly to see all that God has done in my life because of George Mason’s. I haven’t pulled the trigger,  life gets in the way and other things feel more important. I think I will go one day and his name will get inked into the skin on my wrist; not because I need it to remember, but because I want it to share. To have his name be seen. To talk about the two little names that were important enough in my life to place them permanently on my wrist. Often when I think about what it will look like, I wish my sweet mama could have written their names. That somehow seeing her handwriting would be honoring her legacy and cherishing all of the ways that she would have supported and encouraged Adam and me through all of this grief stuff. She’s not here to do that, but I often find myself thinking what she might say or what scripture she might point me towards. Today especially.

Today is 3 years since we said “see you in heaven!” to the wonderful woman we call Mama. 3 whole years. It’s hard to acknowledge that. It feels like her passing left us with a big, dark cloud of yuck. That so much of what has happened over he last 3 years would have benefitted from her light and joy. I wish that she was here to cry with. I wish that she could yell at God with me. I wish she were here to see Audrey Nole and to enjoy her vivacious spirit (that she whole heartedly prayed for - out of spite, I think). I wish she were here to love my dad the way he needs. I wish she were here to just make things right in a way that only a mama can. But she’s not. Instead, she’s in glory. She’s cancer free. She’s been renewed and is perfect. That’s wonderful for her. It’s wonderful for me to know, because it’s better than cancer and worry and anxiety. It’s better than being a grandma - though she might fight that one a tiny bit. It’s better than anything she could have done here over these last 3 years. It doesn’t make it better for me, or my dad, or my siblings, but it’s SO much better for her.

I miss her. I miss my parents and the crazy, somewhat embarrassing, love they poured out on us. I thank God for his sustaining faithfulness in this season of loss, but I still miss her and the dynamic she added to this family. I know that one day I will see her again. One day, we will be rejoicing together. And some times, I’m thankful that she preceded  my George Mason in death, because her heart was big and I think watching her daughter lose her son would have broken it. She felt all of her emotions in a big way. She was vibrant and full of life. She was dark and sad and often scared by the responsibility of living with cancer. But she was honest with herself, and everyone she met, about her need for Jesus. For a savior who did the unthinkable so that we could be assured of God’s love for us. It’s hard not to miss her a little extra on March 12 every year, but knowing her and knowing God, celebration is the only fitting way to go about her heavenly birthday. 

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior, has ransomed me. For like a flood, His mercy rains. Unending love, Amazing grace.

I was reading her blog this morning and one of the last ones she wrote was called “Look Up!” She wrote it on February 4th. She had gotten a clean cancer scan but she was torn. She wasn’t feeling well. The news was flooded with ISIS beheadings and evil seemed so apparent and overwhelming in this world. But she was expecting to meet her first grandbaby in just about 6 weeks. She was excited but burdened by the weight of sin in this world; the world innocent children are born into every day. She believed Audrey Nole would change the world and do big things for God. Already, just shy of 3 years old, she has comforted many and been a bright and shining beacon of God’s love. My mama was right. And even though she never met Audrey Nole, I can see so much of that Vicki spirit in my daughter. I know that a piece of her legacy is being preserved and honored in that sweet, almost 3 year old.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mama. We sure do miss you.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever. (Psalms 121:1-8 NASB)

Thanks for the verse, mama. Even in heaven, you have been an encouragement to me and so many others.