Women still with us

“Because she has a tube shoved down her throat.”

That’s what Loud Nurse tells my friend Julie about why Julie’s mother is sedated, about why her mother doesn’t even blink an eye when we enter her CCU cave with, “We’re here! How are you?”

A daughter looks at her mother dependent on oxygen from a machine and nutrition from a bag of liquid inserted in veins. And wonders, Are you still with me, Mom? How much longer?”

She tries to keep her tears minimal, unnoticed.

~ * ~ * ~

Another hospital bed, another mother. This one holds my friend T, fighting back from surgery that means she’ll never house kids inside her body again. She wants to get better now for the kids she already has.

A daughter herself, she introduces us to Father at her bedside, watching over his baby girl, grown, but still his.

~ * ~ * ~

A third day, a third hospital, a third woman. Well, and fourth. My niece Whitney has just birthed her first child, a perfect little girl prepared for, wanted, loved. And now fought over, “You have to share her, Mama Jo. It’s my turn to hold her now.”

We flash cameras at faces, documenting first steps off the start line of this mother/daughter journey, one that won’t end until not one but both of them have completed the race.


~ * ~ * ~

My own mother crossed the finish line three years ago, trading earth for heaven. We’d switched roles already, her Alzheimer’s leaving her in need of a daughter playing mother to her.

It was okay. She was my mom. She is still.

Because as long as I’m here, she’s still here, too.

As is my middle girl. Still here, even though I haven’t seen her in 20 years, my last look in her eyes at a hospital.

Being a woman—being human—is sometimes complicated. And oftentimes uncomfortable. And many times so full of joy that you can barely hold it together.

But still, from beginning to end—and beyond, where there’s love, there’s life.

God sustains us still. Mother to daughter and on and on and on. We birth. We die. With each other we breathe the  moments in between.

Thank God for baby girls and old mamas and daughters in the middle, some we see with eyes and others only with hearts.

But all still here.

* * *

What woman in your life is “still here” even though she’s gone?

What women currently in your life keep you going?

27 thoughts on “Women still with us

  1. Dianna

    Beautifully written, Lisa. My mother-in-law is the woman in my life who is still here, even though she is gone. I learned SO many things from her and have applied them to my life to the point that she will always be here as long as I am here.

    The women who keep me going ~ my mom is first on that list. She’s had some major health issues in her lifetime and yet she has “adjusted” her lifestyle to adapt to her limitations. Her mind is beginning to slip a bit, and yet she still holds on with all her might. You and Julie are also women who keep me going ~ the love for the Lord you both have and the way you live your lives to show it ~ it all encourages me to remain steadfast in Him.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “she will always be here as long as I am here”
      Yep, exactly, Dianna. When we pay attention to important things others teach us, we keep part of the person with us as well. Sounds like your m-i-l was an amazing woman. As are you! What a joy you must be to your mom. You’re a wonderful caretaker even as you deal with your own pain. Love you.

  2. floyd

    You really captured the bitter/sweet reality of this life, Lisa. We have joy and we have pain… this isn’t the Garden, but we are loved and directed by the heart of the One who is Father to all of us. You’re heart captured the essence of this gift and struggle… Very moving post. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Those three hospital visits happened within three days of each other last week so it really captured my attention, all the different stages of living and dying and everything in between. You’re so right that this isn’t the Garden–but yes, SO grateful that the Father is still with us wherever we are and wherever we go.

  3. Dolly@Soulstops

    You covered a lot of emotional terrain…sorry about your Kali and your mom…So grateful God has sustained you…and thanks for sharing about your talk with your daughter at my blog…I agree with you: thank God, He only shows us a little at a time otherwise I know I would be overwhelmed with all the ways I need to grow and change…Yes, He is gracious 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Dolly. We all do cover a lot of terrain in such a short amount of time, don’t we? So thankful God guides and sustains us through it all, and in all the right portions. 🙂

  4. brian miller

    hey you have new digs…smiles…i like…
    this life is not easy…nor was it ever promised to be…
    some hard stories there in the beginning, though i like your attitude
    and belief they still live in you…i agree…smiles.
    through it all god def sustains us

  5. Falen

    I’m a momma’s girl through and through. My daughter, she’s the same way. My mom is also a momma’s girl. It’s a thing, you know. 🙂 I am extremely blessed with an amazing mother in law too. I just wanna hug you, Lisa. My heart strings have been pulled, and I want to call my mom and hug my daughter at the same time, all while thanking God I have them both. Beautiful post, love!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Aw, this makes me so happy, Falen. I hope you were able to talk to your mom and hug your daughter. I praise God with you for all the precious women in our lives now and before. They are dear, every one. Blessings to you.

  6. Teresa R

    My Nana who raised me while my mom worked, my mom who kept me on level ground, and my daughter who was my best friend are all gone but still with me. My daughter’s mother-in-law is here to support me.

    1. Lisa notes...

      I’m sorry those three women are all gone but I’m glad they were each able to pour into you while they were here, as I’m sure you poured back into them.

      It’s great that you are close to your daughter’s m-i-l. I got to spend time with my own daughter’s m-i-l last weekend and I always enjoy it. God is good to keep our lives full of people we need.

  7. beverley

    It a good job i didn’t delete that email! When i become overwhelmed with emails (not often) i delete them all and start again. Where am i – anyway?

    My daughter had a new baby on the 5th June makes me twice as old 🙂

  8. Barbara H.

    Lovely post, Lisa. I’ve wondered that about my mother-in-law – how much she is still with us – especially since she is not speaking as much these days (and often when she tries, sadly, I can’t understand her). I’m sure she’ll be “with us” in many ways for years after she’s gone.

    I can get really irritated when someone on a TV show comforts someone else whose loved one has died by saying, “Your loved one isn’t really gone: they’re with you in your heart always.” Just recently I answered out loud, “Yes, they ARE really gone! That’s what hurts!” Yet over time their influence and memories do remain even as the physical ache of their absence lessens.

    1. Lisa notes...

      I know what you mean…without their physical presence, there is definitely a loss. And we feel it, even if we know in other ways they are still with us.

      I felt about my mother towards the end like you do with your m-i-l. She didn’t speak much and it was hard to know how “with us” she really was. 🙁 Thankfully she didn’t have to linger long in that phase. I continue to pray for you and Jim as you walk this road. It can be so unpredictable and hard to plan for, but I know you have consistently shown so much love and care for her as you would have your own mother if she had been here in that situation.

  9. Jerralea

    Beautiful, Lisa!

    My granny is the woman who is still “here” even though she lives in Heaven now. I can still hear her say so much through memories!

    The ladies who keep me going? I’m kind of in the season where I have lots of people to encourage, but maybe not so many in real life to encourage em. I get tons of encouragement from godly blogger ladies!

  10. Lisa notes...

    I’m sure you are a great blessing to many women in your life, Jerralea. You have been to me! It’s wonderful that you can still hear your granny’s voice. It’s a comfort when our memories linger long past a person is physically gone.

    I think we’d all be surprised at how welcoming others would be to our encouragement if we’d just do it more. Because who doesn’t appreciate encouragement? I’m open to all I can get. 🙂

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