NOTE: This blog was written in 2016, before launching my new blog The Loveliest Balance. I deleted most of my old blogs because I was starting over completely and needed clean space to do so. However, the ones I chose to keep were very near to my heart at the time and still have great importance to me. So you can peek into the old Mel and see how that has shaped who I am now and The Loveliest Balance.
This blog specifically is so special. Each year, my mom's death anniversary is so hard. But I feel like I always learn a beautiful new lesson or experience a special moment. I love writing those down so I can go back to them. And maybe these blogs can be there for someone else who feels the pain of loss. That would mean so much to me if it could speak to someone else's broken heart.
On Sunday, July 24th, I went to Antioch Church. I'd been attending this church for the previous 4 Sundays, seeing if it's the church that God has called me to join in Cape Town. I really enjoyed the message on discipleship shared by a man named Aaron. He started out saying that Jesus' last words were to go and make disciples. He stressed that there is so much power in last words.
As I took notes on what he was saying during his message, I couldn't get over how true his first statement was. There is SO much power in last words.
I think that every time that the end of July rolls around, God comes to me, wrapping His arms around me whispering that He has something to show me. He knows that at the end of July I just need a few extra hugs and to hear whatever He has for me. The last day of July is the death anniversary of my mama.
This year was 15 years since she's passed. And on that day, God gave me more hugs that I could even count.
July 31, 2001. I left for a summer day camp that I was going to. I went to kiss my mama goodbye and she said something pretty hurtful.
"I'm still mad at you."
We had gotten into an argument the night before. I was a bratty preteen who said terribly mean things to my mom. And she- being the one I get all stubbornness from- yelled things back at me. It was a really nasty fight. I've prayed about it so many times, and I think that God has really blocked a lot of it from my memory.
But those last words she said to me before I left for camp were the last words I'd ever hear her speak. Before I got home that day, I found out that my mom had died in the hospital.
July 31, 2016. 15 years since mama died. I'm remembering the last words she spoke to me. I cry and ask God to reshape my memory of those last words. He's God, He can do anything. I beg him to make that memory disappear completely and for Him to give me a brand new one, preferably where the last words were "I will always love you, Melanie."
And then something crazy happened. No, God didn't rewire my memories, but instead He flashed tons of other memories in my mind. Of all the beautiful things my mama had spoken over me in my life with her. She loved me like crazy and always told me. She said "I love you" more than anyone I'd ever met. I learned to love deeply- and tell people you love them- from her.
Then, I found this photo from 1996 in a box in my closet. It's in an old wallet holder, with my mama's handwriting.
"I will always love you, my sweet Melanie."
Oh how beautiful! That God answered my prayer in my mom's very own handwriting! And then I remembered other things I have that she's written to me! She wrote to me as a baby!!! She wrote me a happy birthday poem. She kept journals where she recorded how much she loved her daughters. She wrote prayers to God about being the best mom she could be for us.
And then, as I am crying thinking of how amazing handwritten things are, I remember the tattoo on my foot. The permanent markings I put on my body as a reminder and in memory of my amazing mother.
It has her initials, and the year she was born and passed away. It's a heart because she used to sing that Tarzan song to me, You'll be in my Heart.
I couldn't listen to that song because it instantly brought tears to my eyes. And I hadn't watched Tarzan since she was alive. It was one of her favorite movies and reminded me too much of her.
However this year, my amazing new friends, Monz, Richard, and Fanus, went to see the new Tarzan movie in theatres with me. It was so special and really felt like it was another one of those last words I could remember.
"You'll be in my heart."
How beautiful and perfect that God is so amazing and gave me all sorts of amazing big hugs on this day. I spent the day at wonderful church in Lavender Hill with a powerful message and testimonies led by the Detroit Mission team here. Then I got to laugh and make new memories with some great new friends. And God gave me beautiful new last words that I can keep at the forefront of my mind when I think of words my mama spoke.
I'm so thankful for how much He cares about my heart. He's so gracious to me. I love Him so much. July 31st this year was such a huge hug. I am soooo blessed.
Also, this isn't a story I share often. I think my mom was such an insanely wonderful woman and want her to be remembered as one. But she was human. She made human mistakes. And from this small mistake that she and I made, I've learned such a huge lesson. Ever since this day, I'm so cautious to fix conflicts quickly, hold back biting words, and not leave things on a negative note between someone else. It's not always easy, and I'm so far from perfect, but it helps when I think of Jesus and how powerful His last words were. I want my last words to always be loving and pure like His.