Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good News!

Back on October 5, I posted about M, one of my finest students  — exceptional in several ways.  She is of Ethiopian descent, and both of her parents immigrated to the United States, where her five children were born.  M is the oldest of the five and turned 11 years old on December 4.

At the age of 41, M's mother perished on November 5 of inflammatory breast cancer, one of the most aggressive types of the disease, while she was visiting friends and family in the country of her birth. She chose to go there alone so as to spare her husband and her children from witnessing those last terrible days.  In fact, her visit to Ethiopia was very short  — only a matter of a week or so.

If ever a Godly woman walked this earth, it was M's mother!  No matter what bad things came down the pike — even terminal cancer — she said over and over again, "The Lord is good."  And she meant it!

Over 500 people attended the memorial service held here in the United States on November 25, and all who spoke at the service emphasize that this woman walked with the Lord.  At the service, M also offered a tribute dedicated to her mother: playing on the piano her mother's favorite hymn, "Amazing Grace."

At the memorial service, I was struck yet again by the staunch American patriotism of this family.  The video loop of family pictures contained photo after photo of M's mother and father and all of the children standing in front of various buildings related to our nation's heritage including Mount Vernon, the White House, and the Jefferson Memorial.  Not a single picture of the family on vacation at Disney World or Six Flags!  Obviously, this family focused on love of America and on making sure that their children understood their American heritage.

The good news that the title of this post does not refer any of the above, however.

The good news, which I received over the weekend, is that M and her siblings will be staying in the homeschool classes until the end of the school term.  We won't have to say goodbye to them.

I had fully expected M's husband to enroll the children in a traditional school.  After all, the man works a full time job with hours much longer than bankers' hours and, therefore, cannot homeschool the children himself.  Now, however, he doesn't have to disrupt his children's school year: a friend of the family has volunteered to continue homeschooling the children because this friend knows that M's mother was dedicated to providing that kind of education for her children.

I can hear M's mother's voice now:


And I smile through tears — not only because her children will be continuing their education without interruption but also because those words from M's mother blessed me so many times when I was feeling low about the situation here in the AOW household.

That the Lord is good really IS The Good News.

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, the scripture, the family, the mother, their love of God and country.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Breast cancer is a horrible thing, so many types, so many women (and men) affected.

    Debbie
    Right Truth
    http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

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  2. I've decided not to blog as often about politics as I have been doing for -- Lo! -- these seven years.

    In my view, we are depressing ourselves by focusing on the negative so much of the time.

    I will, of course, blog about politics some of the time -- just not ALL the time.

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  3. Today, M's mother's two oldest children -- two girls in my classes -- attended our homeschool Christmas party. I also had the opportunity to speak with M's husband. He's having a rough time emotionally, of course. And both the girls have sad eyes right now as they face their first Christmas ever without their mom.

    However, something wonderful happened at the Christmas party today.

    S, M's sister, received the most wonderful present in the Secret-Magi gift exchange: a sweater vest (red, white, and blue) and a little necklace. Things much like S's her mother would have chosen for her beautiful daughter, things that M's mother would have done for another little girl if that little girl had lost HER mother. That's the kind of person that M's mother was.

    How wonderful that a homeschool mother stepped in and gave S such a wonderful gift! S was thrilled, of course.

    And the widower? I saw tears fill his eyes. He and I both nodded our heads, and I whispered to him as we shared that private moment, "I can hear your wife's voice right now: 'The Lord is good!'"

    I'm not explaining the moment very well, I know. But trust me that what I have described above was such a wonderful moment.

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  4. beautiful story that has put tear into my own eyes. Thank you for sharing. May M rest in peace and may God bless and comfort all of her family & friends.

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  5. You explained the moment very well.
    Thank you for justifying the internet.

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  6. The way we choose to deal with the hideous body blows life is sure to mete out sooner or later determines our character.

    Success in life isn't determined by how successful we are at avoiding unpleasantness or by how much money and property we are able to amass. Real success would best be defined as the ability to accept Life (God) on whatever terms Life is given to us, all the while knowing -- and constantly affirming -- that Life (God) is good no matter what.

    M's beautiful mother was forced to leave his world much too early by our standards. It is a terrible tragedy to leave five pre-pubescent children without the love, comfort and guidance of their mother, but this particular mother appears to have had such strong faith, fine character and deep understanding of the true meaning of joy in reverence I feel sure her spirit and her love will never leave her children -- or her husband -- as long as they live.

    It will not just be her memory they carry throughout their lives, it will be her living spirit.

    In "I remember Mama" - the affectionate memoir by Kathryn Forbes of her upbringing by Norwegian immigrant parents in San Francisco at the turn of the last century -- Mama, luminously portrayed with great depth and beauty by Irene Dunne in the movie version, is asked late in the story what she had loved best about her life?

    "All of it," Mama replied unhesitatingly.

    This simple affirmation coming from a woman, who like most of us had been no stranger to tragedy, uncertainty, perplexity and the challenges of raising several children to be decent, considerate, loving and productive citizens on a severely limited budget, is immensely touching in the context of her story.

    From the sound of it M's mother embodied most of the wonderful qualities we have seen in Kathryn Forbes' Mama.

    God is the source and the perfect embodiment of Life, Truth and Love. As long as we maintain a treasured awareness of His constant presence and faith in His everlasting goodness we cannot fail no matter how harsh our challenges may be.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful, life-affirming experience with these dear people, AOW.

    Merry Christmas!

    ~ FreeThinke

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  7. The poor dear woman! May she rest in peace with God. Very sorry to hear of this tragedy and my heartfelt best wishes to her family.

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  8. Great message, AOW. One that is too often forgotten.

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  9. So sorry to hear of such a loss AOW, yours, the families, and all of her other friends. It does seem to me from reading your touching post however, that you and everyone else are doing exactly what she would have wanted---celebrating her life and NOT mourning her death. That can be beautiful and also much easier to deal with.

    Joe

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  10. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful testimony not only about M's mother but her family as well.

    So refreshing.

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  11. Thanks for that AOW, and tell that young girl she has a whole bunch of people praying for her, i just know she and her family will be okay !

    And thank-you AOW for all you do.

    God Bless You.

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  12. From what I saw in the eyes of M's children at the Christmas party on Tuesday, the reality of losing their mother is just now beginning to hit home. The children's eyes are filled with sorrow -- hard to see in children so young.

    M mentioned to me that she is worried about what their schooling arrangements will be for the 2013-2014 school term. M is 11 years old -- but going on 50.

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  13. I should mention that M's family has a large support system: a huge Ethiopian community and a large extended family. Within that support system are also two homeschool groups and a large church stepping in to help in many ways.

    This family is also regularly lifted up in prayer. All prayers for them appreciated!

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  14. Yes, the Lord is good! I am thrilled that the children will be able to continue with you as a teacher. Surely the fact that you know the whole family will give them a sense of connectivity which will continue to carry them through this difficult time. You are a carrier of memories of the mother, especially for the daughters. The Lord is good and his mercy is everlasting.

    Tammy Swofford

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  15. Never weary in well doing, AOW.

    I love to see these positive stories. Please keep up the good work.

    Helen Highwater

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