Three years and one year later… updates on my life

A few years ago, I began writing a letter to my mom around the date when she died.  What is interesting is that some “unpleasant” things have happened about my birthday which is August 9.  My mom died 5 days prior to my birthday, August 4, 2007 and was buried on my my birthday.  My dad passed away on August 14 (5 days after my birthday) and my engagement began unraveling the day after my birthday last year.  Maybe I should go into hiding around the date of my birthday. (just kidding)

So, here is my letter to my mom on things God has shown and hopefully I have learned and listened to Him..

Dear Mom,

How could it be 3 years already?!  I remember the call I received from Jan about your condition and I really couldn’t believe that you could have cancer in both lungs and given less than 3 months to live.  I had just returned to the field 2 months prior and lived in denial for a few days.

Thankfully, my colleague, Don C, really encouraged me to return to see you.  I thank God I listened and that I was able to see you before you died.  It was a joyful homegoing.  I know you didn’t want to leave us, but Jesus was waiting to receive you in Heaven.  It was tough to let you go.

The first year went some whatwell, but by the second year I was in love and engaged by my birthday in 2009.  I had already begun to dream some things I was beginning to think were impossible due to me getting older.  I was saddened that you weren’t here to see the happiness and joy that filled my heart.

Something happened the day after my birthday and things went down hill after that.  I truly feel I did everything within my power to save the relationship.  I realize that culture, misunderstanding and other things interfered with our relationship.  The hurt and pain I endured for months is not anything I would wish upon anyone.  I do not lay the blame at just one person.  There was just too much going on and by the time somethings happened, the writing was on the wall.

The break up came and I so missed talking with you.  So, I relied upon Uncle Allan so much during this time, along with a couple of colleagues who were so incredibly supportive.  I am so appreciative that I work with a mission org that helped me greatly.

I miss calling you the most.  I know that I didn’t talk much.  You wanted to talk and tell me old stories of people I didn’t even know, so I would listen to you.  Sometimes I would get a little agitated about you retelling me stories that I had already heard a hundred times before, yet, you told the stories anyway.

I guess you taught me how to listen and I even preached about your ability this past Sunday. Also I mentioned about your love for all people and your willingness to give the kids in the neighborhood your last food knowing they had even less than you.

It was so hard to see you that last day, struggling for every breathe, in pain, hurting… I thank God I was there to be with you, but it reminded me so much of the last day dad was alive.  Both of you died in such similar ways.  When you took your last breath, it was if the life had been sucked out of me…

So, with life, times change, lives change and I am back in Ukraine.  It is familiar place for me.  Not sure what God is planning, but I am trusting.

I’m sorry I never called you enough or told you often enough how much I love you and how much I miss you.  You and dad instilled some great qualities in me.  I pray I will be able to live up to the Ragan name.  Thank you for all you did for me and what you continue to  do in my live, even through your death.

I love you mom and really, really miss you…

Sometimes it is very difficult to be open and transparent.  But, these words are from my heart.  Even as I type these words, my eyes are filling with tears thinking about the past year.  It is interesting that when I became engaged, I shouted it from the highest mountain (that being Facebook!) and then when it was over 6 weeks later, I no longer wanted to shout, but made a whimper.  I must say that several colleagues and my family have been incredibly supportive of me and I thank God for their wisdom and love.  Being a part of a larger “family of God” has made the past year bearable.  To God be the Glory!

14 thoughts on “Three years and one year later… updates on my life

  1. Joe, What a beautiful letter and tribute to your Mother! I’m sorry you had experienced a breakup of an engagement. Take care!

  2. What a beautiful and healthy way to remember and honor your mother… I know she would be very proud of you!

  3. ME, thank you. Sometimes we don’t know how great someone is until they aren’t around any longer. Hope to see you soon.

  4. I am sorry for all of your losses, and I miss my parents too. But I hang on to the hope that we have in Jesus and a joyous reunion some day in heaven with Jesus and all of those that we have loved and have loved us. Of all of the songs of our faith, I relate most to the song, “One Day At a Time.”
    It is good that you write of your feelings and are willing to share.

  5. My Father died when I was 14 and I only had my Mom around for the next 40 years. I understand how hard it is to watch your Mom suffer and die. My Mom had several strokes, dying by inches, before she finally died. But like you, I was there with her thru it all and am so grateful to God for His mercy and grace. The best part of it all is that she accepted Jesus into her heart and died a Christian and will be in heaven when I get there….Praise God. I still ‘hear’ her telling me things, giving me good advice, and remember her love thru all that time even tho it has been 15 years. Thank you for including me on your email list. I truly enjoy your blog and webpage.

  6. Joe, These are beautiful tributes to your Mom and the Love for God she exhibited in her life. It is a wonderful testimony to the life she lived and the legacy she left for you and your sisters. You are blessed to have had her. My Dad died at 87 and my Mother died just 6 weeks short of 101 years. Both were wonderful Christians and left me a legacy I can only hope I will be able to approach with my life. May God continue to bless you abundantly in all you do. We Love you and pray for you daily.
    Smoky and Inez

  7. Loys, sorry you cried… moms are such a blessing!
    Carol, thanks for stopping by and writing. I appreciate your words.
    Jan, sweet memories are such a blessing from God.
    Inez, you know how much I love you and Smoky. You have been incredibly supportive of me. Thank you for your words and it is true for me as well…Thanks for being a blessing.

  8. Interesting that you can find so many things that happened in one month. Now you know which one to avoid, but then you could also miss blessings. You were there for your mom and to express your love for her.
    Perhaps the most traumatic day of my life, when I needed to be in two places at once, was August 2006. And my August birthday is always a time for reflection.
    I began to think about months, and there are a few that seem to be better than others. But through the years, I can find something sad or something happy about each one.

  9. I’m new at this, Joe, but wanted you to know I’ve missed seeing you and talking with you. Have much I would like to share == at another time.

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