My mother went to be with the Lord on March 12, 2007, fourteen years ago today. It’s hard to believe that I haven’t seen my mother in fourteen years. I take comfort in knowing that I will see her again one day when I cross over to the other side. In fact those were my last words to her when she was dying. I told her… “we will see each other again”. How wonderful is that!
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
I wanted to share a little bit about her life for posterity. Who knows, maybe this post will find it’s way to someone in my family one day down the road.
My grandparents immigrated from Italy to America. Jennie, my mother, was born here in the U.S, in New York, in 1917. The story goes (as best as I can remember) that when she was a very young child she and her brother were playing by an open window and she fell out (he pushed her out?). By God’s grace a clothes line broke her fall, and landing on some grass she survived. Shortly after that incident her family went back to Italy. I’m not sure why they did that. It may have had something to do with her fall, but I’m not sure.
My mother returned to the U.S. when she was in her early 20’s. The world was at the brink of World War II at the time. Her father borrowed money and bought her a ticket to travel on a ship named the Rex. My mother had a friend who was going to America too, but her voyage was to be on a later ship. She wanted my mother to wait so they could travel together. My grandfather wisely urged my mother not to wait. He felt a sense of urgency that there should be no delay in her travel plans. My mother left Formia, her hometown, without her friend and travelled alone. It turned out that her friend never made it to America. Travel between the two countries ceased because of World War II. If my mother had waited she would have been in Italy for the duration of the war. Instead she spent those years with my father’s relatives here in the U.S. It was a difficult time for a young bride like my mother.
“Formia was severely damaged during World War II by the bombing of the allied forces.”
My mother only returned to Italy once for a visit, many many years later. She never wanted to go back. She had grown up in poverty and known suffering at an early age. There was no running water in the house she lived in with her parents and siblings, and often there was not enough food. She told me stories of going to draw water as a young girl, and bringing it home in a jug that she carried on her head.
My mother married my father before she left for America on the Rex. My father was supposed to follow her here within six months. Because of World War II my father’s trip was delayed for nine years, yes nine years, and for those nine years he wasn’t able to contact her, and she didn’t know if he was dead or alive. Then one day she had a dream, and in the dream a little bird was on her windowsill, and in his beak was an envelope. Shortly thereafter she received a letter from my father. And eventually after the war they were reunited.
But the most important journey of my mother’s life was her journey to the Lord! How wonderful is that! She was born again before she left this earth! You can read more about my mother’s life and her journey to the Lord here…
A couple of years ago I attended a funeral service. The preacher told the people that whatever their relationship was with the deceased person, that is what it would be forever. Whatever was said was said, and whatever was unsaid would forever remain unsaid. He poignantly went on to say “what is written, is written.” Truly memorable words. On March 12, 2007 my mother went to be with the Lord. The day before she died I stood by her bedside, hoping she could hear me, and said goodbye. I told her that she was the best mother in the world and that one day we would see each other again. I thought it might be the last time I would see her alive, and it was. What is written is written, what was said was said, and by God’s grace I have no regrets.