Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mom's Fourteener

“Be strong and very courageous…”- Deut. 31:6 I know Mother's day isn’t until May, but I want to take this time to honor my Mom. Jeanie and I just spent the week with her and discovered again that she’s an amazing lady. My mom, Mildred Rabun Staples, is 86 years old and lives by herself in Fort Worth, Texas, where she’s lived for over 40 years. My dad passed away in 1988 and she’s been on her own ever since. Though my brothers and I do the best we can to care for her, she’s left to handle a lot of life on her own. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and the height of the mountain is all relative to our ability to climb. My mom will probably never climb Mt. Everest, but she has climbed some pretty steep fourteen thousand foot mountains over the years. A few weeks ago, Jeanie and I made a quick trip down to Dallas to have dinner with our son’s fiancée’s parents. We stayed with my mom in Fort Worth. I had casually asked my mom if she would like to drive back to Branson with us and she said “yes.” She hasn’t left Fort Worth in years. She doesn’t walk very well and uses a cane, so making the trip and the flight back to Fort Worth was a big deal. But she decided to brave the journey. She made the long drive to our home with us. She spent the week in Branson, climbing the stairs of our split-level house and then we flew back to Fort Worth. She persevered and climbed a 14er. Last Spring, she lost her son Pelham after battling cancer for over 10 years. She did the best she could to care for him when he was in Colorado. She called him often and even made the trip up there several times to care for him. When his cancer worsened a few years ago, he moved to Fort Worth and bought a house there. She called him nearly every day, fixed him meals at her house and when he wasn’t able to be by himself, she housed him and finally, visited him often at the hospital. When he passed away, she painfully said her goodbye. Every mother struggles outliving any of her children, but she accepted God’s plan, moved on and climbed another 14er. Twenty-five years ago, her precious husband and my dad, Pelham Sr., passed away suddenly of a heart attack. Her world (and ours) would never be the same. He had handled all the emotional and financial issues of the family. Literally, in a heartbeat, the load fell on my mom. Several family friends and certainly my brothers and I all jumped in to help bear her load. But at the end of the day, she had to face the future without her dear husband and provider. And she faced it well. She learned to handle the finances and settled in to being on her own. She survived and climbed yet another 14er. Yes, my mom is an amazing lady. And I pray she continues to rely on God’s strength as she faces the future. Her health is good and she has a family who loves her dearly. But she continues to choose to live on her own in our home in Fort Worth. I’m sure other mountains await her in the future, but she’s in the care of an awesome God who will be her strength in the climbing… …and will provide a hero’s wreath at the summit. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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