|photo by Jean Ann Williams~Joshua's LeahNora curled between the firewood|
“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”
New Year’s Day came with a biting chill, and I turned up the heat.
My groggy mind right then remembered what I had decided: I would still celebrate. In keeping with Joshua’s and my tradition: hard salami slices and cheese with fancy crackers and olives—his very favorite—and sparkling apple cider. I didn’t need to buy two bottles. One would do for my husband and me.
I prayed throughout the day, as was my habit now. Prayed more on the first year of holidays. I cried. I sang. I talked about my son to God. “I miss him, Lord. I’ll never stop missing him. He wasn’t just my son but also my friend.”
Around eight o’clock, I set up the snacks and watched a movie with my husband. We snuggled next to the fire and tried to forget. Once more, again, now we were two.
Dear God, another celebration behind us. We don’t understand why Joshua is gone. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen.
A Mother’s Memories
“Mom.” Twenty-one-year-old Joshua called me into his room. “Look what I found.”
He had just returned from a night at a beachfront motel. Having reserved the motel months in advance at a lower cost, he rented it out at a higher price for others to celebrate the 2000New Year. The three college girls that Joshua had rented it to had called early evening on New Year’s Eve. They’d had a change of plans and would not need the room. Joshua decided to stay the night in his already-paid-for room and watch the fireworks on the beach.
Now, I entered his bedroom. “What did you find?”
He reached into his duffle and with a grin said, “It’s fate,” and pulled out a gray-and-white cat.
I gasped. “You can’t bring that cat in here. You know I’m allergic.”
He gave me a soft smile and cradled the young cat to his chest. “Oh, I know, but she’ll be an outside cat. I won’t even have to buy her food, because she’ll be a mouser.” His brows did a dance to entice me with his next words. “Don’t you want her to kill the mice?”
I cocked my head to one side. “She is pretty, but now take her outside.”
His face fell. “I can’t do that. She’s got to get use to me or she’ll run away.”
My back stiffened. “She can’t stay in the house, Josh.”
His hand slid down the cat’s back in a back-and-forth rub. “She’ll stay in my room. Just for a few days.”
I threw up my hands and walked away. Over my shoulder I said, “Keep your door shut.”
Joshua raised his voice, “You won’t regret it, Mom. She’ll get rid of all the mice for you.”
It took Joshua two years to name the cat. He said, “It has to be a really special name.”
Finally he came up with LiahNora. His insistence that the cat have a special name, and that Joshua spelled it so odd, had always bothered me. Six years after Joshua got LiahNora, it hit me. With Joshua so proud of his Irish heritage—I’d figured it out. He named the cat LiahNora in code for Hail Aron, which meant hail Ireland.
Thank You, Father, for the comfort of LiahNora, who lived eight more years after Joshua died. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen.
~Your Mother Memories~
~Your Prayer of Praise~
~A Scripture of Encouragement~