Ten years ago on April 9th 1998, my life and the life of my family was forever altered. My mom, Joan Brantly Morris, went to be with the Lord. I remember knowing it was going to happen, perhaps not that day, but soon. We were waiting. I had no idea how that event would effect me, shape me, change my life. When my dad told me that she had died, I remember feeling stunned that it had finally happened. Initially, and over the years, the permanance of dead has been something that I have raged against. No matter how sad or angry I get, I can't get her back. Not even for a moment. Just a moment. What would I say? I love you. Your life and death has taught me more about joy, sorrow, Jesus than perhaps anything. Thank you for clearly knowing that God would care for me in ways that you could have never imagined.
Ten years later, it seems so much shorter and so much longer than ten years. She has now been gone for almost a third of my life. She has missed the joy of celebrating so much of God's work in my life and his good gifts. And that loss is nothing to her now for she has gained paradise. What is paradise? A perfect place, heaven. It is beauty untold. What wonderous joy she must have? I am sure that when she arrived, she worshiped, she danced, she sang, she ran...
On the day of her death, I lament. I cry. I miss her. Sometimes I am angry. I am very sorry for the hole that death leaves, but the story does not end there. On her birthday, I celebrate her. I think of heaven. I pass on her legacy to my children by telling them of the beauty of her life and her death. This year marks 10 years since her death and in June it would be her 60th birthday. For her birthday, I always celebrate. We make a cake and we do something that she would have liked. It has taken many forms over the years. This year, I believe that the celebration would be big because she would be 60. So, I am going to, in a sense, throw a big party in celebration of her life and her legacy. You are invited! We are going to walk. We are going to run. We are going to donate. And we are going to eat cake! Paradise has been gained for my mom and I want to rejoice.
I am officially kicking off the celebration. I am forming a team named "Paradise Gained" to walk, run or donate money to the St. Louis Race for the Cure. The race day in June 21st. I am hoping to get 60 people on my team to celebrate my mom's birthday. I would love for you to join me. If you want to participate, but don't live locally or don't want to walk, you can join the team and make a donation. To register go to www.komenstlouis.org. (Use the link on the left hand side bar.) Click on Race registration. Sign up under teams-Paradise Gained. Please leave a comment on my blog to let me know you are joining the team and how many people. We hope to have people over to our house after the race for cake.
Rejoice with me for Paradise has been gained!