by Alexandra U
My making lemonade story started a long time ago. About 18 years ago to be precise. I was 6 years old. I was on a trip with my 10 year old sister, visiting my grandmother and cousins in New Mexico. I was very young, so I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember all the details of one night. We were hanging out at my grandmother’s house in Socorro, New Mexico, doing things little girls do with their grandmothers. All of a sudden, my aunt and uncle who were from Albuquerque, which is 75 miles away, walked in the door. We were excited to see them, so we didn’t understand why they immediately took grandma into the back room and closed the door. It was quiet for a minute, and then we could hear grandma let a wail, high-pitched and loud. I remember looking at Abby and saying, “Maybe Keisha died”. (Keisha was our dog.) In a 6 year old’s mind, a dog dying is worthy of letting out a wail like that. Abby’s 10 year-old mind knew better.
We were told to pack our bags; we would be going home early. We were not told a reason. Our flight home the next day was a quiet one, just Abby and I. At the airport, my Aunt Robin and Uncle Rod met us and took us home. I remember asking where mom was, and saying that she had promised she would pick us up at the airport. My 6 year old mind might have been a little angry at her for breaking her promise. A 6 year old’s mind does not imagine that something terrible happened. Looking back on it now, I cannot imagine the pain and torture my Aunt Robin went through. Having to drive us 2 hours home, not telling us why, and hearing me talk about how I couldn’t believe Mom wasn’t there to pick us up like she promised. 2 hours of hearing questions and saying nothing. My poor Aunt Robin.
When we got home, there were several cars at my house. I said “Oh, we must be having a 4-H meeting at the house!” Once again, my 6 year-old mind refusing to believe my world was crumbling. As we went inside, the first thing I saw was either my older brother or sister (Can’t remember which.) sitting at the kitchen table with a tear stained face, sobbing. Finally, warning bells started to go off in my 6 year-old mind. The rest is kind of a blur, during which my father sat us down and told us my mother had died in a car accident. To understand what a crushing and hopeless loss this was, you have to understand what a vibrant and extraordinary woman my mother was. There were so many people at her visitation they couldn’t all fit in the funeral home at one time and there was a line out the door and down the street. So many people came to her funeral that her funeral procession from the funeral home to the cemetery stretched the almost 7 or 8 mile distance. Even now, 18 years later, people I have never met tell me they knew my mother and she was an incredible woman. Her love of life and especially her love of the Lord gave her a reputation that has withstood time. She’s what held our family together.
I was so young when she died; she never got to teach me the lessons of life. I floated through life believing in Jesus because I knew she did and that’s how I was raised. When I got to be a teenager, I wished for her more than I ever had before. My father had remarried a year after my mother’s death, so I had a stepmother, but we didn’t really get along. There was a definite separation between her family and mine. Yet still I believed. I knew God was there and I knew my mother was with Him. I clung to that hope that someday I would see her again. That’s how God made lemonade out of my story. The first part of my story, anyway….