A letter to my Mom after 10 years. Losing my mom (part 4)

Wedding Day, 2-14-97

On this day, June 11th, 2006, we lost a beautiful woman! She was a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandma, and an extravagant lover of Jesus! I have been blogging for a couple months now leading up to this anniversary and now here we are! Ten years!

Mom, Brian, and me! 1980

Dear Mom,

I miss you! We miss you! Days go by now where I don’t feel it as intensely but I know in my heart I never forget. I remember when I cook or when I go to make a call! I remember when I look at my son and anticipate the next one in four weeks. Have you seen David’s blue eyes? Can you believe how cute and smart he is? I bet you can! I wish you were here to squeeze him and tell him stories and take him on adventures! He is such a gift and has such an incredible view of the world! Reminds me of you sometimes. You had this way of looking at things! Always trying to put yourself in other people’s shoes! Remember that sign on the wall? That Indian Proverb that said “You don’t know a man until you have lived a day in his moccasins.” You lived that more than anyone else I have ever met! Always believing the best about others! Stephen is a lot like that too though. You would love him and I know you probably already do! He is incredibly kind and servant-hearted, which an incredible joy about so many things! You both get very serious about things of justice and take them very personally. Its so fun to see similarities in you both and yet you have never met! We can’t wait to meet our new baby boy, he will probably come out smiling, I wish you could snuggle him and pray over him and sing over him. But, we will make sure he gets a much love as we can give regardless!

High school graduation 1998!

We made chocolate chip pancakes this morning! David “helped” me make them and they reminded me of you and I tried to make them in mass so I would have a ton in the freezer for snacks later but somehow I think I only have like 8 left over! Made me realize how many pancakes you would flip in one morning so we could have so many extras! And you would have the waffle iron going at the same time! Super woman! Wish I could remember exactly how you made your home-made spaghetti sauce, I am sure its a not a big deal but not sure if I could ever get it “just” right! Or remember the potato cakes you would make from left over mashed potatoes! And I remember when we were younger in the house by the rail road tracks you would make pan-fried chicken and gravy with mashed potatoes and corn! Oh wow was that yummy! Brian and I would make sandwiches with the bread from the leftovers! We would stuff ourselves so full on fried chicken day! I feel like I am finally finding my cooking grove over here but would have loved to have had you on speed dial when I was trying to figure it all out!

Mom with her daycare kids at the fire station!

Ten years?! I can barely believe it’s been ten years. Jason said “Its so long they even have a special name for it, a decade!” That made it even more real. Wow. And Mandy said that the “void of silence” from you after ten years, who could ever fill that silence for you? And what an example of spirit you were! I totally agree, what kind of woman would I be even if I hadn’t had you as my momma?! I am a blessed woman! I know that void has been felt by more than just me. It has been a void of your presence, your love, your laugh, your hugs, your voice, your prayers, and so many other things. What an incredible void its been! I just wanted you to know that I stopped today! I stopped and I missed you and I ate your pancakes and I thought of all the things I wanted to tell you that this letter doesn’t even begin to touch on. Ten years is a lot to catch up on! Mom, I came to the house of prayer just like you hoped, I sang and sang and sang, I got my loans paid off, I got my teeth fixed, and I made a CD! (Which I still need to release).

Mom & me in 1981!

Mom, I got married! I married this amazing man who doesn’t expect me to be perfect and loves me everyday regardless of how clean the house is! And I have this incredible little person named David that fills my day and keeps growing so fast and you would just be in love with him! He is just incredible!! And now I am about to have another baby and you still aren’t here and I understand that in reality but in my heart I still wish you were! I still just “want my mom!” I know its not possible but its just what comes natural when I think of what my perfect “birth story” would be. Having these babies without you is just not the same but we find our way anyways!

Thanksgiving 2003! The first time our whole family (Lillich clan) were all together with mom! She was so excited! 

Thank you!! Thank you for being the mom who poured herself out day after day without a regard to who saw and how acknowledged you were! You worked really hard and I know that now! Thank you for dealing with all of my emotions and loving me regardless! Thank you for cheering me on  and embarrassing me in the grocery store line so you could tell someone how awesome of a singer I was. Even though it drove me crazy at the time. Thank you for always being you even when people didn’t understand or didn’t treat you nicely! You set the bar high in being yourself and not bending even when it wasn’t popular. Thank you for loving me, listening to my stories, calling me in all those countries, and praying for me even when you needed prayer! Thank you for always pursuing Jesus and journaling all of your struggles and prayers and tears and loving Him even when you didn’t know the end of the story!
Connie Sue you have left a mark on me and so many others! Because of you I will never be the same! I love you so much! I miss you today and every day and I CAN’T wait to see you again! My heart is filled with joy just thinking about it!
See you in my dreams!
Love you,
Your baby girl!

Mom and me 1980
Mom and me 2006
Mom and her six brothers and sisters and her mom Doris in 2005 for Grandma’s 85th bday!
Other blogs in the series “Losing my mom:”
Part 1: Losing my mom

Life as we knew it. Losing my mom (part 3)

Formal picture taken on the cruise April 2006

Death is so permanent. There is nothing quite like it, especially what it does to your life afterwards. My mom was the center of a universe of family and prayers and provision and love. Without her life as we knew it would never ever be the same. I woke up the second day after she died in her house which was technically full of people but it was empty and without her in so many ways we were lost at least for a while. It was her house, her decorations, her worship cds, her kitchen packed with food for the masses, and her Bible all marked up with highlighters. The house was void of her laugh, that incredible laugh she had, I hear it sometimes! It comes out of my own mouth and even my husband has grown to recognize the Connie laugh even though technically he has never met my mom. She is hard to miss! I especially hear her when I am talking to my little boy! This familiarity used to grate me as a teenager, “I am not like my mom!” We fight those similarities until you lose the person you have them with; after that you cling to them!

Last picture taken of my mom and me!

Life as I knew it was full of my mom’s friendship and her prayers! I had been overseas for over two years and my mom had become my closest friend. She would call, listen, pray, and cry with me about everything that had been going on in Australia and the countries I traveled to. And when I got home she gave me my step-dad’s cell phone so I could call her whenever I wanted although I think during that three months before the accident! What a gift! We talked and talked and talked when we weren’t together which was such a gift because I never had a cell phone during college or my time overseas so our calls were always limited to my location and a phone card! But as always my mom was the center of that as well, she pursued me and helped me be able to talk to others back home too. Come to think of it mom was the center all growing up too. She was always there, you could always count on her to bring you forgotten homework even if she had to load up all of the daycare kids to bring it to school for you. Some parents wouldn’t have done that but mom did. She always cooked, baked, sang, went to church, brought you to church unless you were puking! She was always herself! If that was happy or sad or frustrated or worn out! She was so consistently Connie! I am sure she struggled with embracing herself on the inside but from our view she was Connie and that was that!

Easter 2006 with the most but not all of the Lillich family!
Grandma and her grand-daughter Haley

And on June 11th, 2006 all of that changed forever, well at least for us, it was permanent. There was nothing we could do and it tore me apart from the inside out. How could you have a whirlwind of love and depth around you like that and then in a moment completely gone? How do you grasp the intensity of that? She was love, she was comfort, she was servant hearted, she was a fighter, she was my prayer covering, she was wisdom, she was patient, and she was a companion! These past ten years have been a force of grief to be reckoned with! Of course in the beginning it was daily and now its more so holidays, important days, and when I let myself think of what an amazing grandma she would be. One thing that has not changed is the fifth that she gave to me as a little girl who would get scared in the middle of the night. My mom was a heavy heavy sleeper so this was not the best time to try and get her attention. But she was faithful to teach me how to pray, specifically how to talk to Jesus and tell him how I was feeling. That is the part of “life as I know it” that has never changed! She gave me a legacy to pass to my babies and for them to pass to there’s! She might have taught me out of desperation (of a tired mommy) for me to go to sleep but I know deep down it was how she was living out her faith and she passed on to me the keys to life!

I still haven’t gotten those pictures out of the suit case yet. I meant to do it before my next baby comes. Now I have less than 6 weeks lol! Its funny how ten years could pass and I am still procrastinating grief! I think it makes me normal. I remember singing a duet with my mom once. We sang “As the Deer” at a woman’s meeting (I think). It blessed her so much that I would sing “with” her! I sang “Call on Jesus” by Nicole C. Mullen at her funeral.  I wasn’t going to sing at first and I had even told my family no about it. But I was getting ready a couple mornings before the service and heard that song and felt God telling me that I needed to sing it. I am not sure if anyone remembers the day of the funeral but I know that I have never sang like that before or since. It was so powerful and so meaningful and afterwards I invited people to give their lives to Jesus. I knew I had to! That is why she lived! She lived for Him! And now she is continuing to live for Him! Its the only thing that continues! The only part that is permanent in a different way than death. And it wasn’t in vain because I know some of the people who surrendered that day and their lives have never been the same! I blame mom! She prayed and prayed and prayed and of course its at her funeral that gave their lives! Such a beautiful picture of a seed falling to the ground. That would have meant more to her than anything I could have said or done at her funeral! And I know she was so proud of her “baby girl” singing on a stage on a day like that day! Especially when she knew that singing was going to be the hardest thing that I could decide to do that day or any day after! She was cheering for us then and she is cheering for us now! And through it all she is singing of how good God is! No matter what! And I agree!

Mom with just born Dreghton
VBS in Atwood 2006
Mom, Marlin, & Dreghton just hours old


To God be the glory, great things he has done;

so loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the lifegate that we may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord; let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord; let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory; great things he has done.

Other blogs in the series “Losing my mom:”
Part 1: Losing my mom