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Here One Minute, Gone The Next
There are two women in my life whom I love beyond my ability to describe—my mother and my daughter. One is nearing the end of her life, and the other is moving out to begin living hers. And here I am, stuck in the middle with swirling emotions and a heavy heart. How did things get to this point so quickly?

May 2013

There are two women in my life whom I love beyond my ability to describe…my mother Joan and my daughter Hannah. One is seventy-eight and the other is seventeen. One is nearing the end of her life and the other is just beginning hers. One is preparing to enter her heavenly home, and the other can’t seem to move out of her family home soon enough.

Two women—facing entirely different journeys. And here I am stuck in the middle, looking at each one and realizing that changes are coming—changes that I do not want to think about but will have to face nevertheless.

Since I am no longer married (and haven't been for the past four years), my mother and daughter have naturally become the most important women in my life. As each one is preparing to move on, I selfishly don’t want them to. I don’t like to think about how they will soon venture away and leave me behind. And for the first time it feels like I am losing them both.

On one hand, I am happy for them both. They will experience a freedom and newness that will be truly liberating. On the other hand, I don't quite know how I will deal with the void they will leave behind.

I can't help but smile and acknowledge the gratefulness I feel in my heart to God for all of the years and memories we have shared together.

I am a son as well as a father and both sides of my heart are beginning to ache. How does one prepare for these inevitable milestones? How do I let go of my mother and daughter—at approximately the same time? To release just one is hard enough. But both? I would pay big bucks right now for the ability to carbon freeze each one of them.

Oh, I’m sure both mom and Hannah will be fine upon arrival. One will have a company of saints by her side, and the other will be ecstatic to have anyone by her side other than her two younger brothers.

Despite the challenges of raising a teenage girl, Hannah is my firstborn child and I honestly wouldn’t mind keeping the girl around a little while longer. I mean, she was just born yesterday, wasn’t she? She’s still my little girl, isn’t she? She doesn’t even begin her freshman year of college until August, and I already miss her.

Now I don’t want to be controlling or greedy, so I’ll eventually let her go, maybe when she’s thirty years old…okay, forty for sure. I promise. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

On the other side of the time pendulum, I’d also love to keep my mother around a lot longer. But I am helpless in that scenario as well. Unless God moves in a miraculous way, the cancer that has returned throughout her body will continue to wage war on her frail frame. To her credit, she is fighting, praying, and doing all she can to get through each day. In fact, when my siblings and I visit, I admire her strength and courage even more. She is a resilient, amazing woman.

During the last few weeks my mother’s conditioned has taken a turn for the worse. She is now receiving excellent, around-the-clock care from highly-trained care providers. We are at a point where the doctors cannot do anything more except manage her pain through medication as we strive to make her as comfortable as possible.

In the meantime, we are praying and believing for God to move. But we are also trying to be wise by taking steps to help mom prepare for her homegoing.

Even though it’s been very difficult to observe the pain and suffering that cancer has brought to mom’s physical body, all of the time we have spent helping, visiting, sleeping over, and caring for her during the past several months have turned out to be a tremendous blessing for all of us. All of these preparatory discussions have provided my siblings and I with a number of precious, happy, and memorable times and conversations with mom.

The past several months have been tough, but they have also been beautiful. And while I do not know what tomorrow will bring, I am simply following my mother’s lead by striving to face the changes ahead with hope, strength, and grace.

May 12, 2013 is Mother’s Day, and by all accounts, this will likely be the last one I will get to spend with my mom. On that day you can be assured that mom will be reminded once again that she is loved and appreciated more than anything. But for the last few months, she’s been hearing that every day…and that’s the way it should be. ?

Her children rise up and call her blessed.
(Prov. 31:28 NKJV)

Hannah may be my little girl today, but she will be somebody’s wife and mother tomorrow. And the beautiful circle of life will continue no matter how much I try to slow it down. All I can do is thank God for her and tell her that she is loved every day. Unfortunately, I can’t stop her desire to grow up, but I can do my best to prepare her for when she eventually steps out of the nest and begins to live her own life.

Behold, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.
(Psalm 127:3-5 KJV)

Whether it’s Mother’s Day, your daughter’s graduation, or any other special occasion—our love and affection for our family and friends should not be reserved for just one day a year. We need to love them and tell them daily. We should never take them for granted.

If the past several months have taught me anything, it’s that time moves faster than anything. People can be here one day, and gone the next and that things can change in the blink of an eye. That there is a time for everything (Eccl. 3:1) and that we should cherish every moment we have with family and friends. Our days, months, and years with them are precious blessings from God that should never be taken for granted.

You may have already gone through this chapter of life. Perhaps you have already lost a parent or watched your child leave the nest and fly away to college—it’s both incredibly wonderful and heart-wrenching at the same time. If so, I would love to hear your input or advice on how you handled those situations…because if I could have my way, my mother and daughter wouldn’t be going anywhere.

I have posted this Partner Letter article on cfaith’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and I hope you will visit those websites and share your own story. Your comments and feedback will not only be a blessing to me, but also to all of the other cfaith members and website guests who are struggling with a similar challenge. Thank you in advance for sharing your experience with others.

Cherish the moments because changes are coming.

Speaking of not taking anything for granted, let me say once more how much you are appreciated.

Whether you have a cfaith email account or a free membership to our content website, your participation and support of cfaith is helping us share the faith-building principles of faith in God's Word with thousands of individuals every day. It is our prayer that the ministry resources available at will continue to be a blessing to you and your family.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a couple of bear hugs to give to two very special women. ??


jeff litfin signature 3

Jeff Litfin

Jeff's mother Joan passed into glory at approximately 8:30 p.m. Monday night, May 13, 2013...only four days after this article was completed and published. On Sunday, May 12, the Litfin family enjoyed one final Mother's Day with Joan, something they will remember and cherish forever.

Author Biography

Jeff Litfin
Web site: Generations Legal Services
As a Certified Estate Planner, Jeff works side by side with our attorney partners to provide each client with professional and comprehensive solutions. As our face to the client, Jeff utilizes his 30 years of public speaking, corporate communications, and business management experience to make the estate project process seamless. Jeff conducts GLS estate planning workshops and takes the lead role in client engagement. Clients appreciate Jeff's ability to take complex legal topics and explain them in an easy-to-understand manner. No one helps families and individuals navigate the Bermuda Triangle of estate planning (legal, finance, and tax) better than Jeff. In addition to his CEP certification, Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from North Central University and a Minnesota Life, Accident, and Health Insurance license.

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