......now back to that email.......It blessed me beyond words. Not only did Shirley encourage and remind me of the rewards of mothering.....but she also opened her heart and shared a story about her daughter Missy. I was so moved by her story that I asked her if she would mind doing a guest post for my friends.
So without further adieu.....
~by Shirley Jones
Toward the end of the summer of 2007, our daughters, Missy and Karri, hopped into the car, mostly on a whim, and took off for a week's vacation in Florida. I have jokingly called the trip their Thelma and Louise moment, and I am so happy they had that bit of time together and for the memories they made. I am an only child, so I don't understand the bond of a sister, but they were both sisters and best friends.
However, I was not happy that they both came back with souvenir tattoos. I was livid and hurt and disappointed, and I had actually decided that I would show them how hurt and angry and disappointed I was by pulling back from them...by withholding my love from them in an old fashioned pouty fit.
I am constantly amazed at God's mercy and how He can intervene when we're about to do something irreversibly stupid. After I found out about the tattoos, I called a friend to cry on her shoulder and to vent. I don't know what it was, but there was something about that conversation that God used to stop me from doing something I would have regretted the rest of my life. By the time I hung up, I had decided I was being silly and that I was just going to let it go...and I did. I realized that they were both still my beautiful daughters and that I loved them no matter what and that tattoos are just ink and certainly not worth destroying a relationship over.
Thank You, God! Thank You!
Four months later, Missy was killed in an automobile accident.
How dear the cost my anger would have been had I withdrawn from her! How could I ever have lived with myself...with the remorse! I believe with all my heart it would have driven me insane because I could never have gotten that time back! Never! But God intervened and saved me. My last months with Missy were wonderful instead of being spent in near estrangement from her.
Still, after Missy's death, I struggled with how angry I had been. It was my last point of anger with her. I could not forgive myself! It haunted me during long, sleepless nights. And then one day I made a decision--I was going to get a tattoo. Call it penance...call it a peace offering... I felt it was my best I could offer to Missy and to Karri and to myself. Eight months later, I sat in a tattoo parlor, at the age of 61, with Karri, Don, a friend, and perhaps Missy, there by my side lending me love and moral support. When the tat was finished, tears, cheers, and hugs filled the room. I was at peace...
The tattoo is a constant reminder to me of anger's cost. That who people are has nothing to do with ink on their skin. That we have to live so we can live. And that we cannot foolishly assume we have the promise that our loved ones will be here tomorrow! Every moment with them is a sacred gift from God to be treasured!
Today is the second anniversary of Missy going Home to Heaven.....won't you please take a moment and say a prayer for Shirley and her family. May they feel God wrapping His loving arms around them.....May they feel a supernatural peace over them knowing that Missy is at the feet of Our Savior, happy and whole.
Thank you Shirley for sharing Missy with us.....and may you all hug your loved ones a little extra tighter today.
Peace and love~