The Meaning of Unconditional Love

The real story about the meaning of unconditional love. Dedicated in loving memory to Edith M Carleton (the photo is of our parents on their wedding day).

Erwin and Edith Carleton
My Parents on their Wedding Day

I’m at a loss for words tonight. My baby sister (Liz) called earlier in tears to tell me our Mother passed away on July 5, 2015. That was five days ago, no one informed us of her passing. Her memorial service was on Thursday, July 9th, 2015.

She heard of her passing from a Secretary that worked at the High School we attended. Not one member of our dysfunctional family reached out to inform us.

Passing of a Brother

Back in June of 2014, our siblings became angry with us for taking our brother off life support (Tired of Being the Strong One). He had fallen and sustained severe brain damage. The doctors at Albany Medical Center told us there was no chance for survival.

After his passing, our siblings arranged and held his memorial service without informing us. They took away our right to attend our brother’s and our mother’s memorial service.

She has every right to be distraught and filled with anger. During our phone conversation, she asked me two questions. I thought to share my response to her questions and to say goodbye to our mother in this blog post.

The First Question

The first question she asked was,

Do you think mom became saved?

I told her,

I don’t know for sure. You did mention that she told you she was sorry for what had happened in the past. I would say yes based on this but, only God knows for sure.

This question comes from a lovely woman (Liz) who “never” had the mother’s love she wanted so desperately her entire life. She being the youngest of nine children has been virtually motherless from the age of seven or eight.

My Sister, Liz and Me, Linda
Visiting my sister, Liz in Saratoga

Liz moved out on her own at the age fifteen or sixteen. She managed an apartment, held a job and went to school. She is the only one in our family who graduated from College not once but, twice.

Her compassion and love for others should be an example to us all.

Love Unconditionally

Liz spent her entire life feeling unloved by our Mother. In her passing, she wanted to know if our Mother became saved. She loved our Mother unconditionally even unto death.

She loved our Mother even though she was not capable of returning her love. My sister continued loving our Mother the same anyway. This is the love of God working in us. To give others love even when they don’t return or deserve our love.

Let us all follow my sister’s lead to love unconditionally. I love you Liz for showing me the beautiful things in life. In a dark and troublesome world, you always cling to the good. You are a bright light shining in the darkness.

Keep shining love!

The Second Question

The second question she asked was,

How do you feel about this?

Ouch! I don’t like deep feelings.

I have mastered the art of avoiding deep feelings for a long time. To acknowledge those feelings means to grieve, and we don’t get along well together.

I think!

I stayed up for hours last night thinking about this question. Here is my response;

I think our mother was like the rest of us. She was born into sin, failed at times and was successful at times. Mom raised us up to the best of her ability, and she let us down too. Our mother was human and in need of God’s saving grace.

I believe mom found God’s grace before she died.

For years, I was at odds and angry at our mother. She pushed her duties off on me. Forsaken me when I needed her to help the most. I was mad at her for not helping me with my children. I would have been able to keep them if only she had helped me.

Taking hurt personally, I acted angrily for a long time. I took the abuse we endured personal and built up hatred in my heart for our mother. I didn’t continue to love her anyway.

As the years passed, I forgave our mother. I went to visit her when my son was twelve years old. I didn’t find her back then. We were never close and never will be.

It took years to learn our mother was abused as a child too. She endured a painful life of turmoil and trials also. I believe our mother dealt with the pain and anguish of her past in her way. I think our mother was a sinner (like us all) who found God’s saving grace.

The Meaning of Unconditional Love

My sister has shown the world (in this post) what it means to love unconditionally.

Liz – don’t ever lose that compassion and love for others God has placed in your precious heart. Don’t let this dark and sinful world, seal your joyful spirit and the love you share.

Stay close to God and remain in his word. Live authentically in Christ and love with compassion always. Do this in honor of our mother who you loved so dearly.

God has broken the chains of sin and bondage that plagued our family for years. Continue to go forward and lean on the rock Jesus Christ when you are feeling low in spirit, and he will lift you up.

Do this in loving memory of our mother. Then God will say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant” to you one day. Then we who choose to believe in Jesus will rejoice in heaven one day. We will be together in love always.

In loving memory of Edith M Carleton who passed away on July 5th, 2015. I know in my heart that you did your best and now God has laid you to rest. I Love You Mom, Love Linda

Obituary of  Edith M Carleton (I don’t live in Johnstown – I live in Middleburgh, NY)