or even communicating how I am feeling right now.
A week ago, I was weeping at my mom's bedside,
praying for the Lord to be merciful and take her home.
On August 7, 2011, He did just that.
I am filled with such a mix of emotions right now.
I was ready for her to be free from that state of life,
but now that it's happened, the finality of it all is hitting me.
I think it's because what I really wanted was for her
to not be sick anymore, but to still be with me,
Don't we all?
I don't know anyone that is great at goodbyes,
especially if it might be a long time before you get to see each other again.
I keep having to remind myself that this really happened,
and I am sure I'll have to keep doing that.
There are so many changes to get used to.
Little changes, like saying, "my dad's house"
Big changes like every tradition and special occasion forever being different.
As my dad said, the size of the hole that she left is a testament to her,
but I sit here feeling a little overwhelmed by that hole...
SO GRATEFUL to have such an amazing, loving, encouraging, servant-hearted, fun, Jesus-loving, memory-making mom, and
SO SAD to have to live this life without her in it anymore.
I am not even sure what that's going to look like
and I have had several people tell me not to
expect these feelings to go away anytime soon.
That it will just hit you all of a sudden even years after.
I can definitely see that.
Thank You Jesus, for giving me a mom that truly loved me, that delighted in me and made sure I knew it. Thank You that this is so hard, because it means we had it so good. Thank you for the hope I have in knowing that this isn't the end...that I haven't lost her because I know exactly where she is and will see her again. What a treasure we have in that hope. Thank You for reminding us that we will walk through trials, but You will not let us be overcome by them if we walk through them with You. You are sufficient. You will sustain us. You will even bring joy and new traditions...You make all things new. Thank you for being close to the broken-hearted and for understanding the pain of separation from someone you deeply love. How would I ever go through this life without You? I love you Lord and I ask that you would please fill in the gaping hole as only You can.
People were lined up out of the doors for over 3 hours.
I felt so badly for the people waiting in the heat,
but it spoke volumes about what a special woman she was (is).
On Wednesday we had her service and it was beautiful.
I spent most of my time before the service getting the program together, making the video slide show, and writing my mom's obituary.
They were all hard things to do, emotionally,
but it was also good for me to be busy.
I also needed to get all of the worship section together.
My friend Chris helped me find a singer for Redeemer,
a song by, Nicole C. Mullen, one of my mom's favorites,
the worship leader at my parents church was handling the hymns,
and my uncle Brett was going to sing I will Rise, by Chris Tomlin.
All of the details were done,
but I was still a little nervous about everything going well.
I just wanted it to be perfect for her.
God was so good.
the videos played with out a hitch,
and the message was so glorifying to the Lord.
The only thing that would have made it better, is her sitting with me.
It was a hard day, harder than I even expected.
Seeing my dad be so broken.
-My mom made him a little hankie in her final weeks that read,
"You made all my dreams come true"...
He gripped it through the service.
Also seeing my husband, who was very close with her, also broken.
These are men that rarely even get misty, so that was hard to see.
But amidst all of the events of the day
and the trying to keep it together,
we were so happy with how everything went
and were so blessed to see so many precious friends & family.
I can't tell you how amazing they have all been.
If you are one of them, thank you, thank you, thank you.
How can we ever repay these people
that have so selflessly poured into our lives!?
I'll leave you with two videos from the service:
The first one is of Kennedy singing This Little Light of Mine by Addison Road.
My mom tried to write her grandchildren letters about life, advice, etc... and said she just couldn't find the words. Then she came across this song and asked me to make CD's for all of the grand children. I played it a few times for Kennedy and she memorized just about every word. When my mom got to the point where she couldn't see Kennedy or Adelynn anymore, I made a video of Kennedy singing, so that she could watch it whenever she wanted. After she saw it, she asked me to please play it at the funeral. She wanted people to see "that powerful little light" and hear the words to the song.
This is the video tribute that I made for my mom's funeral:
And for my family that's out of town and didn't get to read it,
this is my mom's obituary:
Victoria Lee (Garton) Hillian
May 9, 1956 –August 7, 2011
55 years of Age
Victoria, or “Vicky,” as most people knew her, was born in Pendleton, Oregon on May 9, 1956, to Kenneth and Diamond (Griggs) Garton. She was a joyful, loving, and imaginative child. She had two brothers, Gary Garton and Brett Garton, and a sister, Debby (Garton) Langston, all of whom she loved dearly. They later moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas where they stayed while she was growing up. After graduating, she moved to Little Rock, Arkansas and finished cosmetology school. In 1975, she married her sweetheart, Russell Hillian. They had a special love that few others know. Soon after, they began their family. They had two daughters, Vanessa (Hillian) Knight and Ashley (Hillian) Keylor. After getting back into church, the realized that even thought they had both grown up going to church, neither of them truly had a relationship with the Lord. The Lord changed their hearts and lives and they were never the same. Vicky was an amazing wife and mother, who knew how to make every moment special. In 1984, they moved to their farmhouse in Rogers, Arkansas. Vicky was constantly setting an example by the way she lived her life. She woke up every morning and spent time with the Lord. She was a servant to all and loved others so fully. She showed her love by her actions and kept Christ at the center of everything she did. Even in the end, she was constantly praising her Savior and talking about His goodness in her life. She was a wonderful grandmother. She would light up at the sight of her grandchildren’s faces and was always ready to play. Vicky was also a loving daughter, sister, and friend. She loved to spend her free time singing, working in the yard, water skiing, riding the motorcycle with Russ, snow skiing, and exercising, and working on one creative project after another. She was one of the hardest workers most people will ever know, and she loved every minute of it. Vicky had a heart of gold and was an absolute joy to be around. She was deeply loved and will be deeply missed by all of her family and friends.
She is survived by her husband, Russ Hillian, of Roger, Arkansas; Her daughters, Vanessa Knight of Pudong, China and Ashley Keylor of Springdale, Arkansas; Her grandchildren Caleb Knight, Luke Knight, Kennedy Keylor, and Adelynn Keylor; Her parents, Kenneth and Diamond Garton; Her siblings Gary Garton, Debby Langston, and Brett Garton. She also leaves behind her beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, and precious friends.
Visitation will be at Rollins Funeral Home located at 1401 Hudson Road Rogers, AR 72756, on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, from 5:00pm-7:00pm. Her service will be at First Baptist of Rogers, located at 3364 W Pleasant Grove Rd, Rogers, Arkansas, on Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at 2:00 pm. Rollins Funeral Home will be handling the funeral arrangements. For more information, you may call them at (479) 631-6617. You may also view pictures and information online at www.rollinsfuneral.com If you would like to honor Vicky’s life with a gift, you may send a donation in her honor to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, a place that has always been close to her heart (1 Children’s Way, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72202-3591).
The Hillian family would like to thank all of the amazing people in their lives for their prayers, support, service to the family, and for their encouragement along this difficult road. We are overwhelmed by your love and kindness. Thank you with all our hearts.
Thank you all so much for bearing with me as I have walked (and written) through this. I hope to have many joyful things to write about soon, but I appreciate you just being where I am at and having a heart for what we've been dealing with. Your encouragement and prayers for my family are so appreciated.