Thoughts About My Mother and Pierced Ears

Ears blog 2



It’s been two weeks since my mother died. In some ways it seems like yesterday and at other times – a lifetime ago. My brother told me he’s having a really hard time shaking images from his mind of her final days. The mental pictures are indelibly haunting to him.

There are certain images that linger for me also. They randomly surface like freeze-framed photos in my head. As strange at it might seem – today I couldn’t get her earlobes out of my mind.

I guess it makes sense since I spent a tremendous amount of time perched close to her face during that final week. I whispered words of encouragement into those ears as I washed perspiration from her clammy brow.

I recall one moment my mind took a snapshot of her ears as my eyes landed on them. Thoughts flooded and tears flowed while I stared at her.

Her ears had been pierced since childhood but were now void of gold or any other adornment. The discriminating earlobes that once only tolerated pure gold were now noticeably closed shut, leaving marks of surrender. The entrance blocked by scar tissue was evidence of her submission to the rules where she lived.

Several times during the last three years I bought inexpensive versions of her favorite hoop earrings trying to satisfy her desire to look pretty. But each time, a day or two later, the earlobes would swell and reject the cheap knockoffs, leaving a disappointed mom and frustrated me.

One item at a time – I watched her give up belongings she had enjoyed for decades.

The picture of her earlobes imprinted in my mind represent a deep level of trust to me – something I’ve never experienced. She fully entrusted her well being and her belongings to my care. It humbles me and pricks my heart with soulful examination.

Trust is letting go of our rights. Trading control for reliance. Trading shallow belief for deep faith.

It’s easy for me to confess trust with my mouth. It’s an entirely different matter to hand over my expensive earrings and live with the consequences of scarred piercings. The result usually isn’t pretty – but the act shines brighter than gold or silver. It’s pure. It’s holy. And it’s our blessed invitation as believers.

My mother’s trust pierces a deep place in my soul. I want to trust like that. I want to love like that.

Committed love depends on trust for sustenance and propulsion. Over time its scars become a sacred badge of honor. I hope that before my final breath – trust will leave its mark on me too.

“The things he planned for us, no one can recount. Were I to speak of them, they would be too vast to declare. Sacrifices and offerings he does not desire, but my ear he has pierced.” Psalm 40:5-6 (emphasis mine)


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14 replies on “Thoughts About My Mother and Pierced Ears”

  1. There are so many memories here for me as I took care of my mother in her last years too. She suffered with Alzheimer’s and I watched her loose touch with her cherished belongings too. It was so hard. This time your going through takes a lot of trust too. God bless you.

    1. Thanks for the blessing and appropriate reminder Kathleen. This fragile time does take trust. Bless you too!

  2. You pierced my ears Pat, when we were 15 in my room on Walnut Ave. We used the technology of the time; ice cubes, a potato and a sewing needle. I have trusted you ever since, and delight in their slight unevenness that becomes more apparent as the years go by!

    1. Oh my goodness – what a crazy blast from the past memory, Laura! I took it upon myself to perform that ‘surgical procedure’ on many of my friends. You should have sued me for malpractice and misplacement 😉

    1. I have admit it was difficult to hit the publish button on this one, Linda. My relationship with my mother is “a tale” and not all of it beautiful. There’s so much to say and process – I’m not really sure what belongs here and what doesn’t. I’m working hard to let the feelings and words flow without over thinking them. Some days are more difficult than others.

      Appreciate you deeply, friend.

      1. You are such a blessing Pat to ALL who know you. Please, please continue to “hit the publish button” as every time I read your heartfelt spirit filled thoughts, I am comforted, inspired, blessed. So many of us can attest to a mix of complex emotions when we think of our relationship with our mother. Expressing yours in your Christ inspired words is bringing so much healing, comfort, and celebration to we, your sisters in Christ Jesus. Thank you my beloved friend for being such an obedient, committed, faith filled child of God.

        1. Everyone should have a cheerleader and friend in their corner like you, Jan! For me, hitting the publish button begins with a personal desire for honesty and wholeness which can be pretty scary. But, it’s in the community of conversation and relatable circumstances that brings me back to do it again the next time.

          Thank YOU for being here. Thank you for friendship. And thank you for your honest heart.

    1. I can easily sense the strength of your embrace and hug through your words, Teresa. Thank you. I always need it.

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