Singer/song writer of country style Gospel music, and member of ISSA (International Singer/Songwriter's Association). Have pastored several churches throughout the years. My wife, Lynne, and I worked together to raise up a church from the ground up. We are now members of Calvary Chapel church in Monett. Mo, under Pastors Dennis and Patty Burge. We are largely involved in the music program there, as well as doing Volunteer programs for local senior citizens homes. We both love gospel music, and sharing the love of God where ever we get the opportunity. Our album, Crucified, is actually our first. We both have been in music of some form for many years. I write music the same way I preached.., as the Holy Spirit leads. Our songs can be found on YouTube, Google play, itunes/ apple music. Spotify. Always available for bookings. Our mission is to share God’s love, to His Glory and Honor.
Mom’s Final Act
Mom’s Final Act
Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.
Being in prison, a person has plenty of time to think, and for me the past thirteen years have been filled with memories of the past. In the lonely hours of night, my mind sweeps back to the most significant events of my life, and oh so often, back to Mom, and her final act.
Her eyes were dark and sad, and her face seemed to reflect many more years than she had actually lived. She was a handsome woman at best but in my eyes, she was beautiful.
Mom lived a hard life but always took time to show us six children that we were loved. She prided herself on always being there with the answer to our every need, and someone always needed something. Clearly I recall the sounds of home. “Mom, my shirt needs ironing. Mom, I need help with my homework. Mom, what’s for dinner? Mom, I need this, and Mom, I need that.” Mom was always the answer—no one gave it a second thought. I suppose our whole family just figured, this is what she lived for.
There were three meals a day, not one ever late; six children— all in school, complete with packed lunches, and always wearing clean clothes, even though they were sometimes patched.
Our old two-story house was far from fancy, but was always clean from top to bottom. There was no inside plumbing, but somehow Mom always managed to have plenty of hot water for baths and cleaning. Our clothes were always washed and ironed. We never questioned the hot roaring fire we woke up to on cold winter mornings, or the hot breakfast awaiting us on the table. We never questioned anything that Mom did for us each day, so unselfishly and without complaining. We selfishly took it all for granted.
I suppose everyone has regrets in life. I’ll always regret taking Mom for granted, and I’ll never forget the last opportunity I had to right this wrong. Mom’s final act, of fulfilling one last need, will be with me forever.
I was sixteen and working my first real job at a gas station. Just as she had with my dad and my older brothers, Mom would wake me bright and early for work and breakfast would be waiting on the table. This became a ritual I accepted as a way of life—that is, until one spring morning in 1966.
As usual, Mom woke me for work, but something in the tone of her voice was different. I entered the kitchen, eager for breakfast. For the first time since I could remember, the table was empty. I was totally confused, but she simply told me I’d have to fix a bowl of cereal myself because she didn’t feel well. I steamed as I thought, How could she NOT have my breakfast ready? For the first time in my life, I yelled at my mom, left the house and slammed the door behind me.
As the morning passed, I began feeling really bad about the way I acted. I was looking forward to the end of the day when I could go home, apologize and make things right between us. About 11 A.M. the phone rang and the voice on the other end said simply, “You need to come home right away, Roger. Your mom’s dead.”
It was a shocking discovery—a self-inflicted bullet wound through the heart had taken her life. No suicide note, no warnings, no answers. In my mind, there could have been only one reason—me.
Days and weeks passed, and the guilt of a sixteen-year-old boy grew unbearable. I had to talk to my mom.
At the cemetery I stood alone at her graveside and cried. I tried to tell her how sorry I was, and that I needed her to forgive me, but in my heart, I knew it was too late. As I arrived home that day, my sister ran out to meet me. Holding a piece of paper in her hand, she said, “I found this in Mom’s Bible today. It’s addressed to you.” My hands trembled, and tears stung my eyes as I read:
I love you. I know, after the way we left things this morning, you’ll need to hear from me this one last time. Outside of God Himself, I probably know you better than anyone. I think I have an idea of how you must be feeling about now, but Son, please don’t feel guilty. What I’m about to do is no one’s fault, least of all yours. There really is no answer, so don’t waste your life trying to find one. With all my children grown now, I feel it’s time for me to rest.
I know you’re feeling guilty, Son, but it is I who prays for your forgiveness. I hope you know I do forgive you for getting angry, and I love you so very much.
I’ve always tried to take care of all your needs, Son, and I pray that this little note will take care of what I’m sure you’re needing most right now.
I Love You,
In what must have been the most confusing moments of her life, my mom’s final act of love and forgiveness fulfilled my greatest need.
Now I stare out across a dark and empty prison yard, and realize how dark and empty my own life has been without her. If only she had told me how she felt. If only I had listened. I guess she could not have known how much I would always need her.
Within these walls, this prison,
My mind and thoughts run free.
I think of Mom and days gone by,
And of what she meant to me.
I wonder how life would have been
Had she not gone away,
And would I be behind these bars,
If she were here today?
How would my life be different?
I’ve asked a million times,
If I could only talk to her,
She might have stopped my crimes.
I’m thankful for the time we had,
But she could not have known
Of the dark void left within my life
In the years since she’s been gone.
I needed her and miss her.
I love her—for a fact,
But I know my life is different,
Because of Mom’s final act.
R. L. Todd