I don’t know what happens at a nine to ten month milestone when someone you love with all of your heart dies, but something does. It has been a difficult month, I feel like I have taken steps backwards. There is a heaviness that lingers all the time. I’ve been told repeatedly that it is a year of “firsts,” and that has been an accurate description. First Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year, first birthday, anniversary, and the first school year just recently started without her and we shared back to school photos that she will never see. I missed calling her constantly while I was trying to get Christian back to college and dealing with car issues and just everyday “stuff.” Nothing important. Just sharing the everyday, mundane happenings of life that pass all too quickly. I still have her number on speed dial in my cell phone, even though I will never be able to dial it again. I would give almost anything to look down at my ringing phone and see her picture and name pop up. I miss our lunch dates where we talked of work, grandkids and the house she and daddy were working on in the country. She never owned a home in the over thirty years they were in ministry, they always lived in parsonages, until they bought a little house on some land in Florida. She was so happy about it and only she could see the beauty in it past all the work it most definitely needed. (I personally would’ve run for the hills before I would’ve bought that fixer upper. But, she loved it and loved spending her days off working on it.) I just miss her. I am going on, life is moving forward, but it is through eyes blinded with tears that I walk many days. I take after her when it comes to plants, so when I see one of mine looking like a brown stick rather than green and healthy, I think of all the conversations about how terrible we were with them, and I smile. I miss going into the office, where we worked together, and having a cup of coffee while we talked about the tasks that needed to be finished. I get so caught up in my own grief that I forget that others are grieving her loss as well. Sometimes at work I will see her handwriting on something and I’ll get a lump in my throat, only to look up and see my dear friend, who worked with mom as well, with tears in her eyes. She loved her too. It touches me deeply. I am very aware of my dad’s depth of loss, and my sister’s, but sometimes I wonder how my kids are feeling. This morning Jeff shared with me that Travis has a picture locked on his phone of my entire church family up around the alter praying for my mom. It was last February and she had been going through chemo for a year. She was so sick. He was sitting up in the sound booth to operate the computer for our song slides and he had the presence of mind to take a picture of the beautiful sight. I had no idea. He simply put “praying for you grandma,” and texted the picture to her. Then he locked it up on his phone so it couldn’t be erased, ever. How precious. I am still crying about it as I type this. Life is messy, isn’t it? Just painful and messy. I keep looking for the breakthrough that I’ve been told is going to come as a relief from all of this grief, but none has. I keep waiting for a day to pass where I don’t want to cry at least once, but they are few and far between. I long to see her face and to hear her voice, but all I hear is silence. I work hard to keep her image in my mind. I never want to forget. I want to hang on to every single memory I have. Like begging her to take a drive with me for no good reason, just to spend time with her. I make that drive by myself more these days. Or the time when we were living in a different town and Jeff was going through flight training, I asked her to come down and spend a month with me to help me start a new job. She said yes, and we had the best time together. We would get the kids to school and then later eat lunch at Sonny’s. We’d order pork sandwiches and tea and talk about everything and nothing. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life. She wasn’t just my mom, she was my best friend, confidant and spiritual mentor. She left behind a huge hole, a gap that can never be filled. Folks over that last several months have told me that I’ll get used to it, I doubt it. I am learning to cope, but it is a long bumpy road to healing. Thank you to all of you who have prayed, I would literally not be able to stand up under this if it were not for you. And to those of you who loved her and miss her too, bless you, bless you for bearing some of this pain with us. She really was a great lady, not a perfect lady, but a really great one. I will spend my life blessing her name, and reminding everyone close to me to “make grandma proud.”
To my mom: I will see you in heaven, save me a seat or walk slowly and I’ll catch up, whichever applies. I will be looking for you first when I get there, I can hardly wait to see your face. I love you so much and I miss you every day. I will never be the same, but I won’t let all this loss be without hope and purpose. I will keep passing on the legacy that you left in me and I will love my kids the way you loved me. Unconditionally. Fully. Till the day the Lord took you home. Miss you…see you again someday.
Proverbs 10: 7a “we have happy memories of the godly.”
Psalm 61:7-8 “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”