I keep trying to process this loss, but my mind just refuses to believe the truth. Countless times a day, I catch myself picking up the phone to call my mom. A thousand times, I pull up my Gmail to start an email to her. I begin to text my mom, only to have reality crash down on me that I can’t. Because she’s gone. She’s really gone. My mind keeps repeating it, but my heart doesn’t believe. I remember her voice, her laugh, her wit. I want to tell her everything I always told her; the activities and appointments going on with the kids, prayer requests, and all the stuff of our daily life. I want to hear her complain about the cold and how she hates Minnesota winters.
My heart grieves a thousand things she won’t be here for with us. I think of her birthday this month on the 28th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my daughter’s college graduation in the spring, the youngest two boys’ birthdays, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, my birthday. The list is endless. I grieve the loss of the traditions my mom was so good at keeping and acknowledging. I am sad that my youngest daughter will never receive a “15” traditional Hallmark Birthday Doll figurine from Grandma. I ache that we will never again get to stop in to visit her when my son’s VEX Robotics tournament is going on.
My mom was my cheerleader, my biggest prayer warrior, and my confidant. I miss that my girls and I will never play 10% Percent with her again. (Aka the Whining Game!) I will miss playing cards with her: 10% Percent, Skip-Bo, Rummy, and Gin. I grieve for the cribbage games I’ll no longer hear about with her and Dean, her husband. I grieve for Dean who only got 16 months with her.
I wonder how long this disbelief will last. I fear the day when reality sets in and the shock wears off. I fear grieving loss all over again. I resent how complicated the death of my mother is. I’m angry that, once again, I didn’t get to say good-bye. I hate having to do the hard work of grief. I don’t want to do to the arduous work of grief and it scares me, this lack of want. I’m afraid because my faith feels dead, hollow. I remember how I leaned into the grief seven years ago, but I somehow can’t seem to find my footing this time around, that God has disappeared. Of course, I KNOW intellectually that He is present and closer than ever, but words of hope ring hollow. They echo and bounce without penetrating my heart, and I am afraid I will not find my way back. People keep telling me I am loved, but it’s like I am wearing headphones that muffle the message.
I want to hope again. I want to sleep again. I want the nightmares to end. I am afraid I am not coping well. I just want to escape. Hours and hours of YouTube and retreating to my bed are my “drug” of choice to numb this pain. I don’t care about healthy eating or taking my vitamins. I’ve eaten more junk food in the past four weeks than I’ve eaten in two years. I don’t want to spiral downward, but I’m too exhausted to fight this battle. I’m too tired to climb my way out of this pit.
Oh, that I would believe the truth! That I would cling to God and His word! I sense this spiritual battle in the heavenlies for my faith, but don’t have the strength to fight. Yet I rest in this: God knows. God knows and He is for me. I remember Job and acknowledge that God is sovereign. I am comforted in knowing that the Holy Spirit is interceding for me, and the prayers of God’s people on our behalf are rising as incense before Him. (Rev. 8:4) I rest in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, that this life is not all there is, that there is forgiveness for my sins. I rejoice that some day there will be the death of death.
I remember the “God Nods” He has shown us these past four weeks, the miracle He performed for my sister Amy and I in the restoration of our relationship. I recall His provision and care in the details of our return travel from MI to MN. I think of the multitude of cards and memorials we’ve received and am comforted by the expression of love and care by family, friends, and strangers alike. I recollect that the grieving process has no timeline, and that each loss is unique, that gentleness and grace are as necessary to healing as time. I remember that praise is a sacrifice, and that the more I praise, the sweeter the victory in Jesus. I bear in mind that giving thanks is the way to bear grief, that sorrow settles when the attitude of gratitude prevails. I gulp grace by the mouthful, remembering that God’s very breath sustains me and that the enemy breathes nothing but lies.
I lament to the Savior because He saved me, saved my mother. Christ was her all in all, and He remains my all in all, despite my doubts, my fears, and my failures. This grief overwhelms, but Jesus is over all. He is my redeemer, my reality. My mom knew there were things in this life that one simply could not change. But she also knew that acceptance was possible (and necessary). Jesus, too, accepted what was necessary. For life, both earthly and eternal, to be possible, acceptance has to be a reality. I’m thankful Jesus accepted the cross. I’m thankful my mom knew that acceptance of these things we cannot change was possible. Because of the Truth, I know, in time, I will accept what I can not change.