I never thought the loss of my Mother would become a journey of finding myself. I was the square peg in a round-holed world, never comfortable in my own skin and unsure of life around me. But, Grief finds the deepest, darkest parts of your soul and brings them into existence.
In the midst of the heartbreak, everything is veiled in those initial moments. All emotions are acceptable and even vile at times. You think and feel things that would have likely appalled your former self. I say old self because after a great loss, you won’t ever be the same. Your life’s trajectory has permanently changed and now it’s up to you on navigating this “new normal”.
Most are blessed with a strong family to come along side and help each other through a loss. Or, you have an amazing few friends willing to sit with you as you fall apart. My friends, the ones there, I think felt lost too. What can you possibly say to someone who just lost their Mother?! You don’t want to be THAT person who says something stupid. We’ve all seen those lists on the Internet, “What NOT to Say at a Funeral”, “Dumb Things to Say to Grieving People”, etc. I’m sure their loss for words created some distance, but I’m convinced I did plenty of pushing away and pretending. I mean, who wants to talk about the elephant in the room?! I could pen a list of “Ridiculous Lies Grieving People Tell” with Number One being “I’m Okay, just taking it a day at a time.” That right there is the telltale of someone NOT dealing at all. Well, I’ll take that back. That’s a fairly broad statement. Some are likely truthful in their grief. I will say that I was not. I was trying to say and feel what I thought I should, but my emotional thermometer was shattered. I didn’t know how or what I felt most days. And, most of those days it was inevitable something would set off that emotional avalanche. Little things like going to the grocery store would wreck me because it was certain I would see someone there with their Mom; smiling, joking, enjoying their time together. Insert instantaneous repulsive thought of, “I hate those people!” followed within a nanosecond later, an onslaught of tears rushing down my cheeks to where I couldn’t read my list. My thoughts then turned to “Quick! Put on the sunglasses! Pull yourself together, Woman! You’re making others uncomfortable!”
Realizing I wasn’t allowing myself to have normal emotions was one small eye opener on my inability to grieve this overwhelming loss. I say small because this journey of “stuffing and surviving” went of for a few years. During that time I endured many more losses and injuries which added to my mess of emotions.
Three years later, I was still putting on my “All is Good” puppet show, but every little reminder of my Mom completely broke me apart emotionally. In the midst of those moments I found myself saying, “It’s been three years! Why is it still so fresh?”
Emotions stay fresh; wounds stay open and get infected when you don’t care for them properly.
Case in point.
2011 came, employment status changed, financial security changed, house changed, location changed, me: unrecognizably shattered. And, for the first time in three years, I fell to my knees and cried out to God.
For many of us immature people, it’s easy to blame God. Our point of view of Him is that He is supposed to be in control of all things. I was so angry at God. I was fuming that He didn’t heal this beautiful Woman. For all the things in her life NOT easy, she still pointed to Christ. He was her Daddy, her Best Friend, her everything. She was a Prayer Warrior like none I’ve ever seen or known. Her wisdom, unmatched, and her glowing smile lit up rooms wherever she went. So, Why? I don’t know. We have to recognize we live in a fallen world and there are things that just are what they are. Death is one of those things. We have to choose to keep living. I chose to live, if for no one else, my amazing husband and our children. To carry on what my Mom taught; standing up after getting knocked down, brush off and start again.
The smoke and mirrors were gone now so it was time to stop running my mouth and start listening and let the Lord work on me. What an incredible journey it’s been! I’m still broken, but I’ve fallen in love with Jesus all over again! I now have a deeper understanding of my Mother’s love for Him. I also look at my cracks and I see and feel my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and Grace. Only He can bring us up from the deepest darkest pits and make us better than before. I was in agony, He gave me Peace. I felt alone and rejected, he showed me His love and acceptance. I struggled with forgiveness, He gave me Mercy and Grace. I felt all my wounds and He healed them.
I would like to think I would have found myself some other way, but I’m not too convinced. I relied on my Mom’s faith and wisdom instead of seeking Him and His wisdom. I’ve learned a lot about my past by reflecting on it and seeing how Mom lived her life in the midst of her storms. And, in her death, I found new life. I found who Christ really is. I found Joy. I found who I was created to be.
So, on what would be your 62nd birthday, Mom, I say Thank you once more. Thank you for being the willing vessel to give birth to me, again. Thank you for teaching and showing me Jesus. Even through our failures, He was, He is and He will always be ALL we ever need.
I love you, Forever