In a few hours my family and I will bury my mom. It’s surreal to write those words. How can that be? I find I’m still quite numb and shocked. As I sit holding my mom’s blanket and remembering when I made it for her and my dad, I’m overwhelmed with the feeling of being orphaned. It’s an emptiness I’ve never felt before. It’s like someone blew up my heart and I can’t find the center.
Watching my mom die has made one thing very clear: relationships are all that matter in this world. Running around making money, landgrabbing for power, building our egos, and collecting stuff are wastes of time. Achieving financial goals, worrying about the future, and holding on to grudges will be our greatest regrets in this life. When I held my mom’s hand and stared into her dying eyes I wasn’t thinking about anything except how precious she was. Even though she could no longer swallow or speak, her eyes told me everything I needed to know. I love you. And I know you love me. And because of that my heart is broken but in perfect peace.
When my mom was first diagnosed with brain cancer I clearly saw the choice I had to make: move closer to her or start backing away in self-protection. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I made the conscious decision to open myself to this pain. I knew the risk. I was aware of the odds. And just as I thought, I’m completely leveled by her death. There are moments when I only feel the loss, and the pain is so thick it almost takes my breath away. But I will never regret pouring out all my love to her. Thanks to God’s grace I’ll never look back and wish I’d extended myself a little more. I was all in. And she knew it.
If you would have told me that the chief blessings of my life would be found in the 3 ½ months leading up to my mom’s death, I would have thought you were morbid and crazy. It would have sounded like a spooky and strange cliché. But I can tell you with all my heart that aside from having my children, loving and serving my mom since her diagnosis was the greatest privilege of my life. It was a holy experience, a blessed tragedy. And it’s changed my view of terminal illness and death.
I’ve come back from this battle with a 2-part message: God’s grace and goodness can’t be contained and pre-measured, and you will never regret loving someone. God has blown away any box I tried to put him in, and even in the midst of these terrible choices of caskets and memorial services, he continues to bless my family every day.
In our worst moments and our greatest fears, God wants to show up. Whatever battle you face in your life right now, I pray you reach out to God and let Him into the struggle.
Love deeply. And you’ll have no regrets.
This is far from over…