Every aspect of my mom’s memorial service on Saturday was beautiful. God gave me incredible peace and strength to write and deliver her eulogy, my part of honoring my mom and serving my dad and family. It happened exactly as it did in the dream I awoke from on December 4th. God gave me a message to deliver, and I’m still floored that I was able to stand in front of everyone and talk about my mom. God’s grace is just flat-out amazing. He covered me while I spoke.
But now that the business of her dying is over and I’m left with the quiet awareness, I long for a shortcut through this grief. The waves of sadness hit me out of nowhere. And then as quickly and unsuspectingly as it comes, it leaves and then I go numb again. No one can save me from it, or make me feel better. I feel everyone’s wish to find the right words to help ease my pain, but there are no words of comfort when you lose your mom. I feel compelled to save them from their impotence.
I’ve found the blessings that happened with my mom and my family during the last 3 ½ months of her life, which are innumerable and miraculous, have almost nothing to do with the devastation of her death. They’re completely separate. Yes, knowing she’s heaven helps me feel better for her, but it does nothing for my pain. Yes, God was merciful; she died peacefully and with all the love she could have imagined. But we’re still left without her, and the effects of her not being here are vast and sometimes hidden in the most innocuous places. I knew that going through her clothes and smelling her scent in her closet was going to be hard. I was somewhat prepared for that. But I had no idea how much I’d cry over seeing her sewing machine and crochet needles. I forgot that she was going to teach me how to crochet. Just another thing we’ll never do together. We found her Jesus and angel pins on the red sweater she wore for Christmas. She wore them every Christmas. That was a very bitter-sweet moment for my family.
In my mind, my mom died 100 deaths since her brain cancer diagnosis on October 1st. We knew the stats on her cancer. We knew she had no chance of survival. But we also knew that God could have done a miracle and so we held out hope, even if it was just a little bit. But witnessing the removal of her IV fluids while she was still staring into my eyes, knowing she was going to die and wondering if she knew what was happening as dozens of people were crying at her bedside, and then seeing her lifeless body after she was gone were all things I could never have prepared for. Imagination goes only so far; it pales in comparison to the real thing.
I’ve never known such impossible reality. And I’m fearfully aware that I still don’t know it.
There’s only one person who can offer anything of hope and peace to me. And that’s Jesus. When I pray or listen to my mom’s favorite worship music, I feel a strange closeness to my mom. I realize he’s the connection between my mom and me. She’s with him. And he’s with me. So because of him, I’m connected to my mom. He’s the bridge.
So when I miss her most and wish I could talk to her one more time, I ask Jesus to give her a message for me. Mostly, I just tell her how much I love her.