Monday, May 28, 2012

Still Standing

Hmm, I don’t even know where I should begin this blog post.  There are so many things to say but my mind is still numb from the loss of my mother at the end of April.  I thought I was prepared.  I was strong during those last weeks for my dad and my brother.  I helped Mom plan her celebration service and even laughed with her when she said she thought dancing in the aisle would be okay with her.  However, I still cannot believe Mom is no longer here.  Just how am I to deal with that fact as a minister’s wife?

As you know God moved us back to Arkansas in January.  Mom became very ill in that same month.   She battled, for the next four months, a disease that took her life.  I, along with our family, held out hope for several weeks that she would be healed.  However, I still remember that fateful morning when she was in the hospital for the last time, the doctors told us there was nothing more they could do.  We brought her home on hospice and for the next eight weeks we tried to make her comfortable and happy. 

One thing that Mom was able to do was to tell all of us that she loved us.  Her grandchildren came from as far away as Las Vegas to see their Granny.  She told them she was proud of them and loved each of them.  She even spoke about her first great-grandchild and how she wished she would be here to see Baby Lee.  (We all believe that Granny Hazel is up in heaven playing and spoiling Baby Lee.  She also already knows if we will have a boy or girl).  I realized quickly that Mom has blessing each family member or friend who walked in the door just as the Old Testament speaks of Isaac blessing Jacob.  The last two weeks of her life were pretty rough.  She slept a great deal and when she was awake, she wanted someone to be in the room with her so she could talk.  One night she had the sitter wake me and for nearly an hour Mom talked about what a blessed life she had had and that she loved us all dearly.  She told me she was ready when God called her home.  Girlfriends, let me tell you times like this one nearly ripped my heart out but I held it together for the most part.  Even as I sit typing, tears are falling down my face because I have not fully grieved.

I still find myself anxious to tell Mom something and will go to pick up the phone.  Then I realize Mom’s at her eternal home now.  Sometimes I ask the Father to tell Mom that I miss her and I feel quite certain He does because I feel His peace. 

One thing that has seen me through these days in the valley of death is the prayers, cards, and love of God’s people.  Our new church family has been so wonderful.  When I was able to be at church, people provided lots of hugs.  Knowing my addiction to chocolate, some friends even brought me goodie baskets filled with a variety items including my favorite nerve pills-Peanut M & Ms.  Of course, my sweet girlfriends across the state of Tennessee have stood in the gap for me as well.  It is only by the grace of God and His use of His children that my family is still standing.

As a minister’s wife, I don’t know if I have handled the grieving process correctly.  My dear husband has walked me through it as best as he can and I have gone through each stage of grief.  The other day I started crying for no reason and could not stop.  Ricky asked me why I was crying and the only response I could make was “I miss Mom.”  He simply said, “Good, keep crying.”

The lessons I have learned during the four months were hard but good.  First, treasure your family, tell them you love them and bless them.  Second, God will never leave you.  Third, don’t get stuck in the grief process, and learn to laugh through the tears.  Fourth, don’t keep your emotions bottled up.  I have been angry with doctors and even God.  I have kept silent and walked out of the room. I have laughed and cried at the same time. Yet in all these emotions God never turned His back on me.

On April 20th my husband kidnapped me and took me out of state for a few days of rest.  It was my birthday so I called back to check in on Mom.  Dad said she was awake and might be able to speak to me.  He held the phone to her ear and told her it was me.  I could hear Mom gathering as much strength as she could.  Her last spoken words to me on earth were “Happy Birthday.”  Two days later she went to sleep and awoke in Jesus’ loving arms.  (I can almost bet the next person she hugged was her best friend of 50 plus years who went to her eternal home last year).  The next time I see her I bet she says “Welcome home.  Now let’s celebrate.”


Kathy Britton said...

I am still praying for you and will continue to do so. It is never easy to loose a loved one. My Dad left his earthly home to reside with Jesus 16 years ago. I want sooooo bad for him to see his grandchildren and the accomplishments they have made. He would be so proud. I miss talking with him and getting advice from him.

BUT….I HAVE to believe that he DOES see the GOOD things and rejoices with us. I do not believe he sees bad things, but in my heart I feel that he sees me and my husband and my children…….and rejoices with us during the good times. Many times, I feel his presence.

Some folks argue and say that they do not see us from heaven. I HAVE to BELIEVE. I guess one day we will know for sure….but then it won’t matter either way.

You will never get over your mom’s death….but it will get easier as time passes on. I read a devotion a few months ago that said that death of a loved one is like an amputation. You learn to live with it and life goes on, but things will forever be different.

Pat said...

Thanks for sharing your grief with us. You are still very much in my prayers and thoughts every day! My mom's been gone 8 years today and there are still times I start to pick up the phone to call and ask her something or tell her about something I just saw or heard that she would enjoy. Don't think we'll ever get past that because they were such a huge part of us...and still are. Continue to grieve and know that God has you in His arms and there are many, many, many of us still praying for you. Love you, friend!