Today marks eighteen months since my precious mom went home to be with the Lord.
Isn't it interesting the "anniversaries" you mark after losing someone so dear? And in the mind of the one grieving, all the world should be aware of these as well. They seldom are. And so you observe the moment by yourself; remember the one you still love even though their chair is empty; rehearse things that you appreciated; things that made you laugh; things that made you feel loved in return.
Although Mom had fought cancer for almost thirteen years, her actual passing was very sudden and caught us all off guard. In October she was "just fine". In November, brain tumors were discovered. And on December 2nd she went home, leaving everyone in shock.
During these eighteen months, Frank and I have walked through several other losses of ones we loved dearly. Seven weeks after Mom, her best friend (and my 'nother mother) passed away. Mom and Jimmie Lee had been friends for almost forty years. It just made sense that they would want to explore Heaven together. Smile.
We lost Andy in May. He was like a younger brother and only 42. There was a young mom in our congregation who died suddenly in September leaving a husband and three girls just hitting their teen years. Sister Stanley, who had been Frank's Sunday school teacher/mentor right after he was saved. And just six weeks ago, Sandra Bass-Palmer.
That's a lot of "Home Goings" in such a short time. And we add to that list the usual funerals associated with the fact that we are pastors. One thing's for sure, Heaven seems very real to me these days!
I woke pretty early this morning and lay pondering all this for quite some time. Several things have been "balm" for my heart during this season. I'd like to share them with you in hopes that they may be a comfort to you at some point, too.
- Each day is a gift to be treasured! Live to the full, love completely, forgive quickly. None of us knows what tomorrow may bring.
- I had developed a habit many years ago of calling Mom every Saturday. We never lived close to one another and that Saturday phone call (sometimes short, sometimes long) was our connection point. When she died so unexpectedly, I didn't have to struggle with guilt. Mileage had never separated us.
- Bitterness and unforgiveness are a waste of your time and energy.
- Condolences offered, really do matter so much more than I had ever imagined. The form you choose is unimportant (a hug, card, flowers, letter, phone call); your expression of care is what will be remembered.
- I had read that no matter what your relationship has been, you will miss your parents when they are gone. And the missing never completely goes away. Amen to that!
- We who believe in Christ, do not grieve without hope. I will see all of these loved ones again. They are still very much alive; their address has simply changed.
- The first scripture passage Mom taught me when I was only four has even more meaning for me forty-eight years later. John 14 says, "Let not your heart be troubled...." it goes on to talk about heaven and the promise that we will go there. How appropriate!
- Things are irrelevant - people are important!
Those are just some of the thoughts rambling around in my little brunette head this morning. Celebrate the ones in your life that you love today. You will not regret it! Smile.