The day I have dreaded most of my life arrived. The day I thought I was prepared for (and I was woefully not), brought me to unrelenting tears. The day that I knew she would be face to face with Jesus and reunited with her family and loved ones she had lost, literally broke my heart. The day my mother passed away came all.too.soon. I honestly do not think any of us are prepared for such a loss, no matter how many times we tell ourselves we are. The loss of your mother is one of the most difficult things in life a daughter will face.
I have discovered a few things about myself along this journey:
I am a horrible griever. They say there are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I can get through stages 1 through 3 and then right when I think I am turning a corner, stage 2 comes creeping back in and then I start all over again, and then sometimes I grieve out of order and go directly to the depression stage where I hang out for a few days and then start all over again. Of course, some days are better than others and I think I have this grieving thing down pat, but then the next day I find myself at stage 2. Grief really is a matter of time.
I have also learned that I am going to survive this. Many, many people have expressed their sympathies to me (and I will be forever grateful for that) and shared stories of losing their own mothers. Some have lost their mothers many years ago, and are crying right along with me as they share their own personal stories of their moms, which made me realize there is no time limit on grief. I know I am not alone in this and I know I will survive. Their stories give me encouragement and hope that the depth of the pain that I feel right now will eventually ease. Will it go away? No, but it will be a little more tolerable with each passing day, week and month.
Family matters. It matters a whole heckofa lot. Although my mom had been sick for the past 10 years, my sisters and I have remained close, celebrating any and all holidays together and even the days in between all of the holidays. I look at those 2 very important people to me and I realize that I could not have done any of this (including the past 10 years) without them. I simply cannot imagine my life without those sisters of mine. Even in the midst of our grief, we still find reasons to laugh, smile and remember our mother the way only the 3 of us can, and those moments of laughter and memories are simply priceless.
I also realized I am jealous of everyone who still has a mother. For those of you who still have your mom, you have no idea how lucky you are and how very much I want to be in your shoes. Cherish your mom. Love them. Be thankful you have 1 more day with them. I have become acutely aware that life is truly a gift. Death reminds us that life is precious, temporary and not to be taken for granted. The present moment is where life occurs. Do not waste your life second guessing your past or waiting to live your life. Live life passionately and fearlessly. Laugh often and laugh loud. Love is the currency of life. Love is what matters and what is remembered. We place far too much value on achievement, money, possessions and beauty, when really, love is all that counts.
In all of my sadness, I had the aha! moment and it totally surprised me (that must be why they call it the aha! moment). It came to me one morning when I was intentionally still. I sat in complete silence and listened, simply listened. I was as still as I think I have ever been and there it was. I found JOY. Joy for my mom who is no longer a victim of her health issues that landed her in a nursing home for 10 years requiring total care. Joy for her as she is healthy, whole and happy. Joy for her as she is reunited with her loved ones and joyful that she is standing at the throne of the King, whom she loved so much. Once I figured this out, I have found myself starting to accept my loss. It’s hard to be sad when I know she is happy. Although that does not lessen how much I miss her, it makes this bearable.
And so, life will go on. Life will be different. We will adjust to this new normal and go on with our lives. I will watch my kids and grandkids chart their course in life and tell them stories of their Grandma Iris. I will hold close to my heart the memories that I have of my mom, and while I do not expect to arrive at a point in my life where I am 100% alright with the fact that my mother is gone, I know that I am so, so lucky to have loved and been loved that much by anyone.
Until next time friends ..