Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sixteen Years

Today.  This is the day I lost my very best friend, my rock, my inspiration, my reason, my world...my Mother.  Sometimes, it doesn't seem like that much time has passed.  The hurt as fresh and raw as that very morning.  Ever since that day, I've never been able to "get past" my feeling of profound loss.  Everyone told me, time heals.  I'm here to tell you that it absolutely does not.  It does not heal, but it changes.  It changes the way you feel, how you perceive how you embrace and deal with the pain and loss.

Let me see if I can explain this a little better.  When my mother left this world to be with Jesus my world collapsed around me.  Everything I ever knew was gone.  I had my brother and my father and extended family, yes.  But the core of my everyday life was gone.  The weight of that was terrifying.  I was confused, scared and not sure how I was going to be able to survive.  All of that was mingled with utter loss.  I'd never felt so empty.  Never had I experienced such a deep and resounding loss.  Hollow, so hollow for that first day all I did was echo what others said to me while never really listening.  The person I loved the most in all of the world was never coming back.  There was also anger and betrayal.  Not at my mother, but at those caring for her.  How could they let this happen?  Didn't they understand she was someone's wife, mother, sister?  What was she just another body in a hospital bed?  A complicated medical case that no one wanted to deal with? A bother, inconvenience?  Betrayed by God.  I prayed all the time for Him to make her better.  From the time she first got sick when I was just 6 years old.  Doesn't God listen to a child's prayers?  I sat and prayed over her through the night for days while I sat by her bed in the hospital...it was all for nothing wasn't it?  How could He have done this?  How could He take her from me?

That paragraph up there is a whole lot of ugly.  I still feel the anger.  I will always harbor that until the day I die because I know in my heart the truth.  I know how complicated my mother was viewed as being.  That is one thing that has not healed, lessened, changed with time.  But the other things have changed...a lot.  Only time can let you see a tragedy in such a perspective.  So what has time changed?

Thanks be to God, I still have my father and my brother.  Back then I realized that my mother did raise me.  I was still at home, still going to college but I was 21.  Even though I didn't think I could survive, she taught me everything I needed to know.  I took over paying bills, managing a household...even breeding/showing the dogs & horses.  I will say it was a bit harsh because even though I knew how and had watched my mother do these things, I never had the luxury of just picking up the phone and calling her to make sure I had done things right.  If I did something wrong, I dealt with the consequences and learned from those mistakes.

The loss.  That...well that never goes away.  Sometimes, I think it gets worse depending on where you are in your life.  For me, any accomplishment, goal, milestone I reach in my life...that profound loss returns because she is not there to witness it.  Like a diamond it has multiple facets.  There is nothing her absence does not touch.  My first real job, being able to give me advice or words of wisdom.  Meeting my boyfriend/fiancee/husband, having girl talk and reassuring my heart on things when I was scared or hormonal.  My wedding, helping me plan it out, to be there when I walked down the aisle with the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with.  My pregnancies, to bask in the sheer joy and talk about everything baby!  Names and colors and to daydream about who he/she will look like from our family.  The birth of my children.  I think that has been one of the most difficult.  Not just wishing she was there for the actual birth.  But to be able to have 3 generations all together.  To have her to ask questions since babies certainly don't come with instructions.  When I struggled with my emotions and frustrations.  When I really could have used her comfort and wisdom when I was dealing with PPD.  With Big C's colic and Little C's reflux went full tilt, her advice would have been invaluable.  Did I have colic, or did my brother?  Things that she alone knew about raising her children, she wasn't able to pass on to me, because she wasn't here any longer.  Every little thing my children do, reminds me of her.  First smiles, first words, first steps, first birthdays.  Accomplishments, first day of pre school, Big C's martial arts classes, cute things they say or do.  How they hug each other and say, "I love you!"  How they fight like my brother and I did do.  How she would have been an amazing grandmother.  How much she would have loved them, and how they would adore her.  If you follow and read this blog at all, you'll see how her absence comes up in the most mundane or simple things...like last month's Grandmother's Luncheon.  When thinking of or planning future events with my children, I think of her and I miss her dearly, wishing that she could be here to experience them with us.  The loss my friends....time never heals...it only changes.  I still miss her on my own.  I am still reminded of how much I miss her, what her arms felt like around me, the sound of her laughter, her angry face, her beautiful singing...everything that I have been missing for the last 16 years.

Betrayal.  God had forsaken me.  Time does change that perspective.  I know now it was my pain crying out, desperately wanting someone, something to blame because this just wasn't supposed to happen.  Yes, it happens to other people, but not me!  Certainly not me!  It took a while before I understood exactly where my mother went, who she is with and why.  I realized that all those years I spent praying for God to make my mother better weren't wasted.  Because instead of taking her right then, He did make her well.  No, not healed, but well enough to continue to be with me for another 15 years until He couldn't wait any longer.  He did that for ME.  He put off the inevitable because I asked Him to.  Up until that very moment she left me, as I laid in bed holding her.  I asked Him not to let her suffer, to come for her and take her with Him gently and quietly.  And He did.

Sometimes, when I look at the big picture, I can see God's handiwork.  The loss of my mother left me very lonely.  It pretty much forced me to meet and talk to people.  Both people from my past, and those brand new.  If my Mom hadn't gone with the Lord when she did, I probably would not have met my husband, which means I would never have had my children.  I really don't know how life would be now.  I like to think I'd have taken a similar path and that I still would have the life I do now, only with her still in it.  But who is to say?  Only God and my mother know why things turned out the way they did.  I still grieve for her.  I miss her so, so much.  I want my children to know the kind of person their grandmother was, so I tell them about her often.  I do my best to remember things I heard as a child that are specific only to our family so that my children will teach them to their children one day and we will live on through them.  So to end this entry, I'll leave you with a little song that my Grandmother wrote while mourning the loss of her own mother when she was just 19 years old.

One night while I was sleeping,
My sisters at my side.
I heard a voice from Heaven,
"Your dearest mother has died."
Remember now dear children,
Remember one and all.
For when you lose your mother,
You've lost the best friend of all.
             -- Margaret Lindeman

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