Colleen mentioned this week in her blog that my mother passed away two weeks ago. Caring for Mom in her illness has kept me focused on her for quite some time, and I've done little more. Hence, I've written few blogs to some of my favorite blog girls. I've missed y'all.
Though I'm an only child with no children of my own (except for my wonderful stepsons) I was surrounded by family from before the night Mom passed away and for a whole week afterward. Our house was packed, and those days I would otherwise have spent in grief recalling the awful last days of Mom's life, I spent instead with Mel, and cousins and my uncle and close friends keeping food in my mouth whether I wanted it or not, keeping me active and distracted, even taking me to get a massage.
The day after everyone left was the first time I had alone, and I cried all afternoon, despite the fact that Mom was a staunch believer, and I knew she was forever out of pain. I could close my eyes and see Mom's face, eyes open wide in fear when she didn't know what was happening to her in her demented state. The memories of Mom's suffering were like a haunting I could not shake, and I walked around the house devastated, sat on her bed and sobbed.
But then I received an email from yet another cousin, who is a missionary in China. She'd been trying to reach me for several days, but their systems don't always work where she lives. She'd had a dream the night before Mom died, in which she saw Mom in the arms of Jesus. Her words brushed away those awful memories that had haunted me. I don't even have to close my eyes to see that picture in my mind. Yet another cousin to the rescue. Have I mentioned that I love my cousins? So now I can attend grief counseling for six weeks and learn how to do this right--if there's really a right way to do it.
Last night I was alone again while Mel worked a late shift. I went down to the basement laundry room to check on his scrubs, and my attention caught on the row of Mom's clothing we'd hung there because we had run out of room in her small closet upstairs. For the first time, I didn't feel pain at the sight of something that reminded me of Mom. In fact, I smiled. I walked over to the first shirt and caressed it. Mom had no more use for these clothes because she is now dressed in her heavenly clothing, and she's in the arms of Jesus. There is sadness and pain in suffering, and there is a sense of loss when someone you love is no longer with you. But in truth, there is great joy with the realization that the one you love is with Christ in heaven, never again to be confused or frightened, never again to suffer pain.
Labels: Eugene Patterson photo, grief counseling, sunsets