Monday, July 2, 2012

Tomatoes and all the other little things...

My neighbor, Mr. Fred {I am using an alias to protect his identity} has the most lovely garden in his back yard.  Not the flower type... a vegetable garden full of varieties of peppers, cucumbers, melons, and tomatoes.  Not only does he like to grow them, but he also likes to share.  Two years ago, he had a plentiful stock of jalepeno peppers, and I stuffed them with cream cheese, wrapped them in bacon, and we grilled them.  They were to die for.  He always brings tomatoes over when he has too much for him and his wife, so today I was delighted when he carried over a Publix sack full of deep red, ripe plump tomatoes.

I was so excited to put my hands on the first fresh tomatoes of the season.  But then it hit me.  I can never eat all he gives me; I'm the only one in the house who likes them.  So I always share them with my mom.  Two years ago, we took some to my grandmother who used to grow them in her back yard back when she was able.  Now everything is so different.

It's the little things, like tomatoes, that send me to that place inside, the sad place.  Little things like the tick I found on Buddy's ear a few weeks ago.  I had never seen anything like it, and it was swollen and red around the site the insect had taken root, and I immediately wanted to call her.  It's a Blizzard at Dairy Queen with the kids, and knowing she's not there.  It's the flea market with my sister-in-law, all the while thinking about how much she would have loved going.  It's the green comb from her purse, the one she would take out to comb the kids' hair, especially Madalyn's whose hair is always so stringy.

It's the little things.  The things no one else can see or understand.  Things that can't be explained or replaced.  Things that make the grief process so arduous and painful.  All the little things begin to add up to an overwhelming amount of loss, and no one around me even realizes the pain inside my little smiling head.  I don't fault anyone for that at all.  Because what I have learned about grief is that it is the loneliest emotion a person can experience.  The loneliest most individually unique experience in the life process.  Someone I know may have felt the loss of their own mother, but our experiences will look so different and feel nothing alike.

I've been thinking a lot on this verse in Lamentations.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. {3:21-22}

I wrote an entire blog post about this Scripture over a year ago.  I reread it this morning to refresh my mind on what it spoke to me back then.  Here's what I said after getting less than good results from my mother's scan:
We are not consumed. Not by cancer. Not by nastiness. Not by depression or fear or anxiety. We may be shaken. We may be a little deflated. But we are definitely NOT consumed.

You see, right now, I feel a little consumed.  By sadness, loss, and grief.  But by the Grace and Love of God, my head is still above water.  I have to constantly remind myself that I will see her again, but it doesn't erase how much I miss her.  Nothing erases it.  Not food, a night cap, the kids' laughter, a sunny day... no matter what, that sadness and longing to see her and hear her voice is always there.  I know this is all normal, but I just wonder when it will be a little bit easier.  A little less painful.  A little less consuming.

Right now, when I look at that passage, I focus on another word: hope.  Therefore, I have hope.  Hope in a God that works it all for the good for those that love Him.  Hope in the Creator that has a plan laid out for me.  Hope in a Savior that has already paid the ultimate price for my soul so that I can see my mother and my grandmother again.  Hope in the grief process, that it plays itself out, and that one day, I will wake up and hurt just a little less.  Funny how my mother's active cancer made me focus in the word consumed, but her death left me drawn to the word hope.  Seems right the opposite as it should be, but it makes perfect sense if you really believe in heaven.

For now, I will continue to get through each day, one day at a time, trying to keep my focus on the one true Hope.


Ora said...

I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this. It just sucks. I know.

Kristin said...

My heart hurts for you. Again and more. I can say that you will wake one day to find that the hurt, while still there, isn't quite as intense. I remember asking a friend when it would stop feeling like I was suffocating under the weight of loss. There are still times when that really painful shock comes over me again, but not near as often as it used to. Much love to you.