Friday, February 22, 2013

This morning, I read the following words from my copy of Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young), a little book my mother gave me a couple of years ago:

You need Me every moment.  Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength.  You neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence... Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice - deep dependence on Me, or despair.  The emptiness you feel within will be filed either with problems or with My Presence.

How fitting on this day, February 22, 2013, the day that marks ten months without my mother.

I was telling my father last night... just last night... that there's this emptiness within me, within us.  She's gone, and there's a hole.  A void.  A gaping crevice, deep and wide.

The past week, maybe the past two or three, have been some of the most emotional for me.  Can't say why exactly.  It has caught me off guard.  I am thinking more about her.  Dreaming more about her.  Missing her more than ever.  Perhaps it's that the fact that she is really gone has settled in and become more real than before.  Perhaps it's that we are nearing the year mark and I feel my connection with her is fading, fading, fading as the days go by.  Perhaps this is just the way it will always be, a grief that ebbs and flows but never disappears, as large and vast as the ocean that will never dry up and cannot be contained.  I really don't know.

The trees are budding.  The bold purple of the Wandering Jew my mother gave me so many years ago from her own yard to stick in the ground and let it take root is beginning to pop up from the faded pine straw and collection of dead leaves.  The weeds are popping up in the yard, bright and green.  The days are growing longer.  Spring is beginning.  And it doesn't seem right to me that this cycle is starting over without her here.  Maybe that's why I've been so emotional as of late.  Evidence abounds in the world around me all day long that life goes on without her.  And I am still shocked by it.

I am trying to keep my focus on my Savior.  Trying.  He is holding on to me with a firm grasp.  As awful as all of this has been, watching my mother suffer, watching her fade, losing her, I have at least walked away with a steadfast faith that He is always there, always loving me, always forgiving, always providing what I need in every single moment.  And I am so thankful for Him.

Sweet Jesus, keep my mind focused on You and not heading toward despair.  Thank You for holding on to me and never letting go.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Some days begin with raw memories.  Unexpected.  Unwelcome.  I have no idea why, but some just do.  Today is one of those days.

They were wheeling my Mama off to surgery.  A craniotomy, to be exact.  A surgeon would take out a piece of her skull, remove a tumor, and place that thin piece of bone back where it once was.  All surgeries are dangerous, but this one felt different to me.

She hadn't been the same since she had fallen.  She was silly and goofy, uninhibited.  It was funny, sure, but it wasn't my mother.  I feared that she would never be the same.

We weren't sure what caused the fall, but we knew what was in her brain.  A baseball sized tumor had grown inside her head, unexpected and unwelcome, just like the raw memories that pierce my heart from time to time.

The anesthesiologist was at her head, and we were saying our goodbyes before they took her in an elevator to the surgical unit.  And I felt this urge, this need to pray with her.  And so I took her hand and I whispered to my Father and Savior only loud enough for us to hear.  And she heard the words, she felt my fear, and she said to me, "Everything is gonna be okay."  And for a moment, she sounded like my Mama.  Not a brain surgery patient.  Not a woman with a massive tumor in her head.  Not slurred or silly or different.  For a second, it was as it should be.

And I woke this morning with that memory.  And I don't want to think about it.  Not at all.  There's so much I don't want to think about.  Not the brain surgery.  Not the cancer.  Not the last week.  Not the sights or the experiences of the end.  Not the loss.  Not the sadness.  Not the way this still doesn't make any sense to me at all.  Not the fact that I am still surprised I have to remind myself that she is really gone.  Not the way that I wake up on a random Wednesday morning reliving something and feeling the pain in such a different way.

But then there's this tiny blessing of hearing her words in my mind all day.  Everything is gonna be okay.  Everything is gonna be okay.  Everything is gonna be okay.

Oh what I would give to hear them again.  To feel her words drip over me.  To bathe in them.  To cherish them.

One day, Lord, one day.

Monday, February 4, 2013


I've lived 288 days without  my mother.

Seems so strange, even now, to say that.  Without.  It still doesn't seem real in so many ways.

This far into my grief, I am surprised by moments when the weight sinks down into the pit of my stomach and the tears begin to fall.  Random quiet moments when things are calm and settled around me and there's nothing to divert my attention away from the fact that she's gone.

I had one this morning.  I was so shocked by it, so puzzled.  One thinks they can control their emotions and feelings, one believes they have it all together.  And these little moments are proof that we really can't control sadness or grief.  It will not be harnessed or tamed.

I stood in the kitchen eating a bowl of cereal, and that feeling fell down on top of me suddenly and uninvited.  She's not here.  She's really not here.

A few hours later, I was in Madalyn's room cleaning out the drawers of a piece of furniture I am planning on spray painting to go along with her new decor.  I dumped out the contents of one and found something I thought was lost, something Madalyn took with her from my mother's room on the day of her funeral.  It's this little clear rock with a pink ribbon on the inside, and Madalyn picked it out for my mother when she was in the hospital after her brain surgery.  I thought it was lost, but there it was underneath some bathing suits.  It was there all along.

I held it in my hand knowing that she had held it once, too.  And then I whispered, "She really is here."

It's so hard missing her, her very presence in my life, not hearing her voice or words or laughter.  It's so hard to be without my mother, my friend.  So hard not to have her to share something with or to ask a question.  But somewhere, just underneath the sadness and the cruel fact that this world goes on without her in it, she's there.