Cause of Death

March 30, 2007

So, I was going to try to come up with a title that was a little bit more tactful… but really, what’s the point? I often think about that… if I am talking too much about this, or about the kinds of things people don’t want to hear… or if I am phrasing it in ways that make people uncomfortable.

Then I decided to stop. Well, it’ll still come to my mind… and I won’t be completely insensitive. But I am certainly not going to stress about it.

It is what it is. If I’m talking about it too much… well… people will either get over it or give themselves whatever distance they feel like they need. If I say things about my mother’s death that make people uncomfortable, the will grow through their discomfort or potential offense or, again, they will back away. God can shepherd their hearts. He is certainly doing an amazing job with mine.

I was sitting here thinking how much I really needed to be in bed, (and in the process of winding down) when an email from my dad popped up. We finally have a “cause of death”.

Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease (i.e., high blood pressure)

The easiest way to go into any more detail about that would be to quote my dad, but I don’t want to copy huge chunks of his email without asking him about it first. So we’ll just leave it at that.

It’s good to know. It doesn’t exactly change anything. But it’s nice to have an answer when people ask. And, as my dad pointed out, this will eventually be relevant when it comes to my own health stuff (as far as addressing the potential implications of my family medical history, et cetera).

I was really missing my mom tonight, in a very intense way. It has been a really long time since we’ve talked. FAR longer than I was ever accustomed to going without some kind of interaction. How I miss our long talks… our short talks… our random emails. She was a friend unlike any other in my life. She was my mom… and an amazing mother at that. And she is the only one who could be such a mother to me.

So, tonight, I wasn’t crying at all… just feeling it. I feel it every day. There are millions (probably a literal number, there) of constant reminders. I feel it all the time. But tonight was different. I was mostly just thinking about how much I miss her. And the reality that this exceptionally long time since our last conversation and our last hug and our last tearful heart-to-heart will just continue to grow longer and longer and longer.

… Until the day we meet Him in the sky.

Clay has an amazing new song right now called “In a Little While.” It was basically birthed out of Psalm 37:10, but it is Revelation 21. No more tears or death or sorrow or pain or fear. We sing about that coming day, when we will sing in triumph and praise; when there will be abundant life, indescribably joy, and prevailing peace.

Singing this song strengthens me as I cling to that hope. I know that He is faithful. I know that His promises will come to pass. But it also stirs up that cry of “How long?” Yes, He is going to do it, but how much longer until He comes? How much longer until He breaks in and finally executes the fullness of His justice on the earth? Right now, I see tears, death, sorrow, pain, and fear. How long until He comes. Come, Lord Jesus, come!!!

The writer of Hebrews stated it truly: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…”

I’ve never known peace like this before. Seriously. God is doing some pretty incredible things within me right now. It’s almost amusing… that I could be so confident and so at rest right now… when everything in my life seems to have been violently shaken and then finally set back completely up-side-down.

I am learning to rest. I am learning to lean. I am learning to trust. I am learning to wait. I am learning to truly hope. And what a peaceful place it is!

I continue to sit in the tension of the promises unfulfilled and the future yet unseen. I definitely feel it. But I have never believed Him so fully.

I did eventually cry tonight. Just after I read my dad’s email, I cried and I cried hard. It was one of those times when there are very few things that I seem capable of saying, even to God “Oh, God, it hurts!!” Followed by weak confessions: “I love You. I trust You. I am grateful.”

My heart is alive. God is good. My heart is hurting. God is not changing. I am happy, hopeful, and joyful. God’s promises will be fulfilled.



  1. Quote away. But please realize that I wasn’t writing for a larger audience so be kind if you think I sound stupid (i.e., edit to make it clear or whatever, if it seems exceptionally illiterate). I don’t mind transparency, though, so share whatever–I trust your judgment. Hmmm, that’s interesting. Baggage, I suppose: don’t mind looking like a fool but not willing to look stupid. Oy.

    I love that you’ve embraced the ambiguity and that you express it so well. This whole thing sucks and it hurts, well, like hell (offending any religious spirits?) but there is extraordinary grace here, too. I was just thinking last night: “We’re paying the price; we might as well enjoy the ride.” I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I have to believe it does to someone other than just me. It’s almost embarrassing to experience such gratitude and joy in the midst of such gut-wrenching sorrow, but, as you say (and as I’m fond of saying myself–you know how I like it when that happens :-)): it is what it is.

  2. Hi Christine,

    I don’t think you’re talking about it too much. (Like my opinion matters a lot here, but, well, you know…) I have been very impressed with how transparent you’re willing to be, and am totally blessed and awed to read what is going on in your heart. You are walking through something so hard with such dignity and faith, it builds my faith to read about it.

    I have read all your posts, but it always seems inappropriate to leave a comment, because it is all so personal. Everytime I read one, though, I learn something new about the depth of a life of peace and faith in Jesus that is possible. I’m also growing to love you, even though we’ve only spent a matter of minutes actually face to face. I hope that doesn’t seem weird. It’s just that you are allowing us to see so deeply into your heart, and what is there is so precious.

    So, for what it’s worth, I say blog away! You’re doing an awesome job of processing and adjusting to your new circumstances, and I count it as an honor to be allowed to come vicariously along for the ride.

  3. Dad – Hmmm, I seem to have some remarkably similar baggage. (Might we have obtained them as a matching set, or at least from the same company/source?) Why is it that I so dread looking stupid?

    I like the way you put this: “It’s almost embarrassing to experience such gratitude and joy in the midst of such gut-wrenching sorrow” Yup…

    Dorean – Thank you. It is an honor to be able to give of what God has given me. His tenderness, His leadership, and His comfort in the midst of this have been amazing. It is only by His incredible grace that I have hope and peace at all. Perhaps something of the hope will somehow be contageous. And maybe… just maybe… someone reading this will find that bit of encouragement they need to REALLY trust the Lord with their heart. He is certainly proving that I can trust Him.

    Oh… and… it’s been more than a few minutes. Back in 2005 some time (maybe December?), your family came to visit Amanda. Yall let me join you in a game. It was one of those quick-response slap-the-cards things. I’m horrible at those. So, if you have a vague memory of a girl with really slow card-slapping reflexes, that too was me. (I tend to remember really random stuff sometimes.)

  4. Yes, I remember that game. I even remembered it was you we played with. It was a hoot, wasn’t it? We’ll have to have a rematch one of these times! (Just so you know: the list of things you and Brian share continues to grow. Fast reflex games aren’t his thing, either!)

  5. i love you and i love what the Lord is doing in you. the you i met a little over a year ago and the you i sit and drink tea with weekly are two somewhat-same but very hugely different people. you have grown so incredibly-whole-bunch-of-much in such a short period of time, and truthfully, it is because you chose to do so. i have watched you these last few months in particular as you chose to seek the blessing in disguise or the grace in submitting to a slightly unpredictable God (his promises are sure, but his executions are always intelligently crafty), and i have never been so proud to know you and be able to witness your maturing. you bless me. you encourage me. you spur me on. and you call me higher when i am in desperate need. i thank God for you and pray he refresh you for all that he’s putting you through as he grows you into all that he made you to be.

    you really are doing a great job with living your life. people don’t get to hear that often, so when i see it happening and know it to be increasingly true, i think it is always appropriate to throw it out there… bless you, christine. amen.

  6. Hello Christine:

    I am a cousin to your mother. We grew up together in PA. I have not talked to her in years. I am very saddened a at the thought that she has passed. I would love to talk to you and do not think a blog is the right place.

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