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Those Moments When it Stings the Most

March 29, 2008

For some reason, the loss of my mom always hurts just a little bit more when I get sick. Those times when you want (or in the case of serious projectile vomiting, need) someone to take care of you. Fortunately, God has blessed me with some incredible friends and I have not been alone in those moments.

For some reason, the loss of my mom always hurts just a little bit more when my relationships are strained. Those times when I just want to be reminded that I am lovable… that there is hope… when I just need someone who will be there for me. Fortunately, my friends have moms too and have shared them generously with me.

For some reason, every day, something disturbs the lingering pain and it hurts just a little bit more.

Weddings and baby showers aren’t very much fun. I still appreciate them for what they are, but it is a difficult joy to experience. The overwhelming feeling of the day is always the absence of my mother. If it was someone she knew and loved, I am thinking of the gifts and extravagant love they are NOT receiving from her that day. I will remember how ridiculously overboard she went in similar situations. I will think of the things that she probably would have given them. And I always end up back at this same painful place: My mom will not be at my wedding or the birth of my children.

My mom loved giving. She gave joyfully and often beyond what she could really afford to give. Whenever an excuse to lavish gifts upon someone would present itself, she went for it, wholeheartedly.

The other night, Sarah was telling me how much Timothy loves the stuffed animals my mom had given them. I tried to hide it at the moment, but it made me cry. I’m not afraid of people realizing that I miss her so much… but I am afraid that they may hesitate to share those things with me in the future, for fear of how it may affect me. I feel that pain every day, though. It might as well have something positive attached to it.

I still can’t bring myself to call other people with the things that I would call my mom about. I KNEW that my mom loved hearing from me and loved being my mom. It is difficult to overcome those feelings of being a burden or inconvenience to everyone else.

I did recently manage to call Rita with cooking questions. Of course… it was a recipe that I had made with Rita several times.

That was a difficult endeavor. First of all, it was the meal that my mom always wanted to eat when we would get together with the Rick and Rita. Second, Rita actually got the recipe from her sister, who had just passed away at the end of December. Third, I was cooking a relatively complicated meal (that I had seriously talked up) for a bunch of my friends. This is a MAJOR area of insecurity for me. Fourth… I was doing it as a way of saying happy birthday to a friend who I care deeply about but have this frustratingly complicated relationship with. I am choosing, however, to believe that cooking is not always going to be that painful.

Darin and Kacie’s approaching wedding has been a baffling experience of mixed emotions. I love them both a great deal and I am very excited that they are about to get married. More than that, I am overjoyed to be able to be a part of that. But it has been immensely painful as well. All of the questions I would be asking my mother, were she alive to answer them. All of the painful reminders that my mom will not be planning my wedding with me or there to answer the abundant questions I will have.

God, have mercy on my mother-in-law.

I don’t know how to grieve well. But I want to.

I know it has something to do with not stifling it… or trying to make it into something it isn’t… trying to make it fit some sort of mold. I imagine that it is something like surfing. As much of a mystery as grieving is, I actually say “imagine” more because of a lack of familiarity with surfing. Grief comes in waves… each of them a little different. And you have to work with what you have while it is there. I’d try to extend that parallel a little further or better elaborate on it, but, like I said, I know virtually nothing about surfing.

People survive deep loss every day. But somehow, I am still somewhat amazed that I have survived this loss. It’s not that my life completely revolved around my mother. It’s not that God isn’t faithful. It’s just a lot… a lot more than I ever thought I could bear.

For most of my life, I lived with a heart that was dull… deadened to the world around me, to shield me from pain. About a year after the Lord began to reawaken my heart and teach me how to keep it open and alive… I suffered the greatest loss of my life. What a time to be learning to feel! It still amazes me that my heart is actually open and alive today. I mean… seriously, It didn’t take much for me to shut it down in the past. I am in awe at the way He has gently led me through this, giving me the strength I needed to keep going and helping me not to fall into those old habits.

Well… here goes another day.

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