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The Worst Night of My Life

December 12, 2008

It has been 22 months since the worst night of my life. No, really… the worst night of my life.

I didn’t realize that it was the worst night of my life. I was just enjoying a night off with some friends. Audra Hartke, Sarah Stroer, Kirk Bryson and I were just sitting around Audra’s table and talking when I checked my phone. I had a message from my dad. Weird, that’s REALLY late for my dad to be calling me. My mom wasn’t doing well and we needed to pray for her. It startled me a little bit, but… surely it will be ok. Will it? I couldn’t get worked up about it… I had to just pray and trust. And so that’s what I did… I couldn’t stop praying or thinking about it. I was admittedly rather distracted from what everyone was talking about. I was more or less present, but it was constantly on my mind.

And then I got the devastating news.

February 12th, 2007, my mom passed away. Completely unexpected. When everything SEEMED to be going relatively well.

I have blogged about this a lot in the last 22 months. (Most of it can be found under the “loss” category.) It almost seems like there is nothing left to say. And still, I keep uncovering more pain and more grief, yet to be felt.

It always hurts. I don’t stop missing her.  But sometimes it becomes more painful than the average, day-to-day “my mom is gone” reality.

The last week or so has been especially hard. And, while certain elements of grieving still remain a mystery to me, it’s not too baffling to see why this has been an especially hard time.

The most obvious explanation for my hightened sensitivity to this pain is the simple fact that we’re in the middle of the holiday season. My mom loved Thanksgiving. She wasn’t here. My birthday is in 10 days… she won’t be here. (She was a pretty significant part of the day of my birth, I’d say.) Christmas is in 13 days. She won’t be here. None of it is the same without her.

My dad and I used to go shopping for my mom the day after thanksgiving. Now, we go shopping for her family instead. She’s not here to to receive gifts from us… and she’s also not here to do that Christmas shopping for them. Honestly, we do a terrible job of it. We don’t have a clue what we’re doing!

It has also been snowing. I can’t share that with her. I also can’t share that with one of my snow-loving best friends.

In the months following my mother’s death, this person proved to be an incredible friend to me. He understood grief, and he knew how to support me and how to give me space in the midst of it. Plus… he was just an enjoyable person to be around. The blessing of his friendship extended far beyond “being there for me” after I lost my mom. He is just a really great guy who loves well and who I enjoy a lot. And our friendship profoundly embodied the things that I value most in relationship. I could be myself with him, weakness and all. In fact, I was more easily myself when I was around this person than perhaps at any other time.

Friendships change. Circumstances change. Lives change. And, after months of a truly valuable friendship, we can no longer be friends. That doesn’t really need explanation. I know the story. He knows the story. The friends who most intimately know my life and my heart know the story. And some stories can’t be told in a blog.

In any case, that friendship is also lost. Like my mom was lost.

The final closing of the door on the friendship was actually very recently. And I know that it is a factor in the pain that I am feeling now.

The grief of losing my mom is intense painful by itself. The grief of losing my relationship with this friend is painful enough by itself.  It would be hard to believe how much time I have spent crying and aching and pleading for the ministry of the Comforter over either of those losses.

But the realities of how that friend stood by me in the months following my mother’s death and some of the remarkable things he did to serve me and bless me in that time somehow ties the two deep wells of pain together. Pain that seems as if it cannot be worsened is somehow multiplied when it is met by like pain.

Sometimes I wonder how I am going to keep going, in the midst of the pain. How I am going to continue to say yes to the Lord… how I am going to choose to keep my heart open and alive, rather than shutting down and numbing myself to the pain. How my eyes are possibly going to continue to function properly after crying like that. And then I see the leadership of the Lord and I am reminded of the indwelling Spirit… and I know that He will see me to the end.

I’ve heard it so many times: pain is an escort. And it is so true. I am sitting in a heap of manure… and it is proving to be an incredible fertilizer. A lot of really incredible things have been happening in my heart. And I know that it is worth it. God really does take terrible things and work them for good.

If you think about it, pray for me. (Like… right now… since you’re thinking about it… pray for me. 30-second prayers count!) I could obviously use a lot of that right now. Pain sucks.

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2 comments

  1. Praying that the Comforter softens the sharp edges of your pain. May more and more moments of joy seep in and ease your grief and hurt.

    Mrs. I. : )


  2. Once again, I don’t know you but I thank you for your openness. You know what? Sometimes when I feel immense pain it feels TOO deep–like I must be less of a Christian because no one else could feel it so extreme, right? But when you share things this deep it’s a mirror, a reminder we can be broken and love God all in one breath. I am praying for you.



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