These days leading up to the 20th are feeling a bit eery. I've been thinking back over all that has happened, all that has changed in this past year. There are moments in my days where I feel as though I am walking through quick sand... feeling a bit stuck.
I have found myself remembering small things, small moments, small memories, that have made my mouth curl up in a small smile.
Even though it's been a year I can close my eyes and can almost relive the entire week of Mom's death. Although her body failed almost instantly, her death came over days. Days that allowed me the closure that I would need in the days and years to come.
Those days allowed me to cling to Jesus like I never had before. Those days allowed me to put my life, my utter dependence in the hands of Jesus and the people He put in my path to help me. Those days allowed me and others to say things we needed to say to Mom and to others around us.
Those days allowed me to see that in the darkest, painful valley God was continuing to build my story. A story that would now include a rip that only He could mend. And only in His timing.
Over the past year I have found myself curled up on the bathroom floor when a sudden bout of grief has overtaken me. A small memory has had its way of leaving me in a puddle of tears as I try to go to sleep at night. Or as recently, a small magnet that used to adorn my parent's fridge, found it's way into a care package and left me a tearful mess for days.
Suddenly. Sharp as a knife. Deep as the ocean. Grief lingers. The whole this woman left when she left is far bigger than I ever thought imaginable.
And yet that very reality causes me to thank God.
There was a time in my life when Mom's death might not have left me as it has now. It's only because of God that Mom's death has ripped my heart open and caused pain deeper than I knew possible. It's only because of God that her death has left me wounded. It's only because of God's loving kindness that I am hurting...
God restored what satan tried so hard to destroy... a loving relationship between a mother and her daughter. It's because of God's love for me and my Mom that He choose to take the time to mend what I once thought was too broken.
It's only because of God that the day my Momma died, I was by her side, holding her hand, and so deeply in love with her that her last breath took a piece of my heart with it. Because of God, the day my Mom died, I was in so much pain because of how deeply I loved her.
I recently watched a movie that helped put clarity to my grief. It helped me process some heart stuff like I hadn't been able to up till now. One line in particular gave me words...
I am honored to be hurt by Mom's death. The hurt proves how much I loved her and how much I felt loved by her.
There are holy, sacred moments that I hold very close to my heart from those few days. Moments I will never forget. And there are moments that planted themselves so deep that they will forever be a mark that changed me.
Grace and bitterness entangled themselves together during that week. Love pushed through disagreements. Forgiveness was planted like a tiny seedling. And even in the mess of it all, there was so much beauty.
One beautiful moment for me was as my Dad, my sister and I stood at the front of the church and spoke to the people who had gathered to say goodbye. We each shared. And I will never forget the messy, beautiful moment when my sister took the mic and cussed in her speech. What I loved in that moment was that I felt grace oozing and a heart breaking and through it all she knew she could be honest. I will treasure that moment ~ the moment my heart broke open with the understanding that the church should be a place for the broken and sometimes that means four letter words are spoken from the front of the church.
In Psalm 27:13 David writes, "I believe I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!" In the land of the living? I've come to understand that the land of the living is also full of death. It is out of death that life is really seen. David is pleading for God to save him from death, from the enemies surrounding him that want to kill him. In death we see life.
And even in these revelations I still find myself angry, sad, lost. I many find myself feeling this way for a while. But through these revelations I'm beginning to understand that it's ok. As the movie said, "Pain demands to be felt." My pain demands that I feel it. Feel it and then move through it. Grief like anything in life is a process. It demands time.
During this process of grief I have found myself stewing over a statement I have heard so many times. In the days, weeks and even months following Mom's death I heard from many people, "I'm sorry I couldn't come to the funeral. It was just too hard. I really want to remember Julie the way she was, in a good way." Like a good girl I would nod and say I understood and tell them it was ok. Well I'm calling bull on my own response... It's not ok!
It was too hard for you?!?!?!?!?!?!? Guess what, IT WAS TOO HARD FOR ME! You want to remember her the way she was? Yeah, so do I! So do my Dad and my sister.
Another quote from the movie (actually a common life quote), "Funerals are for the living not for the dead." I look back now to Mom's funeral and I love it. I love the love I felt that day. I love the people I saw and hugged that day. I love the stories people told. I love the truth of my Mom's life. I love what she left behind.
It was the second hardest day of my life. It was and end and it was a beginning. It was...
***movie quotes from, The Fault in Our Stars***
**picture found on pinterest**