September 5, 2013

Grieving...but I have hope.

Hello my precious friends. This is going to be  hard post to write and I have no idea what I am going to say.  I actually need to go to bed but instead I find myself sitting down to do this post and I am not sure why.  I suppose that writing has always been a way for me to express myself.  I have this need to put my emotions into words so that even I can understand them better. These past few weeks have been a tremendous game changer for me but I am not sure how to articulate in what ways.  But I am going try.

My life was changed two weeks ago when my mom passed away suddenly. It is long story with lots of details but in short, she had been struggling with diverticulitis.  She saw many doctors who put her on oral antibiotics but after going to the ER with pain, they sent her home with a possibility of a blockage and had her to do a prep for a colonoscopy later that week.  During this prep, she was in tremendous pain and after a scan, believed she ruptured her intestine and was in septic shock.  They did emergency surgery but she went into shock again, her organs started failing and she passed away. She was 63.

I have to say that this has rocked my world.  When my grandmother passed away last summer (my mom's mom) it was easier to grieve.  I miss her but she was 92 and led a long, blessed life.  Mourning her was made simpler by a quicker acceptance of her death.
But my mother's death has been nothing short of devastating.  I could walk you through the deep, personal details and all the skeletons in my closet but it would take a lifetime of posts.  This surprising turn of events has left a hole in my heart that may never go away.  Mourning the death of someone this close has been surprising.  I never expected to go numb after the funeral and wondering why I felt nothing. Or to suddenly one day have all the pain fill my thoughts and heart without warning.

Tuesday was that day.

It was actually the first day of school for my girls. And it started out a bit chaotic.  A little of rushing. Picture taking.  Forgetting things.  Some tears.  Tummies filled with butterflies. But after getting them to school and kissing them a thousand times, I arrived to an empty home.  So I washed breakfast dishes, and prepared our school room for the following day.  Then I decided to bake some goodies for my girls since they had a rough start, I figured I would give them something to smile about.

And as I scooped flour into a measuring cup, a rush of all my emotions came out of nowhere.  And I began to sob as I combined ingredients.  My thoughts became consumed with regrets, immense loss, what ifs and if onlys.  I had promised myself not to walk in regret but I am human.  Vulnerable and fragile.  And those thoughts are normal but the pain is so acute now.  My mom is gone. I will never be able to call her and ask her for her cooking expertise (she is a gourmet cook and I am so not one), or tell her about her grandbabies, or hear her laughter, or visit her. I began feeling guilty for living so far away, for letting trivial things in the past become reasons to not speak, for grudges that are absolutely ridiculous now.  I ache that if God ever blesses us with another child whether through adoption or biological...she will never hold them in her arms.  I will never hug her again, or hear the sound of her voice telling me she loves me.

And most importantly...I will live the rest of my life not knowing what she believed about eternity.

Oh my broken heart.

I can honestly say that I am living and breathing each day knowing my God and King holds me in the palm of His hand.  That He covers over me with His love and perfect peace.  He is sustaining me as I walk this strange and unreal road.  So obviously I have had no desire to post.  I feel even guilty for life moving on.  I am sure so many of you have endured this same painful journey. Its surreal at best.  But our church has loved on us with meals and more prayer then you can imagine.  I am so thankful for my friends and most of all for them standing the gap for us.  Especially those first few days where I didn't have the strength to pray.
I just need you all to know I am doing fine.  I find that I am surprised that I can wake up and eat breakfast, make dinner, laugh with my family, and do the mundane things like laundry or school work with the kids.  Yet I wonder at the absurd normalcy of it all.  That life goes on while my life will never be the same again.  But I do have hope.  Hope in a God who loves my mother more than I ever could.  Who I believe was in constant pursuit of her soul until her last moment and can do immeasurably more than all that we can ask or imagine.

I am also thankful to have delivered her eulogy and stand before her precious friends and family and share the wonderful things about my mom. But also to challenge a room full of people to live a life not wasted. I shared a "Come Before Winter" message.  Have you ever heard this preached in a church?  My pastor does this each year and  it is referencing when Paul, in 2 Timothy 4:21 urges Timothy to “Do your best to come before Winter.”  At that time, Paul was in prison and urging him to come quickly. In those days, you could only have passage through the Mediterranean from spring to late autumn.  After that, the winter weather conditions and ice made it treacherous and unsafe to travel by ship.  We don’t know if Timothy heeded this request but if Timothy did not, he would have missed Paul because he was executed for his faith before the spring came.

***This is a message about doing what we ought to do. Now.  And I’m not talking about a vacation, a home renovation, or a sale at the car dealership.  I am talking about relationships. People.  Because when we come to the end of our lives, we never ask for our possessions.  We ask for our loved ones to surround us.  Yet we take for granted these precious relationships every day. Oh, we have good intentions.  To make that phone call, to write that letter, to visit that friend or family member, to reach out to someone when it’s hard but fearful how they may react. But procrastination is the destroyer of good intentions. If you know what you can do…DO IT NOW.
-Repair a relationship that is broken.
-Extend kindness instead of merely tolerate that hard to love person.
-Seek forgiveness for a person you have hurt or wronged.
-Forgive that person who has wronged you.
-Break that habit that holds you in bondage and alienates you from the people who care
-Stop and look your children in the face and actively listen
-Spend that money on a plane ticket instead of saving it for something that perishes and is only of this world

My mom and I had our ups and downs over the years.  But in the last few, we had come to a beautiful place. Her last visit was so wonderful and I was so elated that our relationship was becoming close.  And just a few weeks ago, after a visit with my in-laws that was so special my husband and I sat down and discussed that this year we are going to make a concerted effort to visit all of our parents this Christmas.  We planned on driving up and staying at all three houses .  We talked about doing this last year but I put it off.

But my best intentions were too late. I promise you I will not make this a guilty place of regret.  But rather to be purposeful about living a life not wasted.  Francis Chan said a quote that has always struck me…”Our greatest fear should not be fear of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
I don’t want to waste another moment. To say the things that needs to be said and not worry about being rejected. To spend the time with people I love and make every effort to let them know I love them. To play with my kids instead of clean the house, to reach out to a neighbor I don’t know, to laugh off what I take too seriously and take seriously what I laugh off.

For those of you who may not know me well…I gave my life to Jesus Christ almost 17 years ago and I never looked back.  My poor mother thought I joined a cult…bless her heart.  We laugh about that now.  My mom watched as my faith has sustained me through extremely hard times and He is sustaining me now.  He is my comfort and my strength.  I have never understood how I can walk a path such as this with the incredible hope that I have in Him.  I can do nothing without God and Anything with Him.  He is my joy even when I am in pain and He is my strength in times of utter weakness.

And though I am emotionally spent, I know I can keep walking this path of life with confidence that God will always go before me. Even as I ache for one more moment with her.

Oh, how I miss her.  I will miss her hugs, her smile, the way she was only person on the planet I would let call me Jessie and every time she did, I felt loved.  I will miss her emails where she would type the whole message in the subject line because she couldn’t be bothered to title the message.  I will miss how she used to tell me no one could make her laugh like I could; it always made me feel special.  I will miss telling her I love her and hearing it back.  I will miss seeing her with my children and how much they loved her and she loved them.

Most of all, I will miss the fact that I can’t make any more memories with her and memories is all that I have. In James chapter 4, it tells us. “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

The death of my mother was so sudden, so unexpected.  It has completely shown me what the bible says…life is indeed but a vapor.
Though I would give anything to have my mother back, I am thankful she has taught me to “Come before Winter.”  To not let any opportunities become missed opportunities that I will never get back.  To love with abandon the people around me and to do what I can…NOW.
Even in death my mother has helped me to choose life to the fullest.  What a gift she has given me and I pray it is a heritage I can give to my own children.  No regrets. Just making the most of every opportunity we are given. ***

So I just wanted you to know.  It seemed odd not to share it with all you precious friends.  I hope that you come here not to just see pretty things I make  (though I hope you do) but to know me. The good, the bad, and even the nitty gritty things of life.  The above info between the *** is actually an excerpt from my eulogy. I hope it encouraged you and helped you in some way to maybe see the people in our lives a little bit differently.

Love to each of you.  I will be back soon with some creative inspiration. 

35 comments:

  1. Oh Jessica, I am so sorry. I know there are no right words, so let me just say I was praying for as I read this and I will continue to pray for you.

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    1. Thank you sweet, sweet friend. Your prayers mean everything to me. :)

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  2. There is no pain like losing your mother. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your heart and faith in the Lord.

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    1. Such compassionate words. Thank you for showing me some love and encouragement today.

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  3. I am so sorry for your loss! I hope that the good memories of your mom will help to ease your pain.

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  4. I'm really sorry for your loss because I've also been down that road. Take heart dear. xoxo

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    1. Thank you for such sweet understanding. I am so sorry you have walked this same road but you are a dear for showing you care. xoxo right back!

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  5. sorry I posted as anonymous. this is me janesiriusphotography.wordpress.com

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    1. I literally meant to write my above message here. Sorry! :)

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  6. Oh Jessica I am so sorry to hear of your loss, I can only imagine what you must be going through. I am glad though that through this you can see a glimmer of hope and I applaud your bravery to seize life with both hands and make it count. I appreciated your honest post, I need to not take things for granted so much and really enjoy what I have, so thank you for a heartfelt reminder.

    Sending warmest hugs to you and your family, Estelle xx

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  7. I am so sorry for your loss. I too have lost my mother and the pain is still sometimes unbearable, even after almost 19 years. I remember having to drive home from the hospital after learning of her death. God drove me home that day because there was no way I could have driven safely, for I was crying out so loudly, whaling! I can not explain the pain I felt that day. My Mother was sick for 2 years and her death surely ended her pain and suffering of the cancer from which she so bravely fought. Not once did I hear her question, "Why me Lord?" I hold that dearly in my heart. There is no one like our Mother. I know one day she will be greeting me with open arms. Until then I cherish all the good memories she provided me and my family. We have to continue living life to the fullest for our husband and children. They need us. God is there every step of the way. I am so glad your Faith is strong. I will keep you in my prayers. Hugs!!!! Laura

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    1. Oh Laura...I hate that we have this in common but I am greatly comforted knowing you understand my heart and pain. Hugs right back sweet Laura!

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  8. Oh how hard!
    I know your pain, sweetie!
    I lost my mom when I was in my early 20s.
    Thank you for letting us know what you're going through.

    The Lord loved your mom while she was walking this earth
    and He loves her STILL!

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  9. "May the God of all peace keep your heart through Christ Jesus, our Lord"....I am asking Him to wrap you in the warmth of His embrace and fill you with His joy unspeakable and full of glory...Momma-daughter relationships are so unique and can be intense :)My dear Momma has been battling cancer for 2 years now and has only given glory to God..what a testimony..and I am the Momma to two girls ages 21 and 14...My heart fully goes out to you and my prayers..thank you for this timely reminder..the Lord bless you...Becky J abcjones@comcast.net

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    1. Becky thank you for your precious prayers! I need them so much! I am so sorry to hear about your mom and will also be praying. Your words truly warmed my heart tonight.

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  10. I am so very sorry. It is a a blessing that you both were able to have the last beautiful visit.
    Praying for you and your family.
    Marie

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    1. Oh Marie...you are so right. I am so thankful for that too. :)

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  11. So sorry.
    Gave my life to the Lord at age 40, am 54 now.
    My Father died suddenly at age 54 when I was 21.

    Thanks for posting this.
    I'm glad you have a church family and your family around you everyday.

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  12. Jessica...my heart weeps for you but I can see that you are taking all the lessons...the love...the ups and the downs of your life together and you become a stronger and even wiser person than you were before. Mom's have a way of making your feel comforted even if they are not there in person to hug you. Just hold onto those good times and bad...you will meet again...what would heaven be without moms and in my case dogs : ) I know the pain of loosing a Mother and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her...mention her or light a candle in her memory (it's just something that we do : ) Tell the loving stories to your children and her memory will live on and on in everyone's heart. I am sending tons of hugs...prayers and hope to you and yours family and throwing a kiss to the heavens where you Mom just might be having tea with mine about now and of course a piece of decadent chocolate cake as there are no calories in heaven. She smiles upon you and you don't have to look any further than your shoulder...she will be there for you always...well until you can hug again : ) God bless you and yours family...much love to all.

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  13. Simply beautiful! I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  14. I'm really sorry to hear this, Jessica. I know, that just sounds trite and not enough, but I am so sad for you. You are a strong, optimistic, beautiful person and Heavenly Father will guide you and love you through this all...
    Your strength and beautiful words are inspiration to others. Wishing you peace.

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  15. Love and prayers sent your way, Jessica...love your sweet heart.
    xoxo

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  16. Losing a parent is one of the very toughest things in life. I am so very sorry for your loss.

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  17. I am praying, knowing this post is going to minister to someone else as well. Praying that it challenges one person to "come before winter" and make this vapor-life count just as you are doing! Praying God receives all the glory, honor and praise as you walk this road of grief holding His hand. Grateful we can talk in person, too, but just wanted to thank you On this forum for using this forum to so beautifully express your grief. Still loving that picture of your mom brushing your hair! She was such a beautiful lady. You are, too.

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  18. I'm so sorry.
    My mother passed away 8 years ago when she was 55. It totally changed the way I view life and made me realize that life is so short.
    I hope you are able to find peace and grace. Your post is a great reminder for all of us that if we love somebody - don't put off the call, the visit, or showing our love for other things that just don't matter in the scheme of life.

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  19. So So Sorry for your loss!!! I know its hard but stay strong.....chin up buttercup!!
    Daisy~

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  20. Hugs to you, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Your words above are so inspirational, I continue to struggle with managing time and relationships, so this really spoke to me. Sending love and prayers your way.

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  21. I am a fairly new follower of your blog - a new friend - if you like :)
    This post has moved me to tears and my heart and prayers are reaching out to you and your family x
    Thanks for your honesty and I hope that in sharing you find some peace x
    ((hugs)) Suzie xoxo

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  22. I only just found you while checking out your wonderful you tube videos.
    My heart goes out to you for the loss of your 'best friend'...cos thats what Mums are (I am a UK girl lol). You are in my prayers dear lady. stay strong and smile through your tears. Is what Mum would have wanted. May she sleep sweetly and RIP xx

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  24. so sorry to hear this. you'll be in my prayers. and thank you for sharing such a beautiful message.

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  25. I have just now come across your blog for the first time. With tears in my eyes, I read about your mom. What a beautiful love you had and will always have for her. My mom passed away just seven months ago and I miss her and have such an empty space in my heart. Praise God that He is with us to help us through. Blessings and hugs to you, my new friend.

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  26. I don't know what to say... I am really sorry.

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  27. Your story touched me in so many ways. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'll be praying for you. You have a good mindset in believing in your creator, focusing on the positive sides of life, and realizing that loss of our loved ones is not easy. Hugs.

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