Cancer took another life.
He was only an acquaintance but always had a great smile no matter what happened.
It was an inspiration to witness.
His family needed him…
But I believe God has even a greater purpose.
Cancer’s score card added another tally. I am angry at Cancer. I hate it’s thievery with a vengeance!
I feel frightened as it steals yet
another innocent life.
I am sad.
Christmas time can be hectic and bothersome or
it can be quiet, soothing, and precious.
My friend’s life deserves the honor of the latter as I reflect on her goodness.
Today I play carols on low so I have to make an effort to really listen.
Today I wrap gifts slowly and think with gratitude about the person I am giving to, and smile that they are in my life.
Today I will bake and fill my home with soothing aromas of the season then eat comfort food and savor the taste.
Today I will hug my pillows before I fluff making the beds.
Today I will sit and look at my Christmas tree without any noise.
Today I will feed my forest family and take a walk no matter how frosty I feel, and smell the air, and thank God for the beauty of the earth right in front of my eyes.
Today I will listen to the dryer sound, sweep the floors and fold the socks and feel life in my home in the messes.
Tonight I will tuck my children in bed and lie awake and listen to their breathing.
Today I will place trust in my God who is in charge.
Today I will Believe
and hold tightly to Christmas…
in all its goodness and peace.
my dear ones.
Please hear my words, even though I am tongue-tied
at what I am trying to express to you.
Many years ago, the Savior of the world
suffered and died for you, and me.
It makes my heart broken to think of it.
We celebrate it now, at the beginning of new life called Spring— At Easter.
But what does it all mean, really?
It is so hard to stop and think about it, and truly understand.
It is the most important moment of all existence!
Too bad we don’t really get it!
Put simply, our Heavenly Father adores all of us so much but is so pure and special and holy that we cannot come back home to his presence unless someone who is like HIm and just as pure, takes all of our imperfections and somehow, miraculously transforms our ability to be able to return home and be with that loving Father in Heaven, once again.
Does that mean we were once with Him before….
And somehow in that “before” place there was a plan which was carried through by this precious soul, named Jesus Christ?
That pure soul volunteered to experience every feeling, every problem, every sin, every torture, every illness, every bad choice, every single imperfection that has and will ever exist caused by the fall of Adam then be tortured for us, and then restore our chance by allowing us to have hope to live eternally. Then be Resurrected to show there is life after we die and we CAN live with Heavenly Father once again!
I know sweethearts.
It is hard for me to fully grasp the intensity of it, too.
Perhaps it is too hard.
But if someone saved your life or saved the life of someone you love. what is the best way to show your appreciation and respect for that person? To remember them always. And not only remember them but to try to be like them. And keep trying to learn more about them.
Let’s take it slowly and think of only today since it is the peaceful day after Jesus’ death.
Today is the middle moment, when the tears have been cried out after the agony of the Atonement and Crucifixion represented yesterday. Anger, as the ones who loved Him, must be pushed to a far away moment of grieving.
It is the time to be silent. The time to reflect on that life once inside that empty lifeless body which now has gone.
It is time to work.
It is the last time to respectfully touch and gently clean and prepare that body similar to that time long ago, in a manger when HE first arrived.
It is the last time to kiss and caress, say expressions of affection and to shed a few more tears, to say good-bye…
close the tomb.
Not realizing something WONDERFUL is brewing heavenward.
Today is the day when the spirit of the one who has gone on, lingers quietly around those He loves. His presence is felt in the quiet whispers of mourning, the silent ponderings staring into empty spaces of the soul, in embraces of comfort, in rest from emotional exhaustion.
The work is complete.
The burial is over.
It is time to return back to life and try to make sense of death once again.
To try to live life without someone who has changed your life forever…
exactly in the same way
every single morning opens
Wait, just one more time to visit the burial scene in the early morning to find comfort from the loss.
Where is Jesus Christ?
He shows us HE lives.
The promise is complete.
We have HOPE for eternal life.
What else does this say?
Spiritual Death from the presence of God has been conquered
we can return to live eternally with him once again.
Don’t you see…
Death is not the end of all who die.
Our lives had a purpose long before and has long after this life is done.
We have a Father in Heaven who loves each of us
and waits for us to join him in the heavens!
Sit close my dear ones.
If there is one thing to discover
even though it is difficult to grasp.
Jesus Christ really did this.
And now what we do with this act
of the purest of all love,
up to us!
Last year at this time everyone was bustling with the Christmas rush but I felt I was on a conveyor belt being moved by the push of the season, going through the motions but my head thinking of one thing.
I remember a time so vividly holding my fresh new babies in my arms close to the lighted Christmas tree in the quiet moment of an evening feeling a swell of emotion knowing all the wonderful years of Christmas celebrations were ahead.
But what about the other thought. The thought that I was trying to push far from my mind but kept resurfacing. This would be my mother’s last Christmas. The last Christmas! I remember rubbing her feeble hand, my heart breaking. NO! I don’t want it to be! This woman who lived the Christmas spirit every single day of her life. How awful to think she had to leave the world and not have Christmas ever again! This thought troubled me greatly.
But it came true. It was her last…
This Christmas I am squeezing on so tightly so it won’t go away like so many things in my life have done this past year. I have lived 2014 numb and heart broken but I am determined not to during Christmas time; for my husband and kids,…for Santa Claus… and for mom! It is my mother’s spirit I feel in everything I do, in everything I think of. I sometimes imagine she is standing next to me as I move along in a hurry trying to do all the things I expect of myself to do for the season. I think she is trying to whisper to me to slow down and to enjoy what is most important; family.
But just recently, I know she whispered something new to me.
Something I take as my choicest Christmas gift.
“My Darling Girl!” I can hear the words pass my ears and travel deep inside my soul. “There is no such thing as a last Christmas! Christmas began in Heaven! Christmas is celebrated even grander in heaven than on earth. The Angels sing! All creations celebrate this blessed event. A precious gift was given by our Father in Heaven to bless ALL of His children. Jesus Christ was born! That is why the earth feels holy at this time. That is the true miracle of Christmas. It is the memory of LOVE by our HEAVENLY FATHER!”
I can hear her say, “Daddy and I are celebrating right along with you. Listen and feel with your heart, and you will know we are close by. Very very close…My big ‘ole arms are hugging you tight!”
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LAST CHRISTMAS!
CHRISTMAS BEGAN IN HEAVEN.
NO ONE CAN TAKE IT AWAY!
THAT THOUGHT BRINGS ME GREAT PEACE!
Journal Entry (6 weeks)
Last night I was stricken once again with insomnia. Thoughts churned and churned and emotions came to the surface. I touched my mother’s “jammy” top which is now tucked under my pillow, instead of wearing it under my clothes. I thought about how everyone keeps saying nice things to me, “Oh your mom was almost 90, she lived a wonderful life.” or “Oh your parents are together once again.” or “It is so good your mother is not suffering any longer” These are all great statements to hold on to and deflect the loss of death and spin it to a positive and then move on–for Pete’s sakes.
What doesn’t ever get said is that I am actually suffering the loss of an actual human being. A space once taken up on the earth that is no longer there. This human being was a physical presence in my life every single day!
I am now facing every single day as an ENTIRELY new experience without that person there. She is GONE!
She was there for 55 ½ years and 21 days and now she is gone…
The space that once held her on earth is empty.
She was my friend
besides being my mother.
She was my friend as I toddled through the halls of the yellow house, playing in the toy drawer under the oven and she would sing with me.
She was my friend when I colored in a coloring book on the bar as she chopped salad, or washed the dishes with that hand towel on her shoulder and we would talk of important things to a five year old.
She was my friend when we sat next to each other every night at the dinner table and I put my meat fat on her plate because I didn’t want it on mine.
She was my friend in high school when I began to menstruate, went out on dates, and cheered me on as a gagging song girl.
She was my friend when I was the only child home and spent a lot of hours with my mom and dad; even traveling together.
She was my friend while I vomited every pregnancy or when we sat on the floor as little ones crawled over our legs, played outside, or swam in the pool.
She was my friend when I’d call to vent about how tired I felt, how great something was, or just when I needed to be mothered.
She was my friend as I counted the very days to leave for summer and travel clear across country to see her and swing on her swing.
She was my friend even as I watched her grow older and slower and sicker and I wanted so much to take those things away from her.
We listened to each other; we laughed, and cried together often. We shared millions of moments as friends do!
She was my dearest girlfriend.
And although she is happy someplace else,
I am feeling that huge empty space where she once stood on the earth that filled my life with a precious, trusting friend.
Yep, she’s happy. But do you know what—I am still sad.
I am lonely for her. I am still grieving for ME.
I am the one who wakes up every morning knowing she’s not there to talk to on the phone or come home to this summer and every summer from now on, or run to when I need her. Where do I go now?
I know she’s so happy to be with Dad. That is a nice comfort. I believe she is busy, she’s walking, she’s alive, she’s all good in heaven.
But I am still here—on the earth, in the same life, waking up each day being starkly reminded that my mom is not here anymore. My best friend is not here.
I will keep agreeing with all of you that she lived a wonderful life, that she is alright, and all is well—but do you know what—
I am not alright.
I am the one left now; left behind to face life without my life-time best friend.
I am feeling that loss every single moment of every single day.
One day mom explained to me how it felt when her own mother passed away—She said, “It created a huge hole in my heart which could never be filled.”
There it is….
My hole is deep and empty and although I will live my life seeking joy and thanksgiving, and stay busy every single second, I shall always always walk on earth, now, with this gaping hole right here in my heart because I don’t have my best friend and mom today to talk to, or come home to any other day I live here.
AND That is why I feel different than you!
There are plenty of directions on birth!
No one gives directions on death.
It is not as fun.
Here is my new learners manual on the subject.
You are welcome to use it because some day you will need one…
Learners Manual on Death
(Or at least for the one’s staying behind)
1. DO MORE: When I tell you my loved one has just passed away, your instinctive reply is, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” But here is something to add when you say those words: Touch me. Put your arms around me and hug me. If you don’t feel comfortable, do it anyway. If that is too much closeness for your comfort then touch my hand or arm and don’t let go right away. Do one thing more that connects you to me than only “those sorry words.” I am hurting and need human warmth. I am sad. I feel alone and lonely right now, and touch is the remedy.
2. SLOW MOTION: Life does go on but not for me–right away. I am in slow motion as the world is on fast forward. Be patient with my brain and my emotions for awhile. Maybe even a long while. I am in a fog. I am trying to adjust to earth life without my loved one taking up that space they once did. There is a lot to deal with around death that isn’t about my loved one. Distraction is necessary and sometimes good, but don’t forget this is really all about an actual person who died and is gone. I am mourning them gone and out of my life. It is my loss. That won’t take a few hours or days or perhaps even years to get over. I may never get over it!
3. REMEMBER: When you talk to me and ask me how I am, please ask me to tell you something I remember or love about the person who just passes away. Please let me reminisce. I don’t want to forget them! I want to talk about them. One thing I have been doing to help this for me is write in my journal one or more memories that I am thinking about each day about the deceased. That is a strange word…the deceased. No, it’s my mom–once a human, my friend that was always there, now an angel.
4. HONOR: If you notice I am gloomier than normal and don’t seem to find much joy in life that is alright for some time. I want to honor my loved one and engaging too quickly back into life makes me feel that I am being disrespectful. It feels strange and uncomfortable.
5. SOOTHES: Allow me to do the mundane things of life which are routine and normal for me. This soothes me. Especially allow me to move at a slower pace. That makes me feel safe. Don’t make big changes! Don’t plan a big trip or do something completely out of the ordinary to “get me out of my mood.” I am not ready. I want to wrap myself up in a blanket and hibernate. I will be ready in the future but not just yet. Don’t make me in charge of anything big or give me gifts…it is all too much for me right now. I am dealing with a change that takes time to process!
6. REST: Let me rest. I am emotionally exhausted.
7. COMFORTS: If I don’t act hungry, possibly comfort foods will soothe me a little.
6. SLOW DOWN: Letting go is a process and should not be hurried. That goes for my loved one’s things too. I may not be ready to clean out the closets or even throw away food that was eaten by them. Everyone travels at a different time frame to the steps of grieving. Allow each family member or friend to go through the process in their own time. Allow me that because I am going to do it anyway.
7. TALK: Children need to be talked to. Silence makes them more afraid. Explanations of death can be a sweet bonding moments. But allow me to tell my children that I am sad and feeling a hole in my heart. They can help me feel better. It is important for them to learn strategies of coping. This is best with a little communication, not ignoring it.
8. WEARY: Check in with me often. Write me a little note. Come over even if I tell you I am fine and don’t want company. Go with the flow and don’t overstay. I am emotionally exhausted and weary to the bone. But I need you to notice me and don’t leave me alone too long.
9. BLAH BLAH BLAH: Don’t overdo with the cliche’s or joke too much. They divert the emotion but after awhile they begin to grind at my nerves and I get sick of you.
10. STORIES: They say TIME heals. I want to remember. But I know the most important thing to do after my grieving has ebbed is to turn around and walk back into life and love it even more. Hug more, listen better, slow down and notice, enjoy simple things, feel more grateful, trust in the Lord, expect miracles, and keep a wiser perspective on what is truly important. Death scares the heck out of me. But death reminds me about something precious too, I am still alive. I am still here to offer the world something unique! Remember the sweetness of past memories but move on and get writing my own wonderful story and don’t forget to listen to the whispers of those who have gone on because they are watching and helping me along that journey.
11. COMPASSION: When you tell me you lost your loved one. I will say I am so sorry. But I will hug you because my heart understands how you feel, the hole is still there from my own loss.
12. TRUST: Trust God. He made up death. It’s really opening that door back home to HIM where I began.