A month later I’m still trying to grapple with the reality that my mom is no longer a part of my daily life. I’m still trying to accept the reality that she isn’t sitting in the next room. I’m still trying to answer the question, “How did we get here?” When I drove my mom to the emergency room on February 16, I never could have imagined that was the last time she would be in our house, the last time she would sleep in her bed, or sit in her chair. It never really occurred to me that she wouldn’t get better, that she wouldn’t be coming home.
But here I am, walking through this Mother’s Day without my mom. This last month I have tried to find my way through the deepest grief I have ever known. I cry everyday, and some days I think the tears will never end. I have told my husband several times. “I’m just sad.” Sad—it’s such a simple three letter word, but it has never felt more appropriate in my life. When I think about my mom, I have no regrets. We had a really good relationship and I loved being with her. The void her absence has created is immense.
Don’t be misled, sometimes we fought, sometimes we got on each other's nerves, but at the end of the day we loved each other with a deep, true, pure, love. My grief is just as deep, true, and pure. I feel like a piece of myself has been ripped from my heart.
So how do you move forward when a part of your heart is gone?
So how do you move forward when a part of your heart is gone? How do you take the next step when it feels like your breath has been stolen from you? These are questions to which I’m trying to find the answer. I find myself in the middle of a conundrum. My mom would hate to see me so sad. Unending grief isn’t something she would want for me. But how do you laugh, smile, and find joy again when one of the people you most loved to share those things with is gone?
As all of these questions and thoughts have drifted through my heart and mind these last weeks, I remembered the most fundamental thing my mother and father taught me. They taught me that our needs (physical, emotional, and spiritual) will always be met at the feet of Jesus. So in my grief, I found myself opening my bible and being reminded of some of God’s truths. Truths, that although I knew, I had forgotten.
I’ve been reading through a Bible reading plan called Hope in the Mourning and it has given me a lot to think about. When unexpected things have happened in my life, one thing my mom and I would often say to each other was, “This isn’t a surprise to God.” Knowing that God is never caught off guard would give us peace and hope in the midst of the uncertainty. If my mom could talk to me right now, I think one of the things she might say to me is, “Sharon this wasn’t a surprise to God.” God knew the day and time my mom would be called home to heaven. He knew that my mom’s absence here on Earth would break my heart. But I also believe that God has no intention of robbing me of my joy.
“....weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30: 5 NASB
God wants to sustain me and he still has plans for me. This truth also reminds me of one of my mom’s favorite verses (she used to quote it to me all the time). Jeremiah 29:ll says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” God’s plans are not negated because I have a broken heart. He longs to draw me to himself. I think the next two verses, although not quoted as often, may be more important. They say, “Then you will call on me and come to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:l2-13)
When I call out to God, he will listen. He cares about my grief. And he cares about my tomorrows. He is compassionate and doesn’t want my sadness to overwhelm me. He longs to be my refuge, my safe place . I can find shelter underneath his wings (Psalm 91:2, 4).
My grief isn’t going to disappear tomorrow. I know tears are going to follow me for many days into the future. But I know that I am not alone. God is my refuge and shelter and he is not afraid of my big emotions. He has given me an amazing, supportive husband to walk beside me. I have also been gifted with a dear family and close friends to share both my heartache and my sweet memories. I know that a day will come when laughter and joy will outweigh the grief and sadness. This is my steadfast hope and this hope anchors my soul. (Hebrews 6:19)