Thursday, April 4, 2013

Missing Mama Part One

I still remember exactly where I was standing on this day 7 years ago. I was in my kitchen, chatting happily with my sister and my husband. My kids were still babies. I had a bagel in my mouth when the phone rang. My dad was on the other line, urging me to come home right away. We all knew the call could come any day, but I didn't believe it when it actually happened. "Have Jon drive you over right now." I argued with him, telling him I could drive myself. Why not? The kids needed someone to watch them, and I was perfectly capable of driving. Stressed out and fed up with my arguing, my father minced no words:

"Your mother is dead. Have Jon drive you over right now."

I'd known it was coming. She had been battling for her life for months, but the cancer was taking over. Her small frame was nothing but skin and bones.

But dead?

My mind struggled to comprehend such a thing.

I'd always thought my mom would be around forever. She would know my kids, maybe even their kids. She would retire at 63 and a half and we would go shopping at Target and have lunch together. She would babysit, we would go on vacation together, she would give me advice.


The next few days were a haze as we planned funeral services and memorials. The next few months were a blur as my family and I moved to a different house in a different neighborhood, my sister graduated from college, we went to the beach. I spent the next months, maybe even a year, trying to convince myself that she wasn't just on a long vacation. I would look for her face in a crowd, I would have dreams about her that felt so real. I couldn't believe that I'd never hear her voice again or that she would never write me another note. Sometimes it's the little things that mean so much, only you don't realize it until they're gone.

I wasn't sure I could carry on very well.

I slipped into depression, shrouded in numbness and fog. Medication became my friend, helping me forget the sadness I felt.

I stand here today, looking back on the last seven years with a certain kind of remorse. I needed time to heal. That was hard. I also needed to deal with how I felt. That was harder. All the disappointment, all the bitterness, all the anger, all the fear, all the was locked inside, and I hoped it would never come out.

But pain always has a way of seeping out, of poisoning life with it's bitter taste.

"Time heals all wounds."

There is truth to those words. Of course the pain gets easier to deal with, but the bitter aftertaste is where the danger really lies for me. I was becoming exactly who I didn't want to be: distant, sad, negative and fake. I didn't like the me I was becoming.

Then I discovered the difference between knowing who Jesus is, and a true relationship with Him. It was then that He saved me from myself.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
{2 corinthians 5:17}

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