It’s hard to lose your mom. I have avoided writing about it because it hurts too much. I am a tumble of mixed emotions -- buoyant memories, sad regrets. I’m trying to cope while working my job and feeling totally disconnected from it. I daily consider quitting or finding a new job or just retiring completely and giving myself over to the pit of grief that is in me, that IS me right now.
Mom told us to check her Bible for what she wanted at her funeral. There we found a list of songs, references to a couple of inspirational readings, and some well-marked verses that underscore why she lived such a life of gentleness and contentment.
The first verse that caught my eye was this:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace… Phil. 4:6-7
A sense of calm always adorned Mom’s demeanor. She was at peace, trusting God. She would shrug her shoulders if things weren’t going as planned – the roast was overdone, the carpet was stained, the bus was late or we were late for the bus. She wouldn’t get flustered; she would just consider what could be done and not waste time on what could not be changed.
She was born in 1922, lived through the depression and the loss of her eight-year-old brother to polio when she was 5, and her mother’s breast cancer when Mom was only 15. Mom lived to 91 -- 76 years without her mother. I like the thought of them being together again.
My parents started first grade in the same small, country school, didn’t date until Dad was home from WWII, and were married on a snowy day in March. Mom carried daffodils.
We are engaged now in the undesirable task of dismantling their home. It is filled with daffodils. Glasses, bowls, plates, ceramics, pictures – the trumpet-like flowers are everywhere, testament to the 64 years they had together.
Those last 22 months without Dad were hard for her. She tackled widowhood as she did other things in life, with quiet grace and an “I can do this” attitude. In the end, though, she just wanted to see him again. We found a container of rose petals in the cupboard, which we think Mom had kept from Dad’s funeral.
red rose petals
saved from sad november past
sprinkled now on her grave
her yellow ones
sprinkled on his
Somehow that just felt right.
I miss you, Mom.
(For inspiring stories of near-death experiences involving joyful reunions with loved ones who had gone on before, read Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven and Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for Real.)
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