January. Most people see it as a new start and a time for new resolutions. Some anticipate that the new year will bring them; luck, money, health and love. But the way I see it? I see it as another year without a loved one.
As I reflect on the past year, I am once again reminded by God on what I was truly blessed with and that is – my faith. A year ago on January 4th, 2015, I received a call from the nursing home where my mom lived that she was unresponsive and was sent to the hospital. She had suffered her 3rd (and what would be her final) stroke. She was exhausted and overall – done. She became responsive after 2 days and was given options from her doctor. She was well aware of her surroundings, the turn of events and who visited her. After discussing with Mom and shedding tears together, she had made the decision to live out the rest of her days according to God’s will.
Hearing that was shocking, numbing, but something a person has to accept. All I kept thinking was, ‘I don’t want my mom to die!’ Then the racing thoughts kick in and I prayed she would change her mind. Or I think it’s all just a bad dream that’s I’ll wake up and everything will be the way it used to be. Like supper every Thursday at Mom and Dad’s house followed by a game of 30 point pitch, while the grandkids watch TV and are excited because they get to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
But NO, this is reality!
Reality is, everything changes; life changes. I was very selfish in my mind, but I never once showed it in front of my mom. Everyone supported her decision. I took care of Mom and graciously made her last days on earth the best I possibly could. From giving her bed baths, doing her oral cares and bed changes, to laying in bed and holding her. These are memories that will be etched in my heart forever.
Mom lived one week, one day after making her decision. She passed away peacefully in the early morning on January 13th, 2015 with my oldest brother, his wife Georgia and me at her side. Watching Mom take her last breath was like when my daughter’s were born – breathtaking. Deep inside I was heartbroken and crushed. A part of me died with my mom.
Will I ever be the same? NO.
Will my grief ever end? NO.
Does life go on? ABSOLUTELY!
Christmas 2015 was definitely my testing point. A holiday that’s always been my favorite proved otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, my heart celebrated the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ)! But honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Instead, I put on my happy face and made it festive for my family. I can shelter my emotions really well at times. I just miss Mom so much and I know she’ll always be with me, but the physical reality of her being gone from earth is so heart wrenching.
A quote I so often read is, ‘Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.’ ~Plato
In a year, not only did my mom pass away, but the selling of my childhood home and all the ‘firsts’ I endured after the passing of a loved one was tough. I dream of Mom every night. I have woken up numerous nights drenched in tears. I sometimes wish I had amnesia so I don’t have to feel this pain every day. But God has a far better plan for me. I truly have a loving and wonderful God who has never left my side. His words and promises keep me going when I want so badly to give up. I am ever thankful for His silence, patience and teaching.
My hope is:
1. That my mom is never forgotten. I fear that one day I’ll forget how beautiful she was and the love and laughter she brought to my life and the lives she touched. I never want her memories to fade.
2. That I can help at least one person who is grieving the loss of a loved one.
I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was a sad time that followed the death of a loved one.
And you had to push through it to get to the other side.
But I’m learning there is no other side.
There is no pushing through.
But rather, there is absorption.
And grief is not something you complete.
But rather you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish,
AND move on.
But an element of yourself-
an alteration of your being.
A new way of seeing,
A new definition of self.