It’s been 18 months since my mom passed away and some days are normal, and some days my heart is heavy and I find tears in my eyes not knowing when they squeaked out. My two older kids (Sam 6, and Olivia 3) know my mom died and Olivia asks a lot of questions. “Where is grandma right now?” and “Can she see me?” and of course, “Can she fly?” I answer the best way I know how, wishing I/she didn’t even have to ask these questions because her grandma was right here.
Then about a month ago, Olivia asked me “Is this the last day?” I was driving and thinking about something else and just chalked it up to 3-year-old randomness. But she kept asking, “Is this the last day?” So I responded with “For what?” The last day of cold weather in Florida? The last day Jake has to work this week? The last day you will wake up at 6:30 in the morning?
Then she stilled my heart when she said “the last day before we die.” I told her solemnly, “I hope not. I want to spend many more days with you.”
And some days, this comment seems revolutionary. In the terms of the kids movie Inside Out, her Anger starts blowing its fiery head at my Anger and my Anger responds and we are all left torched, blackened, and exhausted. (If you haven’t seen the movie, go now. It won’t be a waste of time!) Many nights I go to sleep thinking, “How many more days of three year old Olivia do I have to endure?” But that particular day I was grateful for every moment with her.
To live like “today is the last day” isn’t anything new. We hear it all the time. But do we feel it? I propose that if we want to accept that “today is the last day,” (or may be the last day,) we have to strive to have a particular feeling. Peace. Peace that passeth all understanding. (Phillipians 4:7). Peace because you have followed Jesus Christ and in doing that, have loved others like He did. That particular type of peace is all encompassing, but often times elusive.
Recently, I was lucky enough to check an item off my bucket list. I have always wanted to visit the Florida Keys. About a month ago, my family and my husband’s cousin, wife, and kids were all kayaking through the mangroves in Key Largo. It was gorgeous. That night, while lying in our tent, I felt that peace. I had not fought with anyone (that I remember!), I had loved like Jesus Christ loves that day, and I was doing my best to follow Him.
Of course, I’m not eager to have anyone I love have “today to be their last day,” but I am working on having that peace. Working on being a disciple of Christ, and loving like He did. I felt like my mom knew I loved her so much when she died. Her knowing that, and knowing that she knows my feelings right now gives me that peace. Peace because I loved her best I could. And I still do.