|My Mother, A Born Leader|
I've experienced that moment already...
On Saturday, February 21, family and friends joined together to reflect on and celebrate my Mom's life. After a difficult illness and weeks of hospitalization, my Mom passed away on Tuesday, February 10. I was there the day she passed. I'd watched her grow more and more ill throughout her last weeks here.
And yet, the reality of my mother's passing - and my Dad's - is taking a while to sink in.
I've even experienced that moment already...
That moment when something happens or something is said or I see something interesting, and I think, I can't wait to tell Mommy about this.
The first time was immediately after her Homegoing Celebration.
And I believe we presented my mother with a service that she would have felt honored to witness. I think she would have been quite pleased.
I think she also would have been amazed at the snowstorm that we all had to fight through to get home after her funeral. I have no idea how many inches accumulated, but our trip to my family's Maryland home took three times as long as it should have. I posted this pic on Facebook with the following caption...
"My view from the funeral home limo on the way to my family's home in Maryland after my Mom's Celebration of Life Service today. This storm gives me pause as I think of my classy, gifted and dignified mother, Merlene Adair. She was a woman of leadership and purpose and everything she did was memorable - even this finale to her homegoing service."So you'd think that immediately following her service, I'd be fully aware that she was no longer with us.
Yet what was one of the first thoughts I had during our drive through the snowy streets of Baltimore?
This storm is crazy. Wait 'til I tell Mom about it...
Every now and then, for a split second, I have a thought like this.
I did it one day this week while watching BET's The Book of Negroes. It was just the kind of movie my mother and I would have watched and discussed afterwards. She'd watch from her favorite comfy chair in her bedroom in Maryland. I'd watch from my favorite comfy chair in my family room in Arkansas. During our next phone conversation we would have talked about it at length.
We had similar tastes -- in movies, in books. We loved to compare notes. And I loved to share my latest good reads with her, and pick them up for her when she'd stopped purchasing them for herself.
Grief is a tricky thing. Sometimes it tiptoes behind you, surprises the crap out of you and nearly knocks you off your feet. Other times it passes you by without the slightest glance over its shoulder.
You never know when it's going to visit you.
You never know how.
What I know for sure concerning grief, after having lost both my parents exactly three weeks apart from one another... Grief must be felt. It must be experienced. It must be lived through.
There are no shortcuts. There are no cheat sheets. There aren't any Cliffs Notes for grief on Amazon.
To escape grief or try to wrap it up neatly and swiftly is futile. This I know for sure.
One of my favorite reads is Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies. In this book on personal faith, she shares a lot about grief -- the grief she experienced after losing her Dad and her best friend Pammy. Here, a poignant sample...
"All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly as possible and as privately. But what I've discovered since is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren isolated place and that only grieving can heal grief. The passage of time will lessen the acuteness, but time alone without the direct experience of grief, will not heal it... It is only by experiencing that ocean of sadness in a naked and immediate way that we come to be healed..."Beautiful words. And so true. We must grieve in order to heal and grow through grief.
And we must stay close to the Father. Even when our prayers are limited and shallow and few as mine are these days. He's still there, loving and caring and healing.
And He's still good.