As of tomorrow, it will be 2 years of missing my mom. On January 19, 2014, she left this earth to be fully restored and sing praises to Jesus forever. Those first few months of missing my mother’s presence felt like the hardest few months of my life. I can remember moments of feeling physical pain because I missed her so much. The idea of not seeing her again felt so foreign. Death was not intended to be part of God’s original plan, which is why the pain feels unmatched by any other experience.
That first year felt like it was going to be rough. My sister and I would talk about going through all the “firsts” without mom. The anticipation of the event was almost worse that how I actually felt. Our imaginations can take us to some hard and dark places. Nonetheless, I’d ask myself – “How is it going to feel without her on Christmas?” Or “What are we going to do on her birthday?” The days leading up to these “firsts” were often times more emotional than the actual day I was anticipating.
Now that I have almost finished the year of “seconds,” my questions are changing. I’ve lived through the first year without mom at Christmas. My sister and I carried over some traditions we loved so much, like making a big deal out of stocking stuffers. The angel that tops my tree could only be one from my mother in all of its fiber optic glory. The first birthday my mother spent in heaven, my sister and I spent treating ourselves to dinner and reflexology – something my mother would have loved. She’s left an imprint on us that can’t be removed.
Questions are arising now that will be firsts for me. This is the year (Lord willing) my husband and I will welcome our first child into our lives. I ask myself, “How’s it going to be without mom?” Or when crazy changes are happening to my body because God is crafting a human inside me, I’d like to ask my mom how it was for her when she carried my sister and me.
I’m realizing that there’s always going to be firsts. Whether my mom passed at the time she did or later in life – there would be moments I’d wish she was around; which is the case for anyone who has lost someone they love. I’m learning that grief doesn’t leave, it just changes.
Grief changes into thankfulness when you remember the lessons you’ve learned. Grief changes to joy when you know the truth of eternal life, God’s grace, and His glorious plan. Grief changes us as we learn to live more compassionately. Moments of sorrow will pass. God’s mercies are new every single morning. Let’s be gentle with ourselves as and each other as we learn how to grieve; after all – there’s no science to it.