Monthly Archives: January 2016

Here’s to Heroism

When our mothers pass away, something happens to us. Now, I am not saying this as a person who felt disconnected from her mom, but as someone who felt she was a huge piece of her mom. While my mom passed 2 1/2 years ago, one of my oldest, dearest friend’s mom just passed on Christmas Eve day. My best friend’s mom passed years ago, and years before my mom would pass. She always used to say that I ‘couldn’t understand’ because I wasn’t ‘part of the club’. Of course, that stopped when my mom died.

We were all close to our moms, all cared about pleasing our moms and making them proud. And we’re all a mess, all in our various places in the grieving process. One thing though, that we all have in common, is that particular loneliness that we all share. To say that we all feel disconnected from the world as we’ve always known it, is a downgrade from how we actually feel. To say that we feel like we’re floating around solo in a black galaxy feels a bit closer to reality.

I visited our newest member Julie, just tonight. The one thing that stands out most is her saying that she could ‘hear her mom’ in her own words. This continues to be the case with me on a daily basis. I am a person who rarely ever displays anger or edginess with a stranger, even though I don’t hesitate with those with whom I am closest. Yet, since my mom’s passing, I find that I don’t have as much trouble standing up for myself or those I love. Sometimes, the words passing through my lips surprise even me, and in some small way, I can feel my mom patting me on the back. I do this without much thought or planning. So to me this feels foreign, more like an out of body experience than my actual life. For Julie, who is naturally more assertive and aggressive, this same thing is taking place, and she recognizes it as the manifestation of her mom. Yet, she asked me ‘why isn’t my mom communicating with me?’. This is a question I receive frequently.

My answer is simply that, it isn’t time for her to communicate. That time will come. In those everyday life decisions, where you have no idea how to react, just ask. She will come surging through your veins and mouth quicker than you can think it through. It’s at that moment that you will know, that in her own way, she is there. Really, she never fully left.

While it may have been her ‘time to go’ because she was exhausted, tired from the fight to sustain life, she knew (and loved you so much) that you could not completely release her. That’s when the Holy Spirit stepped in, disguised as her, to comfort you with her spirit. Years after my mom’s passing, I only believe this more intensely. I am constantly comforted by this. It’s as if her love for me remains, even though her spirit has flown away in bliss.

This has become my understanding of God, and Heaven, life and death.

We all grieve differently. Absolutely. No two people grieve the same. But we are all sent the Holy Spirit as a gift to help us through. There is no time limit for the Holy Spirit.

I dreamed of my mom for over two years, yet when I sold her business, it all stopped. However, when my boyfriend and I went to Ireland, those dreams started up again. It’s as if God knew there was room again, and need again, for the Holy Spirit to sprinkle itself upon the memory of my mom, and all that she was to me.

Death is not the ending of life, but a renewal of the love we shared. I am grateful for this gift. for the comfort and serenity it delivers, and the love and hope it springs. We must do our part. Keep living. Keep breathing. But there will be times, there will always be times, when we feel despair. And for those moments, there is the love of the lost to comfort us. They are not actually ‘departed’. The are simply there on another level, a deeper level, and they will never actually part.

Why Worry?

My mamaw was like many downhome Southern grandmothers who had been raised poor and gone through lots of unspeakable hardships. She worried. Constantly. And about everything.

The sun could be shining, everyone employed, everyone healthy, garden growing, food in the pantry and fridge. Everything could be perfect in our family, but she would seek out someone – a cousin of a friend’s sister’s aunt – and worry about her sad diagnosis at the doctor.

This isn’t to say that she was a ‘negative’ person. Not at all. We would pull over on the side of the road in late spring to pluck daisies and black-eyed Susan’s and make bouquets for neighbors. I can’t remember a single night spent with her that I wouldn’t awaken to the sounds of her singing a beautiful gospel song while she fixed up her famous sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy.

She was so positive in fact, that I can’t see a sunrise, a sunset, or a butterfly without feeling her presence even though she died over 4 years ago.

We’ve all heard it said that ‘worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength’. For the most part, this is true. Like anything else in life, too much worry is bad. But what is worry in the first place but sympathy or empathy ignited by a genuine love of others or self?

Worry in and of itself is not bad because it fills today with a reason to pray, to talk with God, to think about what is on your heart and ask for God’s hand in your life. Should that be the only time we pray? No way! We should always give praise and thanks. But when we come to God as vulnerable, flawed humans asking for help, we are coming to God as naked and raw as the day we were born. This is when we get to experience true closeness to God.

However, like most things in life, we don’t need to dwell in the land of worry for too long. My contention is that worry gets us started in prayer, and that is wonderful, but by the end of the prayer, we should completely give it to God. We do this with sins, with gratitude, with bad memories, but sometimes we surrender to worry and live there forever. This lifestyle spits in the face of Christ. It’s like saying ‘I don’t like what you’ve done with my life, and I’m going to make you suffer through me for the rest of my days’. We’ve all known people like this, right?

Let’s not be that person. Let’s NOT spit in the face of Christ. But let’s do worry. Just a little. A little worry goes a long way in prayer. Just don’t live there! It’s like a houseguest or a vacation – while small doses are appreciated, long stays are overkill. Don’t let worry control you, rather let it guide you gently to prayer.