I’ve previously written about the amazing sunset that appeared over my parent’s house the day Mom died. I recently shared the photo with my Mother-in-Law. As I displayed the photo in front of her, she immediately exclaimed “Do you see it!” At that instant my eyes fixated on the purple image just above the tree line.
Do you see it?
Can you see the image of Jesus with outstretched arms? His robes gently falling from His wrists. His glory illuminated above His head.
The day before Mom passed, she continuously chanted the word “Ohhhh…” followed by the name of a family member who had already gone to be with the Lord. She continued the roll-call of sorts…moving through each of her siblings. Periodically she changed focus and mumbled the name of a living relative…once. For a brief moment, she uttered a single reference to the living before quickly returning her chant to those waiting for her in Heaven.
My sister and I pondered her words. We imagined that Mom was between our world and Heaven. She was in awe of the beauty before her but couldn’t find the words to describe its magnificence. Her wonder could only be expressed as “Ohhhh!” Her family beckoned for her to join them. Perhaps the angels were singing to greet her. Jesus was there…smiling…with outstretched arms awaiting her arrival. But as she moved toward her new home, she glanced back toward her body…still in the world of the living. She saw us…caring for her…praying for her…loving her. We think that it was those moments that she mentioned our names….attempting to comfort the family that she would leave behind.
We miss Mom dearly but feel peace knowing she is in Heaven smiling down on us.
People often use the “seasons” metaphor to describe life. I get it. We we all have images of what each season means. And though its Fall on the calendar, my life is stuck in Winter. Over the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve been experiencing the longest, harshest winter of my life.
A blanket of heavy, wet snow envelops my heart. Joy has been suspended…No…frozen in time. The music of my life…silenced, yet again. This time from the pain of my Mom’s passing.
How did I get to this place?
How do I dig out?
How do I move on with life?
How do I end my self-imposed isolation?
After Mom’s passing, I kept myself distracted by all the “tasks” that needed to be handled. I avoided the attempts of friends (and most family) to reach out with words of comfort or empathy. Conversations that triggered emotions had to be avoided… At. All. Cost!!!
Now that I’m back at home and in familiar surroundings, I’m supposed to be moving on with my life. But I can’t get the images or sounds of Mom’s final days out of my mind. The visions fill the darkness behind my eyelids when the lights go out. The interrupted rhythm of her breathing…and then silence…drowns out the otherwise constant ringing in my ears*. During waking hours, I erupt into sobs of despair over seemingly insignificant reminders of Mom.
In the midst of this season (the dead of winter), I feel paralyzed. Frozen with grief. Clinging to a life that used to feel “normal” while a blizzard of emotions swirls around me. I can’t make time move any faster…I’m trapped. Trapped while waiting and praying for the weather to change and reveal the melody of Spring.
While I wait…
Do you have any insights or suggestions on the grieving process that you can share?
*The ringing in my ears started during chemo and never stops. The intensity increases with my fatigue level.