Sunday, August 7, 2011

Missing Mom

Part of who I am is in my communication. In my Strengths Finders analysis, Communication is my top strength. Of course, I am sure that there are people out there who might argue this. I am hoping that my wife is not one of them, although I can concede to my own failure to communicate 100% of the time in the most effective manner.

All this being said, I expect that a lot of my grief process at the loss of my mom will be carried out as I communicate. Probably, much of that communication will come to whoever happens to have an interest in reading my blog. It helps to talk to people, but sometimes, people whom I speak with face to face offer me too much. It's not their fault, they're only trying to help. At least with an imaginary reader, there is no condolence offered, not words spoken, just simple silence. Frankly, I think that I need that more than anything right now.

Tuesday will mark 3 weeks since I lost my mom. Someone asked me today how I was doing. I said that I was all right. They replied, it was a long six months. I thought to myself, but didn't utter, not long enough. Selfishly, I wish that there had been more time. I made plenty of trips over to Williamsburg to spend with my parents, but I still wish for more. I wish that I had saved my voicemails and messages from Mom. I wish that I could hear her voice, see her smile, feel her embrace again.

I appreciate C.S. Lewis' statement about grief. He said, "Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape." Lewis experienced the grief of losing his wife, Joy. His book A Grief Observed chronicles his processing of his own grief. I read the book over the course of two days last week.

Grief does strange things to people, at least it causes them to think strange things. I imagine that it must be fairly painful for accident victims to revisit the scene of an accident that caused them severe pain and potentially the loss of someone special. In some ways, Williamsburg is becoming that for me. I have made so many trips over the last month and now that Mom is gone, the trips are fairly painful.

There are those who would probably offer this advice to me: make new memories there. That would almost insinuate that the old memories were flawed or simply not good enough, which is not the case. The old memories are just painful. Pain is not always bad.

As I try to wade through the pain that I am feeling, the bulk of it is probably selfish. I wanted Mom to see me graduate from seminary. I wanted Mom to hold her granddaughter. I wanted Mom's advice on so many things in life. I wanted...I wanted. I understand, fairly selfish things. But there is also the wishes that I had for her. Mom never lived in a house that she owned. My dad and her had always lived in something that the church had provided for them, my dad being a pastor. She had finally gotten a place that she could call her own. She would be able to enjoy it. Or so I though.

That's part of the pain in visiting my father. Every inch of the house reminds me of Mom. The smells. The decorations. The handwritten pieces of paper throughout the house. There are still boxes that remain unpacked from when they moved in November. I am sure somewhere, there are lists of things to do that will never get done, at least not by Mom.

Much of my grief right now is selfish, but I don't want to be told that I will get through it. I don't want to be told that every day gets easier. I don't want to be told that Mom is in a better place. Those things are simply a statement of the obvious to me, and I don't need to be told what I already know. I don't need some quick and easy way to help me through the process that is inevitable. What I need is friends who will cry with me and will sit with me. What I need is people who understand the value of silence in all of its awkwardness.

I have lost more than a Mom, I have lost one of the greatest friends and inspirations in my life. The hole that exists inside of me will never be filled, nor should I try to fill it. Like an amputee, I will learn what it means to live without a part of me. I will learn how to carry on, even as I feel incomplete. I will cherish what I had and try to be valuable for those who are still around me.

This year and the events of it, these feelings that I am experiencing, they have made me understand even more that this world is not my home. As Mercy Me sang, "I've never been more homesick than now." While I don't want to rush this process, I can feel the tension of the now and the not yet. I understand that there is a paradox and tension in seeking the "prosperity of the city" that I live in and longing for the home that is not so much otherworldly as it is restored and renewed, God's original intent for creation.

Tomorrow morning, I will wake up and I will be one day further on my journey. I have no sense of how long the journey will last, I have no concern to find that out right now. I know that I am not alone in my journey. I know that I have everything that I need. I know that there are people with whom I make this journey who are still relying on me and they do not have the same sense of what I am experiencing. through my story, they can gain that sense, perhaps it will prepare them for what we all will inevitably face. I know that I miss my mom, but I also know that where she is now, all she would tell me is, "Just you wait. You'll see. It'll all be worth it in the end." Good night, Mom. I'll see you in my dreams and one day, when my journey is over, we'll see each other face to face.


  1. Beautiful. Call me sometime. -Dave G 338-6614