One year ago today, I lost my mom. In some ways, it feels like such a long time ago and in other ways, it feels like it was just yesterday. It's kind of hard to capture exactly what my emotions are as I reflect on what this year has been like.
I can honestly say that a day hasn't gone by that I haven't wanted to pick up the phone and call her. I've stopped by her grave by myself, with my wife and kids, and with my father a number of times over the last 12 months. Most of the times, I have just stood there in silence as I have attempted to make sense of the events leading up to losing her. I've taken the opportunity with my boys to honor the woman who was so influential in their daddy's life. My dad and I shared more than just a moment together as we stood by the grave of the woman who had so faithfully given of herself to us and so many others for her entire life.
My heart still aches, and I think it always will, but that's not a complaint. I am who I am because of what has happened in my life and this year has been as equally formative to me. It certainly hasn't been easy and I most likely would have never chosen to go through what I have, but I can certainly say that I have learned an awful lot.
My father has not fared well at all. That has probably been one of the biggest struggles with the past year. Dad was a wounded man prior to Mom's sickness and the wound deepened throughout her sickness and subsequent death. He is only a shell of who he used to be and it's hard for me to know how I would have handled all that has been thrown at him in just 18 short months. I love him and am so thankful for all that he has done for me in my life.
Every day, when I look at my little baby girl, I am reminded of the woman with whom she shares a name. She is our "little" bundle of blooming peace and joy. She and her brothers have provided so much therapy to me over the past 12 months (only 10 months for her). I don't know where I would be if God had not blessed me with the family that He has.
I am grateful for friends who haven't tired of my constant references to Mom, hearing story after story of who she was, and being far more patient than I probably have been at times. I have been supported by a community of faith that has shown me more love than I could ever repay them for. Words seem trite compared to the gift that they have given me as so many have surrounded me during this time.
Today, I will walk a little slower, I will sigh a little bit deeper, and I will grow a little bit older. I will probably share a moment with my family as we stand near the empty shell of my mom. I am sure that I will shed tears, they seem inevitable at this point. But tears are a salve that bring healing to a wounded soul. I have fully realized the truth of the words so many have spoken over this year, that the pain doesn't go away, you just learn to live with it better.
As I drove to Williamsburg last July to honor my mother and her life, I read through Romans 8. Paul's words have continued to provide comfort for me over this past year. Paul writes, "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." My hope grows more and more each day as I anticipate the day that I will again see my mom. I am constantly reminded of her faith and the One in whom she put that faith. Paul goes on to say, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I miss you, Mom, and love you so much. My hope grows more and more each day as I wait for what I do not yet have. See you again.