While I am by no means an expert, I have spent a decent amount of time studying grief. Through my years at the pregnancy care centre, grief was a topic often discussed as we journeyed with women through the emotions of a host of losses.
Denial is one of the stages of grief, a natural response to a situation that the mind is just not ready to handle yet. I’ve often marveled at the gift of that, how God provides that as a bit of reprieve, but yet also thought it seemed a little silly. I mean, how do you deny what actually happened?
However, I’m finding myself in that stage of denial these days. Not that I don’t believe that Mom is gone, but more that it seems completely ridiculous that it’s true. How can Mom actually be gone? I just can’t fathom the fact that I will never see her again. Never. Not ever again. How is that even possible?
Now, this is the point where one of my well-meaning brothers or sisters in Christ will chime in, saying, “But you will see her again. We have the hope of eternal life, where you will get to see your mom again.” Yes, that’s true. I fully believe that.
But it’s also not what I need to hear right now. Not when I just want to call her and tell her all the things. Nathan started university in September and is doing well. John found a job, which is great. Katie & Eric are coming down tomorrow. I painted my kitchen. I talked to my friend Kathy in the States a couple of weeks ago and she’s doing well. I need new tires before it starts snowing. From the monumental to the mundane, I just want to tell her all of it.
But I can’t. Yes, I will see her again one day. But I don’t think we’re going to be sitting down so I can fill her in on all of the things, because we’ll be with Jesus and the fact that I painted my kitchen in 2021 will be pretty irrelevant.
This journey is making me realize all of the times I was that well-meaning Christian, giving the platitudes, saying the right things that are supposed to make people feel better. And maybe it did make them feel better – I hope so. But I’m learning that maybe that’s not what people need. Maybe they just need someone to look the in the face and say, “Yeah. That’s hard.”
That’s uncomfortable, though – sitting in people’s hard times with them. It’s much easier to try and solve it, to give the right Scripture verse or recommend a good therapist and then move on, knowing you’ve done some good. I hope that through this, I will learn to just sit with people in their hard times instead of trying to fix them.
It’s been six months since Mom died. Six months into a journey that will last the rest of my life. The list of things I want to tell her just keeps growing. The tears don’t seem to be diminishing yet – in fact, they’re becoming a little more frequent. Mom told me I would be ok, and someday I probably will be, but I’m not there yet.
But, one day turns into the next and I keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that I am still in this race. I am pushing towards the finish line where one day I will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And I’ll see my mom again.
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