My mom passed away fourteen very long, incredibly fast weeks ago. She died very early in the morning on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, to be exact. Ultimately, it was the metastasis into her spinal fluid -- Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis -- that did her in. She made the decision one Tuesday to have me call in a hospice agency to help care for her, and by the following Tuesday, she was gone. In the middle of a milky midnight, she parted with her mortal body and made her way Heavenward. What a brave soul.
I saw a friend a few weeks back, one I see primarily at baby showers and birthday parties, and she asked me if I was grieving well. "I don't know, I guess so," I said. In many ways, I think I might still be in shock, even these fourteen weeks later. I'm still waiting on Mom to call me, to ask about the mundane details of my day, to tell me about TV shows and catch me up on the latest gossip, to pick at me, to argue with me. Something. Anything. Being in full control of my faculties, I know the call isn't coming.
She is especially absent here at the onset of the holiday season -- the savory, sweet days of autumn; the wonderful, wonder-filled days of joy and celebration -- they're different without her. Left behind is a tangible and painful void. No one bothered to inquire about kid Halloween costumes. Thanksgiving traditions for my children will be the ones James and I create on our own or with my in-laws. No longer will there be anyone needing a lecture about the possibility of being too generous at Christmas -- the lecture that Mom's heard and allowed to go in one ear and out the other for as long as I've had children.
Mom was missing from our recent Colorado vacation. After having traveled with us a number of times, it was odd to not even have to take her into consideration. It was also difficult to return to a location where I'd been with her just two years earlier. She was so healthy and ornery on that trip -- we had no idea that cancer was on the radar. We certainly had no idea she'd be dead a mere twenty-eight months later. I imagined all the ways we might have altered things had we known. It was bittersweet to build beautiful, new memories with my family while balancing the what-ifs of a while ago.
We weren't perfect, Mom and I, but despite the strain our individual brokenness often put on our relationship, we were always ultimately there for one another. I miss my champion, and I miss championing for her. I just pray that the days and the ways in which I served her were as much of a blessing to her as they were to me. Above all, I hope I served her in a way that pleases the Lord.
"Honor widows who are truly widows.
But if a widow has children or grandchildren,
let them first learn to show godliness to their own household
and to make some return to their parents,
for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
I Timothy 5:3-4
"Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be long in the land
that the Lord your God is giving you."