If you’re reading this or have been reading my posts, thank you for being on this journey with me. A lot of my posts have revolved around the grief and thoughts surrounding my mother’s recent passing, so thank you for walking with me through this, for your prayers, for your encouragement, for your strength.
As we’ve started sorting through my mom’s belongings recently to try to get our lives in order and have some semblance of routine in the house, I’ve realized something. The aftermath is the hardest.
The day my mother passed away was one of the most difficult days of my life. I remember it with astonishing clarity, each detail seared into my memory–the phone call, the rush to the hospital, the eerie stillness of death on a face that once brimmed with life, the weeping, the embraces, the prayers for strength, the relief that her suffering had ended, the deep pain over losing her presence with us. Each emotion and each moment carefully and painfully recorded upon my mind’s canvas to carry with me for the rest of my life.
And yet, shock seemed to cushion every emotion, every decision, every day following that first phone call as adrenaline carried us on a wave, sorting out details, paperwork, arrangements for memorial and funeral. The clarity is followed by a blur.
It’s in the aftermath that the wave crashes, and the tears flow anew when you realize that the rest of your life has been changed. The ache settles in, and each memory renews it.
As we sort through her clothes with her scent lingering on a favorite shirt, pages of an unfinished story she had begun to write, receipts, souvenirs, little things she’d collect from around the house to keep safe when we’d left them carelessly lying around, her belongings remind us of the life that she lived. And, oh, what a beautiful life it was. It makes me wonderful how I will be remembered.
As a family, it’s difficult to think of living life without my mom to share in the moments that will make up the rest of our lives. It makes us want to stay at a standstill, to wait for a lifelong moment in the grief and not have to think about what it means to live life without her.
But her life reminds me that I want to live my life to the absolute fullest. She lived a life poured out in absolute love to the One who loved her first and gave her life, from the moment she met Him to the day she went to be with Him. Her adventures with Jesus took her from the country she had never left to go halfway across the world, a single woman who loved Jesus and loved people and had no idea where her obedience would take her. Then, what can only be called a Divine sense of humor led her to a man from Peru who was her complete opposite in every way but a shared love for Jesus and the nations, and beyond all human reason, God said that together, they were good. Following Jesus, she left the known and followed Him into the unknown, which led her to all parts of the world, loving people with a genuine heart and a warm smile, simple but so profound.
She may have left this earth too soon, but I just keep thinking of how full her life really was. And she would always say it was just obedience, obeying God when He called her and following Him, even if it meant taking a giant leap of faith to cross the world and dive headlong into an adventure with a man from Peru, raise four wild munchkins (whom she affectionately called “my jewels”), and move house every year or two, countries every three to five years, and continents just a few times. Obedience. Love. What a legacy Mama left us.
And so, in the aftermath, I grieve her loss. I mourn each moment that will never be had and hold that out to Redeemer Jesus. Because in the rubble of the moments that will never be had with Mama, from the foundations of His faithfulness and her response of obedience and legacy of love, He is building a future for our family. He is still writing a story with our lives. And in the aftermath, we’ll find redemption.