I’ve been thinking and feeling a lot about my mother lately. She died on April 19th, 1996. My husband and three children were involved in overseas missions and living in Bratislava, Slovakia at the time so when my brother phoned to tell me that I needed to come home to see Mom, I flew back to Canada immediately. I met my mom by her hospital bedside and it was quite a shock for me to see how frail and thin she had become since we had left the country. Mom was refusing to eat. My brother and sister-in-law lived close to my mom and had spent a great deal of time with her, so when they told me that they really thought that Mom wanted to die, I quietly knew in my heart that they were right.
My mom’s husband had left the hospital room for a few minutes so I had some alone time with Mom. She was very cognizant that I was there but wasn’t communicating very much with me. However, I talked and prayed with her… and she responded. It was a very special time and I will always treasure those precious moments together.
As I sat in the plane returning overseas, I felt such a deep sadness but the truth is that the grieving process had already begun years before. My mother was an alcoholic and she wasn’t emotionally available for most of my life. Life had dealt many disappointments and heartaches to my mother and although she was a very strong woman in some ways, there was very little emotional connection between us.
I returned to Slovakia, only to get another phone call from my brother two weeks later, telling me that Mom had died in the hospital. I flew to Canada once again, wrote and spoke the eulogy and spent some time with my brothers and Mom’s husband. I flew back to Bratislava after the funeral and life continued on.
It’s been said that once you lose a parent, you are never quite the same. I believe that. I don’t talk about my mother very much. It makes me cry… and for the past three days, I have felt an encroaching heaviness in my heart. This great loss that I have wrestled with was triggered recently and I know that as painful as it is, I need to go through some depth of this grief again – that’s what grief is like. A friend once said to me, “Grief is like an onion. It has many layers and it makes you cry a lot.” I don’t think that anyone recovers from grief. I have learned how to embrace the loss in my life and ask God to help me live fully in the days that He has ordained for me. Most of the time, I’m OK.
It was tough getting through the Easter season. I actually slept through Easter Sunday service and that is truly my favourite Sunday of the year – missing it is very unusual for me. I understand and deeply appreciate all that Jesus has done for me. I do. I know He has risen indeed and that His presence in my life is my hope. But my heart was longing for my mother. I believe that I will see her again in heaven and that comforts me… but there are times that I just want more.
I know in my head that He is enough but the twelve inch gap to my heart is sometimes bigger than I can manage – there are times that my feelings win out and it takes a bit of time for my thoughts to catch up with the truth.