Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Nearer Than We Think

 photo IMG_8727_zpswexyb6nr.jpg

Mom, look at your irises. Regal in their fullest bloom, leaning into the morning light. How you would love to be bent over them, gloves on, snipping their purple crowns to brighten your kitchen. 

You lasted long enough to breathe their perfumed scent. Deb cut their long stems and placed them in a vase on the counter just a few days before you passed. After the funeral, I pushed them into the kitchen garbage can, withered and brown, to make room for the floral arrangements that filled the house.

 photo FullSizeRender copy_zpstjc9ivb2.jpg

So many flowers Mom. People brought, sent, and hand-delivered one of the things you loved most. Flowers. And we shared them with everyone you cared about. Your sisters, your nieces, your neighbors, your daughters.

 photo IMG_8396_zpsk7isa1fj.jpg

Oh Mom. 

I cannot believe you are no longer here to hold. 

Every morning I wake to reclaim this new, hard reality. That I do not have you next to me. The pain is always fresh - a truth that haunts me in my sleep until pre-dawn light whitens the north window and I open my eyes, unable to return to my dreams.

 photo G28A6884_zpsyjteovni.jpg

I lie there for a few minutes, watching the soft light, reliving those final days with you. I can't seem to replace them yet with all the other memories. It is what I think of before I fall to sleep, what I revisit when I wake.

 photo IMG_3108 1_zpsj0soweed.jpg

Last Wednesday was the first Wednesday in two years I did not spend with you. On Sunday, when I looked at the calendar and realized I would not write, "Mom" with a descending arrow through the day, the tears came again. I had written "Mom" on Wednesdays for so many months, thankful I could spend those days, and dozens of others, serving you, doing for you, being with you.

My heart aches for you. 

I have searched out old videos of you. And new ones. The most recent are from that morning Lauren came to play the piano for you. It was February and you could still sit up in your wheelchair, smile, speak.

 photo G28A6924 copy_zpscejfighj.jpg

Beautiful Lauren. Remember how we became friends? I met her one day in the grocery store. Saw her brand new baby twins in tow - one in the cart, one in a bjorn. She was putting vegetables in a plastic bag and I couldn't help myself; I had to talk to her. Within seconds I was telling her how impressed I was that she was out with both babies, running an errand. I knew what it took, the jostle, the juggle, the tiny baby wails.

Turned out she lived just around the corner from me and had recently moved to Salt Lake from California. Who knew we would need each other so much? She would walk over with her babies, we would talk twins, share lunch, let our littles play in the water. Who knew she would end up sharing her music with us for two hours, playing all your favorites? The hymns, broadways classics, Chopin. And four months later she would play the piano at your funeral.

God knew. 

And amazingly, Lauren knew. She knew she should offer her music to our family. She knew Dad would ask her to play at the funeral. She even knew which song we would request.

That day in February Lauren told us, "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and about which we cannot remain silent" (Victor Hugo). A perfect summation of where we were. We cried through most of her playing. She prepared each song with such thoughtfulness and meaning. Her fingers danced across the keys with something more than goodness. It was charity. It was unconditional love. 

Below is one of my favorite clips. 

You and Dad look at each other with such tenderness as she plays your wedding song, "When I Fall in Love." And then she played your favorite song from Carousel, "You'll Never Walk Alone." It always made you cry. That song was a comfort to you when you lost your parents. And in the last year it gave you strength to walk through your final storm. You knew you were not alone.




I like to think maybe your Mom and Dad were with us that day. How your Mom loved to sing and play the piano. 

 photo G28A6652_zpsjx7qcxvk.jpg

And Mom, I want to tell you about a miracle. These beautiful photos from the day Lauren came were taken by my friend, Michelle. Days before you passed I asked her if she could send over the photos but she responded with dismay that she had looked everywhere and could not find them. 

We were so sad. None of us had taken pictures with you since that day because we knew we had Michelle's. And now, you couldn't hold your head up or even open your eyes. The time for photos was past. So Sarah said, "I'm going to pray Michelle can find them." We all prayed.

The next day I got a text from Michelle saying, "I found the photos!" All of us were at the house and we immediately burst into tears. We were so grateful. So relieved. Michelle said, "I was searching and searching and finally decided to leave my computer. I went and did something nice for someone and when I returned, they were right there. Right where I had been looking."

You were the one I always shared these kind of stories with - the small, merciful gifts, the divine happenings. 

Don't worry, Mom. I won't stop sharing them with you.

 photo IMG_8201_zpsdk4oiqke.jpg

As we entered the last week of your life, there were some difficult moments we experienced. Hard things I had to do for you and see. Things I don't care to write about. But I do want to capture most of it. 

I don't want to forget how we gathered around you, set up home base in the family room, made you the hub of our living. 

 photo IMG_8204_zpsujgwl2rw.jpg

There were always flowers on the mantle and cards from friends. There were visitors, neighbors bringing food, grand-babies, occasional tears, and lots of laughs. You laughed with us Mom, up until the very last day.

 photo IMG_2716_zps59hrmupo.jpg

And this man. This beautiful father of mine. How he loves you.

During your last weeks you began calling out for Dad. "Bob? Bob?" Every ten minutes or so. Usually, you didn't need anything. You just wanted to know he was there. He was your constant. If he was near, you felt grounded, safe, and secure. When we would tell you he was planting tomatoes or running an errand, you would forget and a few minutes later, ask again. 

Even through the night, you would wake frequently and ask for him. Never did he respond with agitation or impatience. It was always, "Yes dear?" "I'm here." "What can I do for you?" Even when he was bone tired. And then it was a joke. A stroke of your hair. Or a tender brush of the back of his hand across your cheek. 

It was a most sacred thing to observe. His heart was so heavy watching you deteriorate. But he moved through it with the most beautiful devotion I have ever seen.

I have learned so much watching both of you. The sacrifices you made have changed me forever.

 photo IMG_8180_zpsykyzafw6.jpg

On Mother's Day, the kids read you letters they had written you. Their thoughtful sentiments and memories surprised me. This was their last time seeing you. Their goodbye. You didn't open your eyes much, but you listened, and I know you understood. You made such an impact on them, Mom. 

 photo IMG_8415_zpss12iqc0u.jpg

The days that followed were reverent. 

They were holy.

 photo IMG_8210_zpsrm0laiqj.jpg

Friday evening, one week before you passed, Doug and I were putting kids to bed and I hadn't seen you all day so I told Doug I was going over to be with you for a bit. You were already asleep, the lights were off, and Dad was doing a few dishes in the kitchen. 

I sat on the stool by your bed in the quiet. Within a minute or so, you felt me there and you opened your eyes. You said with a smile, "You are so beautiful." I laughed. "I don't feel very beautiful. How are you tonight?" You responded, "I'm not well." You said that a number of times as we neared the end. You weren't in pain, but you knew you were not well. 

"You still have that light in your eyes though," I said, and we squeezed hands. 

Then you said, "Someone is whispering in my ear." I paused. "I think it's just Dad washing dishes." "No," you said. "Someone is whispering in my ear." My mind began to open and I started to believe maybe someone was there. So I asked with a whisper, "Is it someone from the other side?" And you laughed. Not boisterous or loud, but a silent, shoulder-shaking chuckle. And you couldn't stop. So I laughed too, my question mark still hanging in the air. 

You never did answer me. Maybe you thought my question was so silly it cracked you up. Or maybe someone really was there, but you couldn't tell me. I'll never know.

So I sang you some primary songs and lullabies. I held your hand. And loved you.

 photo IMG_8213_zpswnlon0yg.jpg

When I finished I said, "I came over because you're a lot easier to put to bed than my own kids." You laughed. I continued, "But I need to head home now and make sure they're in bed."

You turned your face to me in that moment and said something you hadn't said in a couple months because your speech was sparse and usually I said it for both of us. 

You said, "I love you." And you looked right into my eyes.

"I love you too," I said, choked with emotion.

I tucked your peach blanket around you and kissed you on the forehead. I hugged Dad long and hard. And then I left. 

I cried all the way home. Drove the dark streets, sobbing. When I got home, I was such a mess of tears I couldn't go inside so I went into the backyard and sat on the swing, looking up at the full moon. It was bright and beautiful, but mournful to me. It too would soon wane in light and shape. So I cried. And cried. 

That was the last time I would hear you say you love me.

 photo IMG_8222_zpsev2zn3md.jpg

A couple evenings later, I was holding your hand and you let go to find Becca's hand who was on your other side. You looked at her and said, "I don't know how to deal with all of this." Bec and I sat tearfully silent for what seemed like a minute. Because we didn't know either. Finally I scraped together some words and said, "You just keep doing what you're doing Mom. You're doing it just right. And we'll be here with you every step of the way."

 photo IMG_8416_zpsbryargqw.jpg

Tuesday we gathered again. Your children and Dad. We took turns holding your hand and telling you how much we loved you, what you'd taught us, told stories. Again, you didn't open your eyes much, but you would nod and listen. Your nurse, Susan, told us while you would lose most your abilities to function, you would never lose your ability to hear.

 photo IMG_8326_zpsznrq7kbt.jpg

I love this pic of Rach with you. She was a Savior in our family. When she moved in, she picked up caregiving for you like she'd done it her whole life. All the hardness of it. Without one bit of reservation. I know you appreciated all she did. She loves you so much Mom.

 photo IMG_8276_zpsmfgfcnav.jpg

And there's a smile. With Deb, of course. She makes you laugh harder than anyone else.

 photo IMG_8383_zpsgxfx3sze.jpg

Will came too because he was out of town Sunday. He was so tender, he could barely speak.

 photo IMG_8291_zpsmrvoyvmm.jpg

Sweet Sarah. 

 photo IMG_8263_zpsk0c6xbzx.jpg

We face-timed with Dave. So he could talk to you. How we missed him during all of this.

 photo IMG_8312_zpstoede9jy.jpg

And Becca. 

These aren't easy photos to post Mom. It is hard to look through them. But all these readers that come here have shared in your journey. They have loved you from afar. And they too have been blessed by your faith and courage. 

So I am compelled to write this for several reasons. It's the best way I know to process my grief and I want to write it down. Writing about it helps me hold on to you. And I write it here because I want to share you with others. Mingled into my mourning has been this dichotomous desire, of wanting to hold everything inside, sacred and untouched, while at the same time wanting desperately for others to understand how special you are. 

 photo IMG_8219_zpsvpiauo84.jpg


Friday morning, the day you died, I was driving Wander Lane to your house, and I started to pray. I prayed Father would take you home that day. It was becoming difficult for you to breathe. You were no longer responsive. And I didn't want you to suffer any longer.

When I arrived, you were stable, but pale in color. You no longer returned the squeeze of my hand. Your right hand, the one that had maintained some strength, was limp. So I held onto your arm. 

I took this photo two hours before you passed. 

 photo IMG_2813_zpsjsbu2ivy.jpg

Dad was sure you wouldn't last the weekend. 

I sat by your side so he could run a quick errand. While he was gone things for you changed. You choked and I had to suction your mouth. You opened your eyes in a panic, and looked at me, but you didn't see me. We called Dad and I cleared your airway and got you settled again. I rubbed your shoulder and said, "Try to rest Mom. Try to relax. We are here. We will not leave you."

When Dad returned, we could no longer find a radial pulse for you. The nurse came and she could no longer get a blood pressure. I watched the needle on her gauge fan down, never ticking once. No systolic. No diastolic. It was looking like we didn't have long. 

We called Deb. She was the only one not with us. She was driving back from Pleasant Grove as quickly as she could. "Don't delay," Dad said calmly.

And then he went into his office where he took a 1948 hymnal off a shelf and returned to you. I don't know if you understood these words, but watching him read them to you was the most sacred of moments.

 photo IMG_8357 1_zpsz7go5sw7.jpg

One Sweetly Solemn Thought 
by Phoebe Cary

One sweetly solemn thought

Comes to me o'er and o'er;
Nearer my home today am I
Than e'er I've been before.

Nearer my Father's house,

Where many mansions be;
Nearer today, the great white throne,
Nearer the crystal sea.

Nearer the bound of life

Where burdens are laid down; 
Nearer to leave the heavy cross,
Nearer to gain the crown.

But lying dark between,

Winding down through the night,
Is the deep and unknown stream
To be crossed ere we reach the light.

Father, perfect my trust!

Strengthen my pow'r of faith!
Nor let me stand, at last, alone
Upon the shore of death.

Be Thee near when my feet

Are slipping o'er the brink;
For it may be I'm nearer home,
Nearer now than I think.

 photo IMG_8373_zpsvc5tv0hi.jpg

As our time with you grew shorter and your breathing more labored, I texted Doug. "I don't think we have long. If you can leave the kids, please come. I would like you to be here." His response was immediate. "I am at the front door, but it's locked. Will you let me in?"

He had felt a prompting to get the kids settled and come over, before I had even asked. If he had come much later, he would have missed those last minutes with you.

Becca and Rachel put their babies down for naps. Bec tidied up the family room where we were. Everything became quiet and peaceful, despite our straining for you, our anxious leaning over you, trying to make you comfortable.

Finally Deb burst through the garage door with tears in her eyes. "Did I miss it?" "No," I said and I took her hand and pulled her to you. She bent over and kissed your cheek. "I'm here, Mom! I'm here."

You waited for her, Mom. You waited until all of us could be there. Except Dave, who had steeled himself for this day, knowing he had just been with you and would not be able to come. 

Dad clasped your hand in both of his, holding on with the greatest tenderness. I put both my arms around Doug and as a family, we circled your bed. We surrounded you in watchful reverence, your body heaving its final breaths, when Dad bravely said, "Ronda... We are all here... You can go."

 photo IMG_8347 1_zpsdwgoogpg.jpg

Three breaths later we saw your spirit slip from your body. You were changed. You were gone. 

The separation was so utterly painful all of us immediately burst into sobs. Dad bent over and kissed you, "My sweetheart," he said through his tears. "I will miss you so much."

I couldn't be away from you. I moved closer to you and held your face between my hands. I caressed your cheeks, and all I could say in my weeping was, "Oh Mom. Oh Mom. Oh Mom."

I didn't know how we'd continue without you.

As we cried, sounds came out of me I had never heard before. Usually my crying is stifled, controlled, but it was impossible to be in control. The severing and loss were so profound. We felt the most distinct absence. You had left us. Not forever, we know. But that splitting from us crumpled me. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It is one of the times during this life-walk, no one can tell you about. You simply cannot know what it feels like until you are there.

   photo IMG_8196_zps3ilpld28.jpg

I thought we were prepared. We had mourned your decline every step of the way. Every functional loss, every compromise in your cognition. Each was difficult. We had anticipated your going, even prayed for it. But when you left Mom, it was as if we hadn't shed a single tear over you. It was fresh grief. New grief. 

This surprised me. And it leveled me.

Dad called Dave. Hardest phone call he made that day. There was nothing to say except, "She's gone. We love you Dave." 

I held your hand and stroked your skin, all of us still bereft and weeping. Then Doug said, "Can you hear the birds? The birds are singing." We quieted ourselves and listened. Sure enough, at 2:30 in the afternoon - so unusual - your birds were singing, Mom. You loved the birds that came to your feeders. 

We opened the window wide and listened to their song. They were singing you home. Singing you out of your beautiful garden, out of the yard you spent years tending. You loved the birds and God asked them to sing at your parting.

 photo 
G28A6609_zpsg7dfwjhg.jpg

Later that evening when they came to take your body, we cried some more. We were all standing at the front door watching them put your body into the back of the suburban when a birdsong rang out from the tree right off the porch. It was clear and beautiful and brilliant. 

"What bird is that?" Bec asked. "It's the oriole," Dad said. And it sang and sang as the suburban drove down the street.

 photo BullocksOriole2LR_zpsct8yx8ve.jpg

This was not happy coincidence. It was a sign of God's love for us. That you were alright. You were home. You were singing again, dancing again, walking with your parents. Free from the body you loved and cared for, but in the end, could no longer carry you.

As the sun began to set, I stepped outside to look at your garden, hear the birds, and listen for you.



Already, it felt lonely without you. New truth settled in my heart. This was the first time I had been in your yard without you. Without you here on the earth. I pictured your dirty jeans, your gloves, your cornsilk hair falling in your face as you dug with a trowel. And then a sense of you seemed to float over me, in and out of the sweet air, like your spirit was riding on the last light of day. And I thought, "This will be a place I will feel you. I will always find you here."

 photo G28A6956_zpszcvnjc4t.jpg

I had a number of sleepless nights Mom, wondering how this transition would be for you. Anticipating how the end would go. I was worried. I was uneasy about it. But Phoebe Cary was right. That stream you had to cross before you reached the light was deep, and it was unknown. But God was there. He was with us. I have no doubt he was with you, as your feet slipped over the brink. And at that moment, all of us were nearer the bound of life. Nearer the crystal sea. Nearer that home of homes. Nearer than we think.

 photo G28A6648_zps1wtp7iwh.jpg

You are ours forever, Mom.

How we love you.

37 comments:

  1. Although I have read your blog for years, I don't think I have ever commented. But this post is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I lost my grandma (who was more like a mom to me than a grandma) about eighteen months ago. And so much of what you wrote is what I experienced in those days leading up to her passing away. I miss her with a fierceness that I didn't even know was still possible, even after all of these months. And this has me reliving so much of what I felt during those first days of her being gone. As hard as I am sobbing, I needed this and I thank you so much. I'm so sorry about your mom. My thoughts and prayers are with your family, with you and especially with your sweet dad. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Linn, thank you so much for sharing here. I had a really special relationship with one of my Grandma's too. It is so hard to let them go. But I have felt a sweet presence the last month of intimations from my Mom and I know now how close they really are to us. Sending you lots of love, and comfort in your longing for your Grandma. We are tied to them always. No matter the distance. Thank you for your kind condolences. xoxoxo

      Delete
  2. Oh, Cath, I cherished every word of your post. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you too April. I am watching you with your mother and knowing how holy and tender your days are with her. You have loved her truly, withholding nothing, and you and she, and your children, will be blessed forever because of your diligence in caring for her. Hugs to you and yours always! xoxo

      Delete
  3. Oh, dear friend, I've been thinking of you. Thank you for sharing glimpses of your last moments with your angel mom. All the love she gave to her family is radiated in all your faces. How she loves you all, and how you all love her. I will never forget the way you all encircled her with your love and presence. Sending prayers and much love, Cath

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne Marie, I saw a woman at the pharmacy yesterday wearing your name on her name tag. I immediately thought of you. Although your beautiful white flowers have faded, I can still see them in our family room in my mind's eye. The love and comfort with which you sent them has not faded. And I am ever more grateful to have you with me in our life journeys. Thank you for loving my mother. I love you.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. You have been a faithful reader and supporter over the years, my friend. Thank you. xoxo

      Delete
  5. Dear Cath, thank you so much for this post! It's so painful and so beautiful in the same time. Your faith amazes me. And the love in your family shows and feels in words and pictures and it makes me want to be better, to love more. I love that she loved what I love - family, garden, birds.
    I have my dad ill, in bed, for more than one year, so your experience is sacred for me too.
    Hugs and kisses from your "virtual" friend from over the ocean, who shed real tears over this post and others from the past.
    May she rest in peace!
    <3, Raluca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Raluca, yes painful and beautiful are the words. What love and sacrifice you are offering in caring for your Dad. I wish you every bit of tenderness as you journey forward. You will never regret any time you spend caring for him. Sending you love.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful. Full of love, faith, and truth. So grateful you shared your journey. It is a sweet example for us! All our love, Lori and Clint

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love you and Lori so very much. It was all kinds of comfort to have Lori there. To see her and Maurine before the services started. We are so grateful to you and your family. xoxo

      Delete
  7. Thank you for your words, Cath. They are beautiful and inspired. I've been thinking of you this week as my family and I are touring Washington DC and spending a few days at the beach in Virginia, another place I know you love. But I took a few minutes out to be alone and read this and weep. Eternity is such a gift, but waiting for it can be so heartbreaking. Hugs to you, sweet friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy you could be in DC and that gorgeous state for lovers. Yes, we miss it so much. Thank you for reading, and for weeping with me. Your words are comfort.

      Delete
  8. Cath. I wept through the whole thing. Thank you for sharing such sacred things with us. You're a great tribute to your beautiful mother, and the kind of daughter we should all strive to be. I love you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She loved you so much Steph. She was immediately drawn to you and although your overlap was short, it connected me to you and I will be forever grateful she had that kind of heart, that looked for needs, and extended herself to others. Thank you for giving to our family with your art and goodness.

      Delete
  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your gift of writing. Beautiful and tearful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading. And for mourning with us.

      Delete
  10. I don't know you, but I have read your blog for a few years now. This post was so beautiful, so loving, it moved me to tears. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your mom sounds like an incredible, wonderful person. Thank you so much for opening yourself up to us blog readers and sharing what this experience was like. In Judaism we say, "May her memory be a blessing," and I hope all your wonderful memories of your mom will provide some comfort during this difficult time. (I know from experience that eventually the recurring thoughts of her final days will take their rightful place in her life story and will not crowd out the lifetime of joyful memories, as they might be doing now). Thank you also for sharing her life story -- she really sounds like an amazing person. If you're up for it at a later point, I would love to see more photos of her as a young woman, a new mother, and throughout her life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Kerry, this was a most touching comment to me. I have such a love for the Jewish people, your beautiful culture, and your faith. I love that thought that her memory can be a blessing. After living in Israel for six months, I spent a Seder meal with a Jewish family down the street from my parents. My mom had become good friends with the mother and they cared for each other deeply. Thank you for sharing your place of knowing with me. I am finding your words to be true. The lifetime of joyful memories is indeed replacing the hard ones of the last months. And I thought it was so kind that you would ask to see more photos of my Mom. I've added just a few to my newest post. But I am working on a little slide show that I will post soon. It is healing for me to look at all those earlier photos and memories, to remember how she was. And how she is now. Thank you for reading and for connecting. I can tell you are a beautiful, beautiful person. All my best to you in your own journey.

      Delete
  11. Thank you for sharing this. My grief is different but the same over the loss of my son unexpectedly at 4 days old. Your words were a gift to me at this time. I love that the birds sang- those little signs from God are what pull us through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry about your son. x

      Delete
    2. Oh Robin, I too am so sorry. Losing a child is it's own kind of rending and I don't think it compares to any other loss. I ache for you. I mourn with you. And yes, those little signs... I've had them in the birds, in gifts from friends, in the swallowtail butterflies that seem to be everywhere of late. I know they are tiny witnesses of her love and awareness. I really do count on God's promises, that in time all our losses will be restored and made right. Sending you great love and divine comfort. Thank you for connecting here.

      Delete
  12. This holy sacred journey we call life. Always loving you and yours. xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And oh, how we love you Cristie. xo

      Delete
  13. Catherine, thank you for sharing this.

    Of course, anyone reading it will reflect, as I did, on their own experience with the passing of a loved one. But the tears that flowed were sweet tears.

    And...Wander Lane? The name brought back unexpected memories of dear family friends from our California years, the Potters, who moved to Wander Lane. A bonus, to remember them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always so sweet of you Kathleen, to read and comment. I wish I could say I know your Potters. Funny how different things remind us of different people in our past. Special people. Wishing you all the best. I'm hoping to see Erin soon!

      Delete
  14. "But all these readers that come here have shared in your journey. They have loved you from afar. And they too have been blessed by your faith and courage."

    So many of us have come to love your mom through your writings. Thank you for sharing your mom and this journey with us.

    I am weeping. So tender, so hard. Sometimes I am in awe at the plan. In the end, it will all be more than we can imagine, but this is a lot for our mortal selves. Watching you go through this and Angela go through her loss has been heart-wrenching, sacred, life-altering. These living rooms that become such sacred space as loved ones help their mother, their son pass through the veil. It's all so big I don't really know how to process it except to read and weep and ponder and pray.

    I have thought of your mom as I listen to the birds. Birdsong is one of my favorite things, too.

    Sending continued love and prayers your way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so very beautiful Michelle. As are you and your ability to offer compassion, to strengthen and lift with your words, and your presence. I have reflected on seeing your face at the viewing, having you come meant so much to me. It was I'm sure, a very busy week for you. To give of yourself that way touched my heart immensely. You stand on this end and you realize every act of support and kindness becomes so very meaningful. It carries you. Sending you so much love and gratitude. Love you Michelle.

      Delete
  15. Thank you so so much for writing this, for your courage and for the beautiful words. I wept.
    My great grandma has this on her tombstone, it seems to fit your mum too.

    The kiss of the sun for pardon,
    The song of the birds for mirth,--
    One is nearer God's heart in a garden
    Than anywhere else on earth.

    It's from this - http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/gurney01.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Margo, I love this so much. Thank you for including it here. I want to find some way to use it and capture it. I will share it with my sisters, who will love it too. Maybe your grandmother and my Mom are gardening together in heaven. Thank you!

      Delete
  16. I lost my mom in early May of this year, and reading your beautiful words about your mom has helped me in dealing with my own mother's death. Your testimony is inspiring and the love your family shares is incredible. Thank you for sharing this. You are right, I have been following your mom's story from afar (Nebraska) even though I don't know you or her. Its amazing how the gospel binds us together. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Laurie, I am so sorry. This grief is still so fresh for you too. There is no one like your mother. And because I sit where you sit, I don't seem to have the right words. I know it hurts. And I know life doesn't give you much time to really mourn. I hope you are finding time to reflect and recover. And I hope you have felt that divine comfort, that thinning of the veil that follows one's passing. It can carry us. I hope for both of us, we can practice hearing and feeling our Moms. Because I know they are not far. I know that even if we do not see them, they are with us. They are near. Sending you great love and a big hug. I hug someone differently who has lost a parent. It's not just them comforting me; it is me comforting them. We don't need to say anything. So much passes in the silence. I would love to hear more about your Mom. Thank you for reading. I am mourning with you.

      Delete
  17. Oh Cathryn, I have put off reading this because I knew it would be so hard. I knew it would make me cry and I knew it would bring the sorrow of losing my mother in law back to the surface.
    It did all those things, but your beautiful spirit and way with words also brought hope and comfort. I love you and I'm so glad you shared here even though it must have been so hard.
    Blessings on you and yours sweet friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Shelley, how are you and Marc doing? I think of you and cheer every time you post. It is hard to keep moving forward through loss. It is an unknown place we have to figure out and navigate. I wish I could give you a big hug, no words needed, just love. Thank you for reading and sharing in this journey with me. You have been such a strength and support. I love you. Please give Marc my love too. There is nothing like losing your mother. xoxo

      Delete
  18. Thank you for sharing and teaching what it means to love and grieve especially at the end of a loved ones' life. My 10 year old came in while I was quietly reading and crying over your loss. It was a beautiful teaching moment to share with him, how death comes and yet, there is peace and beauty. May peace and beauty fill your heart these next few weeks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a beautiful and wise mother you are. I could just see in my mind's eye, this moment of teaching and love. Thank you for sharing it with me. I write for my own therapy of sorts, but a big part of me writes with the hope that these words will connect with others. That I might find those with similar hearts and we can comfort each other. Thank you for your comment. xoxo

      Delete

Related Posts with Thumbnails