9 Lessons: Lesson 5- Passing

Today marks one entire year that Mom has been gone.

I am an extremely optimistic person (with some realistic in there too), and throughout all of Mom’s battles, I always believed she would win. Even in her last days, while I sat there holding her hand, I still believed that she would get better, that she would just wake up and start talking, asking for a frozen pop tart and a diet coke. I remember trying to accept the timeline she was given, I did, but in my mind, I still believed she would be that small percent to overcome it all and beat the cancer. I mean, she was my Mom, and she was basically immortal, right? Unfortunately, my optimism was overridden by God’s need for her.

It gives me migraines to think that just a little over a year ago I was able to talk to her, laugh with her, hug her, and physically be with her. Part of me wishes that the last few weeks before her passing, as well as that night/morning, were not so vivid in my memory. I remember it all, as if those days had just passed, but I wish so much more for fonder and happier memories to overtake those of such sadness. Slowly they are, and I know that it just a part of the ongoing fifth lesson that God is still teaching me, the lesson of passing.

No matter what, it’s not possible to prepare for the death of a loved one. I considered myself incredibly lucky and well prepared for it all. God put into place so many things for me to fall back upon for when Mom left us, He gave adequate time to prepare myself as best I can, and even gave me the last few days with her to get anything I wanted from her. Still, nothing can prepare someone to stand over a loved one and give them one last hug and kiss goodbye, knowing that you will never get to again. Those are the thoughts that I struggle with the most, knowing that I will never get to do such things again with my Mom.

Struggling with such thoughts, I try to remember more pleasant thoughts about Mom, like how great of a mom she was and all the things we used to do together growing up. Yet, those thoughts seemed to make things worse. I would cry so much over such happy thoughts, yearning for nothing more than to go on one last big trip with her, or go have one last lunch and talk about things with her. Nothing seemed to make me feel better, and I was aware of that. I tried and tried to figure out how to deal with such grief.

These thoughts and feelings were all a part of God’s lesson. I had to take these thoughts and feelings and let them flow, feeling them. There is no cure for grief, and that is what He has taught me. The best way I could explain what it is like for me is that there is a monster inside of my head, and he feeds on my sadness and sorrow. I have two options, feed him now and then where I let my emotions flow. I could cry a bit, I could read some of Mom’s journals, look at pictures, or even write a post. Or, I could try to starve him. I could keep bottling up my emotions, and repress the monster as best I could. However, the hungrier the monster would get, the angrier and more desperate for food he would get. He would start taking over and force myself into a depressive, emotionless state while he fed on my emotions.

Luckily, I went with option one. I listened to God and I understand that the death of a loved one, even one so beloved as my Mom, is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. But I’m optimistic, and I think of it as just another way I can remember her, and keep me from forgetting about who she was, is, and how she shaped who I am. I know that she is always looking down on me, and that gives me the happiness to push forward and feed that monster I call grief. It makes me smile to think, that even when she’s gone, she still seems to get rid of all the monsters that scare me.

I have a prayer-book, and after Mom passed, I turned through the pages and landed on one, as if He and Mom knew just where for me to go. It was the prayer for August 6th, and it reads:

“When things seem to be going all wrong, stop and affirm your trust in Me. Calmly bring these matters to Me, and leave them in My capable hands. Then, simply do the next thing. Stay in touch with Me through thankful, trusting prayers, resting in My sovereign control. Rejoice in Me- exult in the God of your salvation! As you trust in Me, I make your feet like the feet of a deer. I enable you to walk and make progress upon your high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility”

Job 13:15; Psalm 18:33; Habakkuk 3:17

I love you and miss you so much Mom.

9 Lessons: Lesson 4- Words

Over the course of my time with Mom a year ago, God taught me my fourth lesson, the importance of words. The first few days, Mom and I would chat throughout the day when she was awake. However, because she was taking medicine, it was difficult for her to stay awake for long periods of time. Unfortunately, every day the amount of time she stayed awake shrank. Along with this, her ability to speak also began to dwindle. I was not ready for when Mom finally no longer spoke during the day, and instead only gave noises when she was uncomfortable. No one prepares you for something like that since it seems like such a minor aspect to the rest of the negatives happening, but it was something so major. The days following Mom losing her ability to coherently speak were the beginning of the worst days. My time with her went from talking with Mom to only sitting next her, holding her hand, and listening to her slowly drift away from me.

I was lucky though, because I was able to be with Mom while she could speak, we were able to have a “last words” type of thing. I know I was lucky to have such a moment, but it stings to have her words run through my head. The first day I was there, my Mom and I sat there chatting when there was a pause in our conversation. I looked at Mom and she started to cry, and all I could do was lean into her and hug her as hard as I could.

She cried and cried and finally said, “I’m sorry Alex, I really wanted to see you graduate. I wanted to see you get married”.

Those are the last words Mom essentially gave me that I will remember forever. I may have pictures and journals, but in my mind those will be what I remember first, those words. Then, I’ll remember all the other words and conversations I had with Mom. Most good, but of course I was not a perfect child and I’m sure I said some things that hurt her feelings. However, she never said something mean or demotivating to me regardless of how I was being. She always encouraged me and was positive, and always said she loved me. Mom knew the impact of words and chose them carefully. When Mom no longer spoke, that was when it truly felt like she had left. Mom had such a wonderful voice, and when she spoke, she was always so clear and so witty. I miss her voice and her words the most when I miss her.

This was God’s lesson to me, to choose my words with care, and always be positive with them. He taught me how you never know when words could be the last words you would hear from someone, and because of that, never end a conversation with a loved one on a bad note. Mom and I always finished with “I love you” regardless if we were arguing or just chatting. And on a day like today, the night before the anniversary of when I lost my Mom, all I can think of is her words, and how important they are to me, and how important words are to everyone.





Proverbs 16:24; “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”