Ever have one of those moments that catch you off guard and jump starts the ugly cry?
That happened to me today while driving, and as I returned home afterward I heard God whisper “write about it.”
This morning after dropping the kids off at school I had the urge to text my mom, you know to just tell her about my day. This thought was odd for two reasons; one she never owned a cell phone and two she’s not among the living. I decided to voice memo what I wanted to say, had I been able.
“Hey, mom it’s Ginger, just thinking about you this morning. I’m excited to see you for Christmas. Missing the warmth of your hug, your smile, and laughter. I very much miss playing games with you. Watching you play and color with the kids was my great joy. I miss watching you and dad playful in the kitchen (or bantering). Most of all…I just miss you.”
Cancer left a mom size hole.
My mom lost her battle and won the war in life as she left this earth joined with Jesus 8 years ago. She died peacefully in her sleep. We awoke to her “resting” that morning. In a beautiful circle of love, as our family held hands around her bed, the tears just wouldn’t stop. We sang songs over her as we committed her to the hands of Jesus.
A sorrowful goodbye is rarely ever pretty, however, this was beautiful.
Waiting for the departure of her body I took pictures of her “resting”. I positioned her Bible open on her belly with a small pewter cross. Tears coated the pages as I gently placed her hands ever so delicately. Those pictures were raw and rare. They felt so bizarre at the time but to help my father in his grief I respected his wishes to take them. I understood why he needed that in some odd way. I watched as he embraced her and said his last good-bye.
To this day those pictures are a treasure that’s used to teach my children about their grandma. Each of us has experienced some loss, be it a beloved family pet, grandma, parent or perhaps a baby lost before its first breath. These are familiar stories to each of us. While others are planning joyous holiday gatherings with no apparent holes to fill we tend to withdraw.
We reflect, and we grieve all over again. Mourning the fact that life goes on without them. Watching our kids open gifts and envisioning a missing child that death robbed of that joy. Imagining how much our mom would’ve loved seeing our kids’ personalities displayed and the elation of the holidays kids exude. In these moments of raw emotion, we realize we carry those holes.
It is not just a vacant seat, an empty nursery, an invitation we are unable to send or a call we can no longer make. There is a place in our soul that deeply longs to see that person again; to hear their voice and to embrace them fully. To once again enjoy the pleasure of their company. This my friends is relationship and loss at the core.
This season as you and I face the empty places not just at the table but in our hearts, may we seek to fill those voids with the only one who can truly fill them; Jesus. He came to offer the hope of eternity, where God makes good on his promise to wipe away all the “ugly cries.”
‘And God shall wipe away all tears
from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.‘ Revelation 21:4
Father God, I pray a spirit of peace over my dear friends who are walking hard roads of loss. Let the joy of this season shine through the personal darkness. May the empty spots around our tables remind us of your promises as we reflect on the beauty of their memories and the promise of eternity with them.