Grief + Joy

It has been 100 days since my mom's passing. From her cremation to her memorial service to the birth of our son, it seems like forever ago that she took her last breath; but the pain of grieving her death feels like she passed just yesterday. 

Grief is a funny thing. It comes and goes, ebbs and flows like waves. Some days, I can't contain the overwhelming emotions of sadness and grief; I'm a puddle of tears and nothing can console me. I go about my day in a fog, eating but not feeling satisfied, sleeping but not feeling rested. Other days pass me by not with tears but with fond memories of her. I smile knowing that she is a part of me and that I will never forget her. I think about her daily - I just can't not think about her daily.

 
 

This time last year, we knew that she probably did not have much longer to live. Her health was so obviously deteriorating. By summer, all of her doctors recommended that she stop treatment altogether and instead simply manage her pain. But managing pain is not simple by any means - she suffered a lot in her last days up until she finally admitted herself into hospice care. Even in hospice care, it wasn't completely painless and for the first time in her 7 years of battling cancer, my always resilient mother looked defeated. 

I'm still not sure whether or not she knew she was dying or not. She never said anything to suggest that she didn't think she'd be here for the birth of our son. She only said she hoped she would be feeling better by then so that she could at least come visit me in the hospital and at home. By the time I said my goodbyes to my mom, she lay in bed with her eyes lifeless, as if she was unconscious, unable to speak. I only knew she was able to comprehend my words when she grunted at my "I love you"s. 

The day she passed, I held her cold lifeless hand tightly, hoping to bring warmth back to just a small part of her body. I didn't want to let her go but knew she would want me to. She was going to the Father; she would not need me, or any of us, where a place was prepared for her in His house. She was finally at peace, no longer suffering, and her spirit exactly where she was supposed to be.  

As I grieve my mother, I'm realizing more and more that grief doesn't just end. I will carry this grief with me my entire life; it just won't be the same grief throughout. My grief will change as my life continues on. I take steps forward and then step backward; my grief evolves into strength at times and deviates into sadness and pain other times. 

Honestly, as a believer in Christ, I have no idea where I'm supposed to find the joy amidst the grief. I have no idea if her suffering was or is or will ever be glorifying to God - was her suffering even worth it? Was her life worth anything to God? I may never know the answer to those questions, and maybe I'll never even find the joy in my mother's passing.

But one thing I know is God is faithful; he was and is and always will be. 

And for now, to that I will cling.