Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hand On My Heart

I wrote this for my mom on her last Mother's Day, a month before her death. After she read it, she told me she wished she could take it with her, when she goes. I wish now, I had thought to put it in her casket.

My 4 year old daughter cries out for me in the middle of the night, yet again, and I go in to lay down next to her, the only way she'll go back to sleep these days. And I don't really mind. This stage will pass by all too quickly, just like all the ones before. There will come a time when she no longer wants me to lay down next to her. (And yet, maybe it won't. After all, as you like to tease me, “I'm pushing 40” and I still like to lie down next to you, especially with a pile of children's books.)

For as long as this will last, I will go to my daughter when she cries out for me. I want her to know without a doubt that I will always be here for her. And I know where that comes from... You were always here for me. Always. When I was sick, when I was sad. Countless times I cried out at night and you came in and sat with me in the dark. With a cold washcloth, with a cool hand upon my face. With comforting words or just your comforting presence. In my successes and through my failures. In my joy and in my sorrows. Whether I was across the hall, across town or across the country, I could always call you and you were there. Even in this, your death, just last week, you told me, “I don't want you to feel like you need to hide your sadness from me.” Still being here for me.

I've been pretty numb these days. But tonight, I'm starting to feel. This afternoon, you asked the nurse, “this left sided weakness, what's the worse it's going to progress? Am I going to be bedridden?” “Yes,” the nurse said, “it will most likely progress to that.” And I could see that hit you in the face. What's to come. I know you are ready to go. It's the getting there that you are not looking forward to.
It hurts to think of what they predict will come. I don't want that for you. All we can do is hold on to the Hope that the suffering you have to go through now is nothing compared to the joy to come. I pray for God's peace and comfort and ever presence upon you. He is your Shepherd and will lead you through this, to lie down in green pastures and besides still waters – such peaceful and restful images.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. Like a mother with her child, He will always be here for you.

There will come a time when you can't physically be here any more. What an emptiness and sadness that will leave. And yet, something happens between a child and their mother. With or without you, you are always with me. Inside me, just as Jesus is in my heart. Like I tell my kids, when they are away from me and missing me, I tell them I am always with them, even when I can't be; to put their hand on their heart and that's where I am. And you. You will always be with me in my heart. I can already see myself, my hand on my heart.  

I didn't know we'd only have a month left. I realize now, I was saying goodbye.