Monday, January 9, 2012

Pictures of my Mother

The night my mother died I longed to see her again.  Just once more.  I longed to receive just one more hug from her.  In my mind I played a little bargaining game with God.  "God if you let me hug her one more time I will be content.  I will be happy."  I asked Him to just let me feel her presence over me.  I talked to her saying, "Let me feel you momma.  I want to know you are near.  I want you to know how badly I am missing you already." I wanted her to know how important she was to me.  And I worried that I had not told her often enough and I certainly had never shared with her everything that I was so thankful she had taught me.  I had never thanked her for showing me with her life how to live my own. 

The next day when I returned home to my house I had a few hours of alone time.  I walked around our house searching out all the pictures of my mother I could find and I just gazed at them.  I wanted to see her again.  I needed to see her face.  I needed to remember everything about the way that she looked.  I gazed and I cried.  Then, I called my dear sister in Christ and I could barely get the words out.  They were thick like peanut butter and I choked on them.  My heart burst right open as I tried to say that my mother was dead.  We talked for a while and I was so thankful for the time to share and cry with her that afternoon.  We talked about the funeral arrangements and what was going to be done with my mother.  That was a decision that was yet to be made and I just didn't know how I would go about helping to make such a decision.  The night before someone had said to me, "Well, you will have to find something for her to wear."  Good Lord, I thought, how in the world do you go about making a decision like that? 

As I struggled to make each decision I wondered  if my mother would be pleased.  Would she approve of the location, the flowers, the service, the music?  I wanted so desperately to give her a proper "send-off".  One that she would have felt so loved at.  The accident had been too severe.  Too hard on her earthly body so the decision was made that we would not view her and that she would be cremated.  She had talked with both my step-father and I about cremation in the past and we felt she would be comfortable, even happy with that decision.  Can I admit to you that I felt such relief that we would not have to pick out appropriate clothing for her body?  I just could not do it.  I do think God gave me a pass on this one.  I think He knew I was already suffering too much and that picking out her clothing would have sent me over the edge. 

He saved me too from the image of her laying in a coffin.  That 's always the part that I hate the most about funerals.  You know at the end when everyone files by paying their last respects.  I always want to hop out of line and head for the back doors but feel that that would be so disrespectful to the family.  So I make the obligatory walk down the aisle to the casket and I stare and I smile a thoughtful smile and I walk away, with the image of the body implanted in my mind.  It is never the last image that I want in my mind and yet it always is.  So, I praise my God because He knows me so well to spare me this image of my mother.  Instead of remembering her in a coffin I can remember her in my mind, her generous smile and twinkling eyes are such a better memory for me. 

After the memorial service, which was a peaceful and joyful celebration of her life, I could not bring myself to look at her pictures.  Just as I had sought out her pictures to see her face days earlier I carefully took every picture I could find and hid it.  I put them all in the garage so I could not see them.  I was struck that just days earlier I could not look at them long enough but now even a glimpse of her was so painful.  I did not want to look deeply at her smile because it made me miss her like I never knew I could miss a person. 

I am happy to report that four months later I can once again look.  I can smile back at her without tears and without feeling like my heart will rip wide open.  My kiddos help with this because they treasure the pictures of their ShaSha.  They display them proudly in their rooms and they say that they are so happy to have them.  They bring great comfort and sweet memories to their little hearts.  They bring sweet memories to my heart as well.  I am slowly bringing the pictures back out and like my children I too am displaying them proudly because I do want to gaze.  I do want to remember.  I do want to see the generous smile and twinkling eyes.  I miss you momma and I wonder what you will look like when I see you again, in Heaven with our altogether lovely Lord.   

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