Even on the best days, life between the gardens is hard. After all, one doesn’t celebrate his or her birthday without thinking of Mom. A scroll through Facebook Memories produced a pic from my 40th (my last birthday dinner with Mom). This is my life now; two parts happiness, one part sadness.
I bet there isn’t one person reading this post who hasn’t experienced severe, life-altering, disappointment. How do you manage to overcome when nothing is the way it’s supposed to be?
There is no special formula. We each have to find our own way through the forest and fog of pain. There are no easy answers for how to build with broken stones.
Here is what I know: the world needs who you were meant to be. The journey becomes finding a way to encompass the loss. Make no mistake – I will never be my Mom. However, her spirit and essence are within me. Her heart is my heart; her anointing is my anointing.
How do I know these things? Because I prayed and asked God to receive them before she passed. Her legacy was so beautiful and inspiring, it had to go on. The intercessory prayer, the listening ear, the sweet words Mom relayed cannot pass away with her. Too many people need that love; they need the mercy, they need the grace.
The other night I cut up a salad, just like Mom used to do for my birthday. I put on an uplifting message; I cried and it wasn’t because of the green onions. I warmed a piece of pizza. As I was doing these things, I listened to the message about disappointment (oh, how fitting). You see, we were so sure Mom would be healed or at least push back lung cancer. We were so certain she’d have many more years with us.
As I was listening, I went back to the hospital room. While cutting up fresh greens, I saw Mom in the bipap mask, writing on the whiteboard someone had the foresight to bring her. She was playful that day; my daughter, Bekah, and her friend visited and they cheered her immensely. She goofed with her glasses on over the bipap mask. She was so dang cute. They had been writing notes on the board, and then Mom signed her name. It was a moment; we all knew it. My sister, Alena, took the board, prepared to keep it as a memento.
Mom protested. She motioned and made a noise and we realized she wanted the board back. She knew what we were thinking and erased her name. In its place, she wrote the following words: “no morphine.” It was the last thing she wrote on the board.
It struck me as I finished the salad. I always thought she wrote that because she was sure of her homegoing. At the time, I thought God had shown her it wasn’t her time. I thought it was because on that Monday afternoon she still believed she would be healed from pneumonia and leave the hospital. I was wrong.
I think her heart was uncertain. She erased her name and wrote the message so she could clearly hear from God, without the morphine fog. She needed guidance and direction about the mask. She needed confirmation she was doing the right thing to eschew life support. She needed to fight the good fight all the way to the end, in whatever form it might take.
Mom did, after all, come home with us. It just wasn’t in the way we wanted. Instead of returning to the house that had belonged to Mamaw and Papaw, her journey took her to a beautiful resting place on the point.
I thought of all these things as I sat and had my early birthday dinner of pizza and salad, the same I had enjoyed for so many years with Mom. It was then, during a few minutes of a worship song, that God blessed me with a strong feeling of Mom’s presence. For a few minutes, it truly felt like her spirit came to visit for my birthday.
I am 42 today, guys. It’s been a full and lovely day; I’ve had dinner with my family and two desserts, as well as many wishes for health and happiness – I deeply appreciate all of the messages. Today we closed on our first house flip – I know, right? 👏🏻👏🏻! My team, UK (#bbnforever), is headed to the Elite 8! Life between the gardens is hard, but one day we will celebrate together in the garden of Heaven. There will be another season.