breathing hope

Some days just breathing is about all I can do
It's all so fresh
so raw
It hurts
I imagine getting over it
but I can't
How can I?
Words that I imagined saying before
but I could never have imagined these feelings
When they say there's a hollowness inside your chest?
they're right
When they say your throat becomes a lump of hard
& it's near impossible to swallow?
they're right
When they say the tears come at odd moments
& swallow you whole?
they're right
When they say bursts of emotion will happen
& then you're fine again?
they're right
When they say your memories come back
& make you laugh
& cry all at the same time?
they're right
When they say you want to talk about your mother all the time
& bring her up in every conversation?
they're right
When they say it takes TIME?
they're right
It's feelings unlike any I've ever felt before
& the millions of words I could try
to describe them wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface
or even make sense
unless you've been there
unless you've felt it too
unless you're still feeling it
Because losing your mother is only experienced
it cannot be described
or imagined
it can only be felt
& adjusted to
there is no getting over
There's only straight through
one small step
one smile
one choice
Hope on, my heart
Life is waiting


I miss her...

I miss her
I miss her smiles
I miss her hugs
I miss her grin when I was teasing
I miss our convos
& how she always listened
to every
I miss her hands
(squeezing mine)
I miss her shoulders
(just bony enough, yet soft enough for me to lay on)
I miss her fingers
(combing my hair & wiping my tears)
I miss how she knew just what I needed when I was sick
I miss sitting in comfortable silences while we both read books
I miss sneaking bagfuls of new books past dad's all-seeing eyes
I miss her 'hello's' when I walk through the front door
I miss seeing her on the front row at church
I miss calling her for advice
I miss just knowing she was in the room
I miss her in the morning
(when I wake up & remember)
I miss her in the middle of the day
(when I just want to hear her voice)
I miss her at night
(when the silences bear down with tears)
I miss her
I miss her
I miss her
I miss her in this jagged-edged hole in my heart
this wound that seems as raw & fresh as the first day
I just miss my mom.




Scrolling through Instagram recently, I read this (isn't it awesome how God works?! How He places the thing we needed in our paths most unexpectedly? I love that.):
This week has the potential of overwhelming my heart. It has the potential of stealing my joy and tripping me up. But it also has the potential for me to see God beautifully orchestrate circumstances beyond my control for His glory. It has the potential for me to experience a quiet heart in the chaos of life. By His grace, I am choosing the latter.
I am choosing to rejoice in what is to come and to be confident in Who my God is. I am choosing to base my days off of His promises and not my feelings. I am choosing to throw my cares at the foot of the cross instead of carrying them like dead weight on my back. I am choosing to trust Jesus and thank Him for being faithful before tomorrow even comes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He will certainly be faithful tomorrow.
As Elisabeth Elliot once said - "Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now." I am leaving the worries in His hands and lifting my own in worship this evening. This week not only has the potential to be a beautiful display of His grace, it can be a reality because our God is just that good.
This was timely for a couple reasons. There was some Hard I was dealing with at that moment which had nothing to do with losing mom. (And I was struggling with it. Because losing mom has been difficult, but adding more turmoil to my heart on top of that was the pits!) But as I got through that and then focused back on my grief, I realized this was still true. The enemy is absolutely determined to steal joy from me. And I refuse to let him. I must choose that every single day actually, because he never gives up. Thankfully? Neither does my Father! And guess Who's going to win?! :)

For all the sad I'm feeling, for the hurt and the pain of saying goodbye way before I was ready (which, I'm pretty sure I'd never be ready to let go of my mother), for the myriad of emotions that I struggle with daily, this One Thing I have never, ever been in doubt of: the Hope that I will see her again some day, that she's left her wheelchair and her broken body behind and is with Jesus where no tears will ever be felt again, only Joy!

That gets me out of bed every day. That eases the pain SO much. That thought is one of the most comforting things. It really, really is!

So take that, satan. I'm choosing JOY! Even in the midst of my tears and this hole in my heart that will most likely never go away completely, I. Choose. Joy. I choose Hope. I choose Jesus.

He will NEVER let me down.

I wish...

:: I wish I could just be Okay.
:: I wish that I didn't get tired of answering the same questions from family and friends and repeating the story a gazillion times.
:: I wish they didn't all say the same sorts of things that I've heard again and again.
:: I wish they understood that I know that God's in control. (It's just hard to remember that some moments. He understands though. I believe that with all my heart.)
:: I wish they would've told mom how they felt about her when she was still here, rather than visiting after she was gone and telling me how much she meant to them. (I appreciate hearing that. I do. But mom would've too. In fact, I think she needed to have heard those sorts of things in the recent months before she left, but she didn't. And that hurts me too.)
:: I wish I didn't feel hurt over things not said or not done for her while she was still here.
:: I wish I knew how to even begin to express that to everyone. (I know they all mean well. I know a lot of them don't know our journey and out of love and concern they wish to know how to pray. I know they don't know what to say. I know that. I understand that. But my feelings are real and non-negotiable. I wish I could change them to be what I want.)
:: I wish I could tell everyone who's been praying for my family how very much we appreciate that.
:: I wish I could tell them how much it means to know we're loved.
:: I wish I could tell them what all the hugs, text messages, phone calls, and blog comments mean to me.
:: I wish I even had words to describe what I'm feeling.
:: I wish the anger and fear I'm processing would go away.
:: I wish the things that frustrate me would stop doing that.
:: I wish I understood how I can cry and smile at the same time.
:: I wish I could cry it all out and get over it. (But I know getting over it isn't possible. Ever. You don't just get over losing your mother.)
:: I wish I could talk to her again.
:: I wish I could hug her again.
:: I wish I could just spend time in her presence again.
:: I wish I could see her smile one more time.
:: I wish I knew what to say to dad.
:: I wish I could make his grief better.
:: I wish I knew how to make things better for my brothers.
:: I wish I knew how to explain grief to my nieces and nephews.
:: I wish I understood how grief works.
:: I wish I knew what to say to those who ask me about her.
:: I wish I knew how to fill those Awkward Silences.
:: I wish I didn't react so strongly to things right now because my emotions are so near the surface.
:: I wish I even understood myself.
:: I wish I knew what to tell people when they ask how I'm really doing.
:: I wish I could just be Okay.

I wish, I wish, I wish. I wish so very many things! But here I am. Unable to make any of that happen. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other and step. Sometimes it's a big step, sometimes I move barely an inch. But I am moving. That counts, right?


Do you ever feel like something is so big in your life, it has changed you so significantly, that it should show on your outsides somehow?

In my heart, I know saying goodbye to mom isn't going to show, it's only my insides that have changed. But there's just been this weird feeling for the past three weeks every single time I go somewhere new or somewhere I haven't been since before mom passed. I walk in and I feel like everyone there is going to notice this Big Thing about me (like I have a giant sign on my forehead stating "I'm grieving because I just lost my mother"), but no one ever does. Of course they don't! Yet it feels like they will. Every. Single. Time. It's the strangest feeling really. Even when it's not.

Emotions are just so chaotic and crazy, aren't they? For those precious three weeks in May, my heart felt on my sleeve constantly. I was breaking, yet I had to be strong because I had things to do. I had meals to prepare and laundry to wash, nieces and nephews to chat with and hug, friends and family stopping in mom and dad's at convenient and inconvenient times, my job to go to, my own house to worry about, oh so many things! And of course I spent as much time as possible just sitting by mom's bedside, staring at her face, adjusting to this new reality that I didn't like. Trying to make sense of it all felt impossible. It still does.

I have repeated over and over and over (to all the myriad of family and friends who ask) that this experience is hard, yet good. And it is! But I realize that it's only been three weeks and there's so many more emotions I'm going to have to adjust to. Emotions I cannot prepare myself for because I haven't felt them yet. I don't even know how I'm going to react tomorrow, let alone the next hour or three. Or even this next second! And I want to be strong. Some moments I am and some moments I'm not.

One thing that surprised me about this journey? Something I never thought about before this. When it's your Loved One who is gone, yet all those who come to comfort you, you actually end up comforting them. It's funny how that works actually. And I'm not complaining about it! Because they loved mom too. They're processing just the same as I am. I've just always thought about visitations/viewings as the time when I go to comfort the family, when it's actually the very opposite.

.......or maybe it's simply that we comfort each other.

Yes, I like that better. There were so many times during the standing and the hugging and the chatting that I got tired of comforting them. I got tired of saying the same things over and over again. But maybe if I remember that they were there because they're trying to become Okay with this too, that'll help. Yep. I like that.

There's just a huge amount of FEELINGS when you say a Final Goodbye to someone you love. I don't understand them. I'm struggling to process them. I don't know when I'm going to be Okay. But some day I will. I believe that. God will get me through. Moment by moment by moment. And I trust that one day I'll wake up and it'll hurt a little less. And one day things will feel a little more normal again. (Whatever normal is, right? :)

And one day? One extra special awesome day? I'll get to see her again. And the glorious thought of seeing her without her wheelchair and walking around gives me Hope.

And HOPE makes all the difference.