As I pulled the door closed on Monday night my last words to her were "I love you, see ya later ..."
The next morning my brother phoned to tell me that mom was gone ...
In less than 12 hours my world was radically and irreversibly re-defined ... Mom was gone, and suddenly my brother and I are the eldest generation ...
There are few words to describe the maelstrom of emotions I've swirled through in the last 36 hours since the phone call came ... on one level has been relief that mom's health issues are over and she is at peace ... on another level has been anger that it all happened so fast and so suddenly ... on yet another level is sadness at losing her after a few short months of finally being 'home' and being able to pop by and see her with the kids in tow ... and on still another level comes a profound ache at what has happened, and what we've all lost as a family.
I've spent most of my adult life helping families in times like this, and by all accounts I've been quite effective in my ministry ... but standing on the other side of the experience is different ... it's exhausting ... it's heart-rending ... and it is truly unrelenting ... yet, I stand in a place of hope, knowing that mom is at peace, and that she is together with dad and the extended family who have gone before us, and I know that she is not suffering any more.
As bad as my ache and my hurt is today, mom has carried a heavy burden for long enough and she earned her Shalom ... I'll miss her. Her grandkids will miss her. Her circle of family and friends(even though it has been diminished over the years)will miss her.
Thankfully though, we have a collection of memories of mom, grandma, Aunty Bell, and Isabell ... like the many stacks of pictures we've been sorting through in the last couple of days, there are many memories to make us laugh, cry, smile and shake our heads ... because that's just how mom lived her life.
I'm glad my last words to her were: "I love you, see ya later ..." because I meant them.
Rest in peace mom ... we miss you !!!