Today as I celebrate the two year anniversary of my mom being promoted to her Heavenly home I wanted to take a few minutes to write this blog in hopes to give someone who may read this a bit of encouragement.
The day that you’ve lost a loved one will never escape your mind. The month of their transition for some turns into the worst month of the year. As the days go by you subconsciously count down the days in your mind until “that day” is finally here. The day of their passing no matter how bright and beautiful it is, for you, it’s the darkest day of the year. As much as you try to tell yourself that you are going to do your best to be happy and reflect on the good times you’ve shared, it feels a little awkward and forced.
Just prior to receiving the call from my dad that my mom had accepted her Heavenly promotion I was lying beside my husband while he was fighting for his life in the hospital. The night before, my husband was admitted in the hospital with severe pneumonia and asthma exacerbation. In that moment, I was faced with the decision to be a wife and leave my dying mother’s hospital bedside to go and be with my husband or stay at my mother’s bedside and spend her last moments with her. Can you imagine the inward struggle I had. I knew that my husband would understand if I put him second...right? The guilt that I was facing wouldn’t allow me to not do what I knew I was supposed to do and that was to “leave and cleave,” Genesis 2:24. Even in this heartbreaking situation with my mom my “new family” had to take the forefront.
I’m a dreamer and that’s one of the avenues that God chooses to speak to me through. The morning of my mom’s passing God gave me a vivid dream that my mom’s time here on earth had come to an end. I was asleep (something I hadn’t done in 5 days) next to my husbands hospital bedside and I felt the hardest tug on my heart that made me feel like I had levitated off of the bedside couch. Once I was nearly in a back bend and my heart had been ripped out of my chest I woke up gasping for air. I remember my husband asking me with a look of concern on his face if I was ok. I said yes, and just before my head hit the pillow my phone rang and my dad uttered the words, “mom is gone.” In that moment I realized exactly what just happened to me in my dream.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that, “time heals all wounds.” After losing my mom, I still think that this is true however, a really bad wound tends to leave a life long scar behind. I’m learning how to effectively live with this scar and see it as a scar of beauty instead of a scar of pain and ugliness.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned and things I’ve realized since my mom’s promotion:
Don’t let anyone force you to heal according to their timeline. The process of grief is unique to every individual person. What may take me a couple of weeks to “get over” may take you several months or years. Heal your way.
This one is for those of us who have lost a parent. You’ll never know how much crap your parent has protected you from until they are no longer there. Parents are like “crap blockers” (lol...sorry i couldn’t find another phrase), it doesn’t matter how old their children are they still stand between you and all of the crap in the world.
Don’t be ashamed to seek counseling. You are not weak if you go to counseling you’re actually displaying your strength when you seek help. Disagree if you want, but sometimes relying on faith is not enough. God equipped counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists etc. with the tools needed to help our physical body heal. For any children experiencing grief, counseling should be mandatory. If they are old enough to understand what death is and what it means they need counseling.
It’s ok to be upset, heartbroken, disappointed and angry with God for taking your loved one. We are human and all of the above are all normal human reactions. Jesus did take on the body of a human (John 1:14) and He experienced the range of emotions that we experience so it’s not a surprise to him when we feel these emotions. The key is to not lose your faith. For believers, we know that earth is not our home. Go through your emotions but don’t walk away from God.
Let your support system be your support system. Allow others to walk alongside you through your journey of healing. Don’t block others out and think that you can travel the road alone. Without my support system I don’t even want to imagine what state of mind I would be in today.
For spouses. Don’t think that we’re crazy if one moment we are happy and the next we’re crying our eyes out. It’s a part of the process. You can’t fix it. Hold our hand and walk along side us through the process, listen when we randomly want to talk about our loved one and know that feeling and having your support and compassion is enough.
I’m still on my healing journey. Taking one day at a time and allowing God to help me see this scar as one of beauty.
Why do I refer to my mom’s passing as her promotion?
Less than a month after my mom’s passing I was scheduled to attended a professional Nurse Practitioner conference and one of the speakers in the class I attended started her lecture telling us a story of her dear mother. She stated that when her mom passed it was heartbreaking for her but what helped her heal was remembering that her mother did not just merely die but she was actually, “Promoted to Glory.” She said that her mother worked all of her life even after her family begged her mom to stop working due to her old age. The speaker said God had to give her mom a Heavenly promotion in order for her to stop working. While listening to her speak I was sitting in a room of hundreds of other Nurse Practitioner colleagues ugly crying and the phrase, “Promoted To Glory” stuck with me. It stuck with me so much I had it engraved on my mom’s headstone.
The speakers message about her mother had absolutely nothing to do with what she was to lecture on. I believe that despite all of the people in the room God knew that my heart was broken and allowed her to share her story with me. It doesn’t matter where you are or who is around God see’s you.
A. The act or fact of being raised in position or rank
B. The act of furthering the growth or development of something
Check out these teachings from Pastor Reginald Sharpe Jr. on grief and suicide.
Grief- message starts at 17:40 https://youtu.be/7nxpFsQzJz0
Suicide- message starts at 18:00