It was 7 years ago today that my husband and I were at a Sunday School Christmas party and received a phone call from home to call my sister who had been trying to reach us. We glanced at our cell phones and saw we had missed multiple calls, hadn’t heard them over the conversations. We thought, “Oh, no, Mom must be in the hospital again.” My mom had been hospitalized with congestive heart failure several times. But, no, this time the stunning news was that my mom had passed away suddenly due to a massive heart attack.
You can imagine the awful time that followed — the sadness, the tears, the scrambling to get a flight to TX, and so on. In many ways that was one of the worst weeks of my life.
But even in the midst of tragedy, we saw God’s hand of blessing in many ways (I wrote in more detail about it here):
- My mom had not wanted to die in the hospital or to die alone: she died in a car with my sister and nephew.
- Many people extended themselves to show love and support in many ways.
- We had treasured time with immediate and extended family.
- My former pastor was asked to conduct the funeral and shared a wonderful and tender message of the gospel.
- I had prayed for God to send Christian people across my mom’s path and was warmed to hear people saying “Amen” and “That’s right” during the message at the funeral.
- It was the first time we had left Jeremy home alone for several days. He was in the midst of college finals. He did fine even amidst the power going off in an ice storm.
- When we got back in the midst of said ice storm we had to go pick up Jason from the college dorms (he stayed in the dorms that year while Jeremy commuted from home), about 20 minutes one way to get him and then about 30 or more to get back home, and made it safely.
Days like today, her birthday, Mother’s Day, and odd moments in-between will always have their pangs, their intense moments of missing her. Last year I reposted Christmas Grief, focusing on getting through the holiday “froth” when you’re not really feeling holiday cheer, and also last year I was able to do a newspaper column on Christmas Grief, Christmas Hope, focusing more on the hope we can cling to of seeing our loved ones again because Jesus died to redeem us. I wanted to mention those for anyone else having a hard time this season. Thankfully these losses don’t overshadow the season like they did at first, but they do provide some moments to pause and reflect and remember.