Dried Tears

Dear Reader,

My mom’s death is still recent, slightly over one month.  The first weeks I was numb, and was carried by family, Memorial service preparations, company and great support.  Then the shock of her death hit.  And now, the tears.  Grief barged into the house without an invitation.  It appears to have no intention of leaving in the near future.

So, to help manage it, I’m doing the following:

  1. Investigate as best I can about what exactly occurred to her physically, what caused her death. I did that, and I am at rest with it.  I also took a day to “protest” her death before the Lord, and that felt incredibly good.
  2. Support myself through the grief in these ways:
  • write her letters
  • talk with others about her life/ death
  • see my counselor
  • sing worship songs at the piano or listen to them online
  • write thank you notes or notes of explanation to people who care
  • read several books, currently: Experiencing Grief— Norman Wright, A Grief Observed—C. S. Lewis, Nearing Home—Billy Graham, Life After Loss—Bob Dietz, scriptures about heaven (only a partial help, but interesting in content). Also to come: Grieving the Death of a Mother (H. Smith) & The Mourning Handbook (Helen Fitzgerald.)
  • journal
  • let the tears fall; they cannot and should not be stopped: aren’t they from the heart of God?
  • plan a trip back to Michigan and walk where I did as a child; interview cousins/family members about her, so that I can finish her life story with our voices

This I do to take care of me, that I might recover from the unexpected “kidnapping” of her presence. (God has the right to do that, after all, He took Enoch and Elijah with little warning at all.)

It is helping. But I haven’t figured out how to handle life’s joys and excitements without her here to share it with. How do I do that?  She used to rejoice with me in the Lord over wonderful things that happened!  My nephew Rowan was baptized only months ago, and how we delighted over the phone about that.  And my nephew Casey just became engaged and announced it on Mother’s Day, our last family gathering with Mother still among us.

Last weekend, there were new wonderful things……..some neat surprise visitors come to my show on Saturday….and on Sunday, I taught a great lesson on the life of Isaiah in a children’s class.  I wanted to call her and say, “Guess what, Mom?  Michelle and Alf sold their house, isn’t that wonderful?  Mom?”

But she is gone. I want to see her face, and I cannot. The silence is a most uncomfortable quiet.

I surely do miss her, my friend, my fan, my fellow rejoicer in the Lord. Perhaps my next strategy will be to just talk to her as if she were sitting in the chair in my living room?

I have to come up with something.  If I don’t, life without her is going to feel more pitiable than a lost duckling at night.  I have to find my way now without her, like I had to as a girl—feeling my way down the long, dark hallway during the night, to get to the bathroom. It was foreboding.  But this is my new assignment, to live without her here.

Yesterday I went online to a music site given me by a friend. I was thirsty to hear something beautiful. One worshipful melody led to another. My tears began to dry up. I found a group of college students in Canada (from Fountainview Academy) who sang this song. It made me feel connected to my mother. I am singing it now.  And my tears are gone.

‘Wonderful Words of Life by Phillip W. Bliss, 1874

Scriptures:  John 6: 63, 68  and Phil. 2: 15 & 16

Sing them over again to me,
Wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see,
Wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty
Teach me faith and duty.

Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life.

Christ, the blessed One, gives to all
Wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the loving call,
Wonderful words of life;
All so freely given,
Wooing us to heaven.

Sweetly echo the Gospel call,
Wonderful words of life;
Offer pardon and peace to all,
Wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior,
Sanctify us forever.


In Closing:  Today a friend stopped by. As we talked, I remembered a strategy for what to do when something has overwhelmed me.  Per chance, why not apply it to my sorrow?

Here it is:  Stretch out both your hands with the palms up.  Upon both of them, put the concern or trouble and pray, “Lord, what would you like to do with this? (because I can’t handle it.)”

So Lord, today I place this sorrow for Mother in my opened hands.  What would you like to do with it?  (Repeat this prayer as many times as you are troubled, and the Lord will do something astounding with it!  When I first began using this strategy, I had to put the anguish into my hands over a hundred times per day. Over time, it became less.  And then lesser still, a week later…  In time, the ________ was all gone.[Fill in the blank!]

May the Lord of Mercy bless and strengthen us for what He has assigned.

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