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November 10, 2006


It seems like just yesterday that I got the phone call from the doctor at Medical College of Philadelphia Hospital (since closed) informing me that mom had “expired.” I remember being very upset with this doctor in that moment. My mom wasn’t some carton of milk that had gone bad or something. She was a person – a person who I loved. She was a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. She was gone. In an instant, my life changed. My life crumbled down around my feet. All that I knew up until that point was worthless. My illusions were shattered. I felt like a little kid, all over again. It was as if I was 10 years old and watching the ambulance pull away the first time. I didn’t really understand what was happening then, and I didn’t really understand what was happening in those moments, either.

It has taken six years to begin to pick up the pieces, but that’s what I’m doing. Or, I should say, that’s what God is doing. Because, He’s the only one who could pick up these pieces and have any hope of putting them back together.

I started looking at some of those pieces recently. Specifically, how I felt guilty that I wasn’t there more for my mom when she was in the hospital and that I was a bad daughter who let her down because of that. But, in talking it out, I was reminded that, when my mom had her first stroke (when I was 10), she wouldn’t let me come to see her in the hospital because she didn’t want me to see her helpless. Subconsciously, when I kept putting off visiting her because I was too tired, both physically and emotionally, I was really just respecting what I knew her wishes were. It was too hard seeing her lying in that bed, unable to do any of the things she loved. No more bingo nights, no more card games, no more Phillies games on TV. No more trips out to Poppy Crichton’s cabin during the summer, no more Saturday nights sitting together in the living room, just the three of us (my mom, my grandmom and me).

Another realization that I had was that, what I thought was being a “spoiled brat” when I was a kid was really God allowing me to see what His grace is like, through my mom. Let me explain: When I was a kid, I grew up with my mom AND my grandmom, and I was an only child. Any kid who has that combination is virtually guaranteed anything they ask for. Even when times were tight, like after my mom’s first stroke, she still tried to get me what I wanted. I didn’t deserve it, didn’t work for it. She just gave it to me. That’s how God’s grace is. We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn it. He gives it to us just because.

I like to say I lost my mom three times, but in the third loss, I gained her back. I lost her when she had her first stroke. The Mom that came home from the hospital wasn’t the same as the Mommy who went in. the second loss was when she had the second stroke. She underwent drastic, sudden changes – she couldn’t eat, drink, walk, or talk more than a few syllables here or there once she came out from her coma. The third time I lost her was when she passed away. However, it was in her passing that I really gained her back. I know that, one day, we’ll be united in Heaven. Until then, she’s waiting for me….waiting for the day we’ll be together again.

The silver strand is broken,
Which tied her to earth
Her story now is ended
Which began with her birth

Too soon taken
Too early her sunset
With her passing, part of me
Died a painful death

But I know some day
We will meet again
On the shores of the crystal sea
In the realm of Heaven

No more crying
No more tears
No more sadness
No more fears

But only rejoicing
In each others presence
And basking in
The heavenly radiance

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary Z. permalink
    November 18, 2006 2:42 am

    It does take years, Mary. I just read To Live Again by Catherine Marshall and even though it is about recovering from loss from the point of view of a widow, it really helped me with death and how I feel about my Dad.

    Keep going . Keep growing. Love,Mary Z

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