It was the first time that I attended a funeral and repast where I felt empty. Maybe because this one hit home. And maybe because the last time it hit this close (with Daddy), I had my Mom’s love and presence to surround me. Everyone seemed to be in a rush and ready to leave that day. It’s not like we have a huge immediate family to begin with. Just me and my sister. We all we got. I really couldn’t understand (at the time) or make sense of how I felt. It’s like her death never happened. It felt as if life just kept right on goin’, while my world completely stopped. And it did. Part of me felt like no one cared. Not one single soul.
After the music stopped…After the processional ended…After we laid my beautiful Mother to rest…After the celebratory fellowship of my Mother’s new home in heaven…
Everyone was gone.
I was angry. I was hurt. I was confused.
I had barely taken a bite out of my Publix fried chicken before I was greeted with hugs, kisses, and goodbyes. After the homegoing celebration of a loved one there would usually be a house packed out with family, friends from near and far that make themselves at home, and about a dozen plus kids running through the house. At least that’s how all of the ones were that Mother and I attended over my 36 and some change years of life. The grown-ups would go around the room sharing funny stories mixed with tears of sadness, and then you’ll hear a Grandmother or one of the aunts screaming to the chirren…”y’all take all that racket outside!” Not this time. You could hear a pin drop. We were left with a few family members/friends and my four nephews. My nephews were running around the yard without a care in the world, happy to be “free” and just be. I believe in my heart my Mom was smiling, because I think that’s all she wanted. To watch her grandbabies enjoy her Happy Place. Her home. In peace.
Lower your expectations on earth. Keep your heart set on heaven. —Chris Hodges
Then I became angry…again. Not quite sure what stage of grief I’m in right now, so please don’t ask. No, wait…I’m in the “ALL over the place” stage! But I do thank God for my Grief Share small group. All I could say was, “Why Mama? Why did you leave me like this? Why did you leave us?” No warning. OK maybe a subtle warning, but not a for real warning. I said to her silently, I don’t do well with hints, Sarah, and you know it! Did I mention that my husband’s beloved Grandmother…my Grandmother…went home to be in the “bosom of Jesus” the day before my Mother parted this earth? D-O-U-B-L-E-W-H-A-M-M-Y. Sometimes I wonder if Grandma and Mom secretly planned their exit together.
I think I was angry because I wanted to know why she couldn’t tell me she was ready to go home. Or did she? I needed to hear it straight with no chaser, but she didn’t dish it like that. People keep saying, “you know your Mom never wanted you to worry.” I get it.
But still…I’m angry. Working on that.
KEEP YOUR HEART SET ON HEAVEN
Nothing prepared me for this heartbreak, and I’m learning to adjust to it daily. It’s all about winning the day. Pastor Chris shared a message this past Sunday part of the You Asked For It Series on “How Do I Handle Stress?”. I really need to plaster the bullet points to my forehead like a sticky note, because there’s nothing I can do to change the circumstances. He talked about finding REST in the middle of a stressful season — HELLO — (and yes that includes the current state of our world). I have to stop holding on so tightly to this life on earth and LIVE!
We have to shift our earthly focus to eternal, and make a difference for this short time we are here on earth. I can do this. And if you are in this season, you can too. Just plaster those sticky notes to your forehead and keep going.
Live with a sense of purpose and urgency… Jesus offers more than a better now. He offers a better place.” -Pastor Chris Hodges