It has been a tough 48 hours. This morning as I finally just collapsed into God, allowed the tears to roll down freely and handed Him the weight of my soul, I paused to thank Him for His peace, for joy in the sorrow, for comfort, for the love of family and friends. Sometimes when the burden is heaviest, I can be reminded that it is not mine to carry, He will carry the burden. I just get to walk alongside Him, under His yoke.
Those were my thoughts a week ago today. I woke up with plans to get ready for church; instead hopped in my care for the twelve hour drive to Arkansas. I was told my Auntie was being transferred to the hospice house. There was no other place I could be.
Although tears came during my drive, the thought of her dying was not in my mind. Last time I was at the hospital with her, I looked at the numbers on the monitor and thought hospice too. Years passed. She was in and out of the hospital a couple times, but always bounced back. This time, in my mind, would be no different. Even leaving the hospice house around midnight, that was not in my thoughts.
When I got the call to come back a few hours later, that she had taken a turn, my only prayer was “Please let us make it there.” Her daughter and I were both traveling about the same distance but from opposite directions. Within 30 or so minutes of us making it back, with her hand in ours, she made her entrance into heaven.
Even sitting there, preparing our hearts for the final goodbyes, we were laughing and reminiscing. Then talking about the plans and what Auntie would want. Then to the funeral home to make plans that afternoon, and going through pictures that evening with my sisters. I was running purely on my type A personality of getting things done. I can compartmentalize until I allow myself to sit with my feelings and thoughts.
Sitting in the bedroom of my daughter’s home, I really did just lean into God. It the stillness of the morning, the quiet tears turned into sobs and I broke before my Father. During my drive, He had reminded me of all the times my Auntie was there for me. She was my emotional rock. She was the one there for me when my dad was in jail and separated from the family. She was the one the comforted me at the funeral of my best friend when I was eight. She was the one I wrote to frequently when she moved away pleading to come stay with her because my parents didn’t understand or care. I felt like I had more memories of her in my childhood than my own parents, even though I always lived with my parents and she moved back to California when I was in my early teens.
I do have a peace, but it is not the same as the transcendent peace I had when my mother passed. It is a peace knowing that she is whole again. She is in the presence of God, united with other family, and would not trade that for another day on earth. I have that peace in my mind. I am not sure it has reached my heart yet because my heart still feels numb.
Driving back home to New Mexico, the tears came again. Memories are only funny when they are shared with those who can appreciate the craziness in the moment. Even my husband doesn’t understand how I can laugh uncontrollably about a little bottle of water, a lit candle, or a shake of the leg. It just isn’t funny if you don’t know the back story and it isn’t the same if you have to tell it. And so the tears come most days.
I find myself sounding a lot like my clients as I talk to God “I’m tired of crying.” I am tired of tearing up every time someone asks “How are you doing?” when they know why they are really asking. And then I have to remind myself to let the tears flow, knowing they won’t last forever. Allowing myself to stop them only when I am not in a space where tears are okay (aka when I counseling someone else).
In those moments, I am able to give it to God completely. I have tried to leave it with Him, knowing He will carry me, and my grief. He can handle my questions of why. He knows that I am also grateful that I was able to be there with her and was honored to speak at her memorial service.
I trust that God is with me through this journey. I know I am not alone, and have a great group of people around me. He is my Comforter. My joy will return and He will hold me in His strength until it does.
Leave a Reply