The cold, crisp fall air whirled around my body as I plunged deeper and deeper into the still, quiet woods. The bright blue sky made the oranges, reds and dirty browns pop.
Her voice filled the hallways of my heart, “Look around, Sara! Look around, Sara!” she would demand. “Don’t miss the changes in the trees!” as her bubbly eyes glanced to and fro, pointing out her favorite ones as we drove down familiar roads.
We’ve circled back around to a season I have always loved the best. But nearly 3 years ago, the bold colors, the glorious pumpkin smells, the crunching leaves, the warm fires and the changing trees were tainted with the bitter suffering of her death.
Yesterday, I couldn’t even catch my breath as I placed my hands on my knees, bent over in the middle of the trail on the verge of throwing up. Only the deer and the squirrels beared witness to the sobs as they bubbled up from my gut and overflowed to the red Mississippi mud. “WHY?!” I half screamed, half wailed. “Why, did no one tell me?!”
In the last year, I’ve had many friends lose their Mamas. And while no two experiences are the same, there is enough sameness to have a shared experience. If I had the resources, I would drop everything and run to these people’s sides. There is something out of this world comforting about looking into another person’s eyes and knowing, “You’ve been here. You understand!” Your souls are knit together under unwanted circumstances, and you sit in it together.
1. No one tells you, your birthday will eternally connect you to your mom. No one tells you on your birthday, you will ache for her more than any other day of the year. No one celebrates you on your birthday, quite like your mom.
This year, I had a complete temper-tantrum on my birthday. I woke up to children who were screaming at each other and NONE of whom remembered it was my birthday. NONE. My sweet daddy, (who was washing a butt-load of dishes in the sink) salvaged the moment (and ultimately helped Mark salvage the day); he hugged me around the waist, kissed my check and placed a hot cup of coffee in my hands, “Happy Birthday, sweetie!” #limpoutloud
2. No one told me I would lose my way.
I remember feeling lost for months after Mama died. Almost like sleep walking in a fog. I remember thinking, “I don’t know which way to go!” Even though I was a grown adult, married woman, and mother of 4; I felt like I was living without a map. As one of her daughters, I followed closely behind her. She taught me to BE a woman. Her very life was the sign post of daily living. Her life beckoned me, “Go this way. Turn here, graciously. Speak these words, gently. Stand here, firmly. Love them, tenderly. Fight for them, fiercely.”
It was like the trail she had blazed before me for 31 years, died with her. And as one her daughters, I felt like the torch of her life of valor, was suddenly laying at my feet and I panicked, “I can’t do this. I can’t carry on her legacy. I can’t bear the weight of being up to bat so soon. I have 3 sets of beautiful baby girl eyes staring at me, who do I stare at? Who do I take my cues from?”………
-Who will I ask when I don’t remember all the ingredients in a recipe?
-Who will I call when I am ready to sell my children on Ebay?
-Who will tell me I am not failing as a Mom, and I made the right choice even though it hurts like hell?
-Who will be the nucleus of family gatherings, holidays and celebrations?
-Who will speak truth over my heart like only a Mama can?
Long days, dark nights, buckets of tears, mysterious emotions blind-siding me from no where, and 3 years worth of new memories made without her presence.
3. No one told me, “although you are weeping, the Lord will help you to keep sowing.”
This song has been on repeat all week. GO! Go listen to it and come back.
The longer I live the more I realize we are all weeping as we sow. ALL OF US! It is the tears of daily living that water our stories until the Lord restores them.
My mom sowed a lot of seeds, weeping. Weeping over her own broken places or other’s broken places. She wept as she suffered her own losses, or as she walked along with others as they suffered.
But just like Psalm 126 declares, “all those who sow weeping will go out with songs of joy!”
My mom went out with songs of joy.
When her spoiled body and mind could respond to nothing, her soul responded to song… Songs of joy! After 67 years of earthly weeping, on November 21st, 2012, her clothes of this world were stripped away and He rejoiced over HER with SHOUTS of joy. He dressed her in bridal gowns and saw her scars. He traced them with His very fingers and looked into the intimate chambers of her soul and spoke, “Sweet child of Valor, look up and behold the seeds you sowed while weeping. They are the witnesses to your sowing, far deeper than your eye can fathom. Well done, good and faithful servant!’
In my weeping, He is sowing, and I WILL go out with songs of JOY!