Some days, I can hear her voice so clearly, it's hard to imagine that she's not here. Some days, memories are so fresh, so recent, I can't fathom how long it's been since I was with her.
As these summer days roll by, I find myself playing the "this time last year" game. This time last year, we were struggling to make Mom comfortable in the nursing home. This time last year, every time my cell rang, I'd get a sick feeling in my stomach, wondering what bad news awaited or what crisis needed averting. This time last year, we were getting ready for our big Florida vacation, and I was worried sick that my mom's health would interrupt our trip. This time last year, we were swimming in medical and financial questions, not sure what to do or how to do it. This time last year, we had no idea that Mom would be gone by September.
In spite of those recurring reminders of all the awful, I'm still awash in happier memories. I'll see a children's book and hear her sing-song voice. I'll see an old dish in our cupboard and remember its place in our Tyler home. And hardly an hour passes that I don't think of something I want to tell her, something that would make her gasp in delight or laugh that hearty chuckle of hers.
Some days, I let myself forget that she's gone.
Maybe summer's slower pace is giving me more time to think, more chances to reflect, to mourn. Maybe it's just a natural part of the grieving process, to face a new wave of pain as the one-year mark approaches. But wow, have these last few weeks been rough. My anxiety level has been creeping up to paralyzing levels at times, and I know grief is the undercurrent, causing me to lose my footing and self-assuredness.
Last Sunday's sermon was about transitions, and Jim (our preacher) reminded us that our mission is to see God in the transition. I'm failing there, too. I need God's comfort, but I don't feel it. I need His "blessed assurance," but I'm struggling to feel assured.
When I fall into pits like this one, I need Philippians 4:
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I know God is there—HERE—but I crave His peace. We're called to "be anxious for nothing," but lately I feel anxious about EVERYTHING. Because of the depth of my love for my parents, I expect intense grief. I'm even thankful for it. But we were not made to live in despair.
Please pray for me, and for all those who find themselves in their own valleys.