I’ve got my first GUEST WRITER appearing today! It only makes sense that it would be my mom as, I believe, she’s a huge reason why I love words so much! She’s been showering me with words since before I was born and it’s not unusual for her to bless me (and HUNDREDS of others -including MY friends, daughters/family, and anyone that has ever bagged her groceries or checked her in at the dentist office) with handwritten or typed letters. These notes appear on my front porch as well as in my mailbox. I’m beyond blessed that she’s a lover of “snail mail” and probably has an expense for “stamps” listed on her budget! In other words – she WRITES (and blesses people) a LOT!
So this morning I was handed an envelope in church (not unusual) with the directions to “read this when you have a quiet moment”. After I got home from church, I read it, cried (wish she was where I could hug her) and then called and asked if I could share it here.
My mom and I have grieved differently over my dad/her husband’s death. I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way to do this and, obviously, people will be in different stages and handle things differently. Today I appreciate knowing how much my mom misses her man – her husband of 58 years and my dad of almost 51!
Here is the letter she shared with me (and gave me permission to share here):
November 5, 2016 6:15 a.m.
This process of grieving is uncharted territory for me. It’s very individual, different for everyone who experiences it. There are many books and pamphlets and groups offered as helps, but I haven’t felt led to take advantage of them. Until now…Writing has always been my therapy of choice, but perhaps I need something more. We’ll see.
An hour ago I had the most vivid dream of Jim yet. I was sitting at his desk in our home office when he suddenly appeared behind me, with a suitcase in one hand and a coat over his other arm. He was in the shirt in the picture from his memorial service program (pics below), and his ‘Lynn grin’ was spread across his beaming face! He looked healthy and oh, so happy! At one point early in our marriage he told me he wanted to travel, but I learned over our years together that for him, the best part of going on a trip, was coming HOME! The expression on his face would always be the same at the moment of returning – pure JOY – and it would stir the same emotion in me. How I loved that look that would light up his face, and my heart always melted when I saw it.
Seeing Jim in the dream only lasted a moment and then I awoke with intense longing for him. Tears have not come often since God gave me the peaceful and precious ‘letting go’ time with my husband of 58 years. He was in a hospital bed here at home and his Hospice nurse sat in a recliner in the corner of the room. I was up and down four times in the last night of sleeping in the twin bed beside him. A few times he woke me by making soft noises in his sleep; I’d get up and stand by him and pray and then be able to get back in bed and go back to sleep myself. One time I whispered in his ear and kissed his forehead, and it was a gift from God to have that sweet goodbye time. When he took his last breath the next morning after Morris and our two grandsons came, Michael was the only family member in the room with his grandpa.
Because of the peace that was here that April 18th morning, I experienced God’s strength in the days ahead. I felt held together by intercessory prayers of family and friends, and carried along on a wave of calm gratitude that Jim was no longer suffering ill health. There have been ups and downs since the great blessings that came from the memorial service at church on April 30th, with a few tears shed here and there. While watching a tender closing moment of a Hallmark movie one evening, I watched the couple embracing and had the startling thought that no one will ever kiss me on the lips again. In a recent dream Jim came behind me unexpectedly and just announced, “I’m going back to bed,” as he often did last year at this time. I turned and put my arms around him and could feel his wonderful hug in that moment before waking up. That dream left me in a lonely, melancholy mood for a few hours, but the feeling this morning is of overwhelming sadness – the tears keep coming! I discovered it’s very hard to brush your teeth when you’re crying! Standing in the kitchen a few minutes later, I thought of the following passage of scripture from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians:
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thes. 4:13-18
Later 7:45 a.m. (side note – love how she always tells me what time she’s writing!)
At that point Sophie dog came to tell me it was 7 o’clock and time for her breakfast. Her internal time clock is so amazing to me. I went out on the porch to feed her, and my housemate was just coming out of her bedroom door to do the same thing. (Megan has taken on the responsibilities of feeding the two beta fish, Sophie, and watering the patio plants.) When she asked how I’d slept, I burst into tears again. We ended up sitting on the porch and as I shared the dream with my friend, I couldn’t stop crying. This is all so strange – maybe the tears have been held back for such a time as this. The blessing in the morning has been to focus on the good news in the verses above! I know God’s Word is true and that I will see the Lynn grin I love again. The sadness is lifting now, as the dawn of the new day is coming. And, “God is good all the time. All the time, God is good,” as our friend, Tyrone, used to say.
Am I to share this? Would it benefit anyone else?
P.S. Right after writing the above, I saw a ‘tobymac’ poster on a friend’s Facebook post that said:
“Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.”
So here it is, coming with a prayer that it will somehow bless you.
My mom…she’s great, right?
Thanks mom, for sooooo many things/reasons…one of which is how much you were committed to and loved my dad. What a gift to never, ever doubt it. The older I get, the more I realize how rare that is. #beyondblessed #sothankfulforyou #iloveyou