5 Lessons I Learned From My Mom’s Unexpected Death
I still remember the way my knees felt.
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I have never, before that point, or thankfully since, been taken to my knees with such a quickness.
I remember the phone feeling like a ton of bricks.
I remember hearing a cry… or a scream? and not being sure if it actually came from me.
I remember the feeling of the cold metal chair that was kindly offered to me, once I could get back to my feet.
I remember thinking why and what now?
Mother’s Day is coming up, or it will be here when this is published. Without rhyme or reason that I can tell, some years are harder for me than others.
This year is one of them.
You see, I lost my sweet Mom in an unexpected car accident 15 years ago.
But that’s not the end.
God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” –Revelation 21:3-5
As time passes, I have realized that there are a few lessons I have learned from this trial. These are the ones I hold close to my heart.
Please know I share this with you as a friend who lost a parent and loved ones. I would not be equipped to speak of the immeasurable pain that accompanies the loss of a child- in any way, as some of my dear friends have experienced.
I am just someone who continually prays, processes and works through these areas as much as anyone else. It’s only on my heart to share in hopes to extend a bit of the comfort that I have been comforted with, by the Lord, over the years.
It’s Ok to Grieve
Since that day, I have lost a step-dad, grandmas, and grandpas and loved ones. I have watched friends and loved ones – lose friends and loved ones. Some unexpected and some knew that the end was near.
It honestly didn’t matter so much the details. The pain was all-inclusive and extensive.
What was different, is the way people experienced the grief. Everyone seemed to express it differently.
Grief is personal and YOU have permission to grieve. It’s ok and God wants you to be able to express your grief to Him.
In John 11 when Lazarus died and Mary and Martha were questioning Jesus and saying if He hadn’t delayed then Lazarus would still be alive.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
As I read that it hit me –
Didn’t I often say the same?
My version went something like…
Where were you Lord during my Mom’s accident?
Why Lord? Why?
How am I supposed to handle this?
Then I read the next verse –
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
Stick with me here for just a minute because this is important.
Troubled – The Latin and Greek words for troubled both express a MORE than ordinary inward trouble. It angered Jesus that because of sin there is death and it raised in him these affections of compassion and grief. It reminded me that it is ok to grieve or be angry or sad about death. And it is definitely OK (and good) to talk to God about it and ask for His help and grace to handle it.
The last verse that I read – the shortest in the Bible, packed so much into it for me …
35 Jesus wept.
Jesus, Lord, here on earth as a man DID feel and experience what I feel about grief and death of others and it brought Him to tears. He DOES know and He CAN comfort me in it if I give it to Him and let Him help.
These next two lessons I learned from my Mom
Be Authentic, Always
With friends and with family, with neighbors or people you don’t even know. And as a Mom, be authentic.
If she was having a good day, she shared, if she was having an awful day, she shared. Highs and lows, the good bad and ugly, never covering or pretending all was OK. She was real and as her children, she gave us a gift. She connected with us and taught us the importance of real relationships with real people.
Even though she never met her grandchildren, she has influenced them through me as I try to take that into my parenting each day. For her wisdom in that, I am forever grateful.
The Little Things Matter
I can’t tell you how clear this has become. The more that time passes and bigger questions like Will I remember the sound of her voice? pop into my mind, the Lord graciously reminds me of all the little things that I remember. Some may seem odd to you but … wink wink to my sis and bro 🙂
A Geo Tracker
These trigger memories in my mind and heart that I will forever cherish. She was my biggest cheerleader. Thoughts of her smile, her sweetness, her notes and cards, her hugs and her handwriting all help give me encouragement on tough parenting days 🙂 By God’s grace, I do my best to remember, think of and pass on these “little things” to my children as well.
Our faithful God continues to lead me in these..
Be Intentional With My Time
This one should be labeled a lesson I’m learn-ing. Our time on earth is a gift from God – And it flies by. I remember planning my Mom’s 40th surprise birthday party, not having a clue how fast those last couple of years would go before she was gone.
I want to continually recognize God’s gift and redeem the time He has given me. I want to be, and teach our children to be, good stewards of any time that He continues to give us on this earth. My Mom’s unexpected passing continues to push my focus to the Lord in this.
Lastly, I have learned
God Is Sovereign
Sovereign – He is in control of all. He IS all and is IN All. There is nothing outside of his control.
God knows all things past, present, and future. He has full knowledge. God knows everything, in all detail, before it happens.
I admit. That sounded good- until it came to losing my Mom. I had to wrestle with that for some time. I wanted answers. I wanted assurance. I wanted to see His plan. My human mind wanted to understand something that only an all-knowing God knows.
I prayed and wrestled some more.
If I believed that God truly loves me. If I believed that He works ALL things out for good for those who love Him, then I had a choice to make.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
No, I likely won’t understand it all before I get to heaven, but I choose to trust and follow the all-knowing, almighty creator. I am ever grateful for His grace and mercy in walking me through these lessons in my life and His faithfulness to never leave or forsake me through whatever is ahead!
So, all these years later on Mother’s Day, I wanted to write this to remind and encourage you. Today and every day you get the chance, H-U-G your Moms. Cherish them. Forgive them and thank them. Tell them you love them.
I will be H-U-G-G-I-N-G our kiddos – until they can’t even breathe straight – Yes, we say that around here 🙂 and will spend time being oh so grateful for the opportunity to be a Mom!
Are you struggling with any of these lessons? Is there anything I can pray for you today?
Please join in the comments below or send me an email if you have a prayer request, it would be a privilege to pray for you!
Talk to you soon,
O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul;
You have redeemed my life.
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