A mom without a mom. Losing my mom (part 2)

First picture after not seeing each other for two years!

Mother’s day was this past Sunday and it was a very different day for me this year! I am 30 weeks pregnant with my second boy and in love with chasing after my almost 18 month old firstborn son. We spent the weekend doing things as a family which is also my favorite thing: quality time! So amazingly this time Mother’s Day did not sting as much or blindside me with the constant reminder that my own mom was no longer here to celebrate. The first celebration after I lost my mom was incredibly difficult; there were signs every reminding me to buy a card, a present, or take my mom out. I was overwhelmed and under-prepared! It made her birthday look easy to get through honestly since I didn’t have to deal with all of the marketing. I remember driving around trying to see the road through my tears and I saw a garden store and pulled over. I bought a hanging plant for my front porch with huge flowers that I thought she would have loved.

Mother’s Day 2006

I am sure its understandable to see why the sting of loss gets easier over the years but one thing is getting harder for me. Having babies and raising them without my mom has got to be the hardest thing for me right now. Mother’s day as a whole has become easy because its on a Sunday and my husband is home and we can fill it with activities and the time flies. But day-in-day-out there are so many things questions left un-answered and conversations that just can not happen. I thankfully don’t feel the despondency of this loss intensely on a daily basis but if I could explain my great sadness as a mom it would not be “baby blues” or “post-pardem,” although I am sure I dealt with these things since I see them as a normal part of the process, but it would be the massive vacuum I feel wanting to share these precious people with her. You have to understand, my mom was a Grandma! She was an amazing grandma! I watched her love her grand babies fiercely! She took them for the weekend, she gave advice to my step-sister when she needed it, she taught them about Jesus! I got to watch and I got to get excited for my time to come someday when she would do the same for my babies! We even talked about it. We both shared our grief with the idea that if I stayed in overseas missions and potentially got married over there and started having children that it would be so challenging to be far away from each other. We were excited at the time because Skype was becoming more popular and video chat would make it easier to be far apart. I love that we talked about this then, it made me know her heart, her desire to be close to her grand babies that were not even alive yet!

Mom and Marlin on the cruise

I feel like this subject is much harder for me write about, its fresh. In fact, its almost news to me how big of a deal this is in my life. I have known grief and I have walked through pain, but this is a daily part of living without my mom. I’m not ready to explain it away yet or to put a Bible verse on it. I am in the feeling stage and the walking it out in a real way. My son is in that stage where he is learning who people are and making connections with them. I know pictures and stories will be the way we teach him about his Grandma Connie but I also know how much he would have loved her! He can tell a joyful, kind person from like a mile away! He gave a hug to a sweet woman at a service we were at last week. This is not something he does very often but it was so sweet to her as he put his arms out to this woman, who of course reminded me a bit of my own mom!

My mom had a daycare in our house from the time I turned 7 until 17 years old. So I watched her take care of other people’s babies for years! We took trips to the library, the park, and of course during the summer we were daily at the pool! She taught them songs, always prayed before lunch, and let them play for hours in the back yard! I got trained as a momma by my mom from a very young age and for that I am thankful and reflective of what that did to impact me as a mom now. But I still want her on speed dial! “He isn’t eating, will he start sleeping, can you come take him for a night, mom what do I do??” “Am I doing a good job?” I never contemplated how much I would need her right now! The 8 years before I had my first baby, even my wedding seems now easy compared to this! I guess the next question to ask is “what is the Lord saying?”

Grandma with Grand-daughter Riley

Personally, I was raised by my mom, but beyond that I also spent a ton of time during my childhood with my dad’s mom, Grandma Phyllis and my mom’s mom Grandma Doris! Both of these women taught me so much even if they didn’t really ever know it. My Grandma Phyllis kept us one weekend a month out on my grandparent’s farm. My favorite thing to do with her was play make-believe and she would do it with me for hours. We would pretend to take the tractor to the store to get supplies to make food for my “restaurant” and then we would go back inside so she could pretend to order from my restaurant and eat my pretend food! Hours! Seriously, I can’t even imagine how she did that! My Grandma Doris often got me or my brother for days at a time due to sickness. Unfortunately when your mom runs a daycare in your home instead of being cared for by your mom when you are sick instead you are shipped off to Grandma’s house! It was honestly not so bad! Grandpa would let us watch tv with him and Grandma taught me how to make angel food cake from scratch! They were an incredible part of my upbringing and I can’t imagine my life without them in it.

This blog feels a bit up and down but of course that is honestly how grief works. And part of grieving is letting questions go unanswered and tears left rolling down our faces. This is how we become who we are meant to be. We talk, we share, we cry, we miss, we remember, and then we do it all over again. Hugging and kissing the pain doesn’t have to equal depression and it doesn’t have to mean that we are falling apart everyday. We are just us! And that is to be expected. We didn’t ask to be in this situation but we get to make the choice to walk to it out. I miss my mom and I need her right now! Its not okay that she isn’t here to squeeze my little man. She is really missing out!! He is a ridiculously cute little person! I like to pretend that she would have convinced my step-dad to move here if she was still alive. But she isn’t here to do those things and that makes sense but it still hurts like crazy that she’s not. (Breath). I feel like Forrest Gump said it best, “and thats all I have to say about that!”

I guess thats my way of saying… to be continued!

So happy to be together after two years!
Other blogs in the series “Losing my mom:”
Part 1: Losing my mom

Losing my mom (part 1)

Through out my life loss has been a theme. First it was observing abuse, then it was experiencing abuse, then it was more real through my parent’s divorce, then one summer losing friends through a vehicle accident, and grandparents passing on top of that. But nothing could have prepared me for losing my mom. I know the veil is thin, she is dancing before the throne, and one day again we will be together but for now she is gone and this has been the most painful loss of all. 

In a month it will be 10 years since a car accident took my mom from this earth and I am thankful for the time which has healed more than I know but it doesn’t seem like that long at all. The months leading up to her accident I was home on furlough from being a full time missionary overseas working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). So we had been spending almost all of that time together until just a week before the accident. My stepdad, mom, and I even went on a cruise to the Carribean for six days when I landed in the US from being gone for two whole years. My mom could not wait to see me and drove straight down to Texas to meet me a whole night before she was supposed to! I have pictures of her face when she saw me for the first time in two years! If anyone knew her they can imagine what she would do to see her “baby girl!” 

Vacation together! 

My mom was a tenacious lover of people! Especially her kids! During the four years I spent in missions she would always find a way to call me, no matter the nation I was in! And packages would appear at the host homes even in South Africa I got hot chocolate and Reece’s Peanut Butter cups!! She was a force to be reckoned with, a Momma with a burning heart for Jesus! After the cruise she instantly wanted to find a church to go to. Although I also love Jesus I told her no, “no mom, we are not going to go to church today, we are going to get off of this huge boat, find something to eat, and make it to Wichita before dark!” I probably broke a piece of her heart but she said okay, this woman loved to worship and be at church! She loved to go wherever we were, whenever she could! And that was where she was the night she died. She had just left a church meeting in Hoxie, Kansas and was headed home to Atwood when the driver of another car drove through a highway stop-sign and T-boned her car, killing her almost instantly. And in that moment, at 50 years old, she was living her biggest dream and that was to see the face of Jesus, her beloved one! 

I know so often when we lose someone we can blow out of proportion the “amazingness” of the one we lose. I do that sometimes and then I remember that she also used to drive me crazy lol! But I can not exaggerate how my mom loved the Lord. That would never be possible! She set a precedent for me that I am not even sure I would know how to surpass and I am okay with that. She journaled daily and poured her heart out to God constantly. She was a prayer away from Him and dialed in more often than I could know. She studied the word, constantly listened to teachings, and worship, at church, at a bible study, or a conference. Why does all this matter? Because I have met many people who teach how to be a tenacious lover of Jesus and I know few who do it on a daily basis like my mom did! And it matters even more because this is my inheritance! She paved a way for me and for my children to walk in love and with an un-offended heart! This is gold in my book! 

Oh the banana cake!! 

Okay deep breath. My mom loved Hawaiian banana bread with lots of cream cheese frosting. We went on a road trip together during my break and she frosted the muffins she had made and put them in a zip lock bag and of course that meant every time she or I wanted one she would have to reach her hand in and get covered in frosting. This did not hurt her feelings at all, we were laughing hysterically about this one and I got some cute pictures too! My mom’s eyes smiled, there was joy about her that was contagious yet a depth of pain and suffering that she had walked through in her life that made it more than happiness. She was truly joyful, and believed the best about people and circumstances even in the face of adversity. I think she honestly taught me how to grieve even before I had to grieve losing her. She would feel it and let it happen to her, I was a runner and just wanted it to go away and everything to be better or the same again! But this time I didn’t have a choice. 

Selfie on the cruise before selfies were cool!

Grief is a crazy thing! I was only 25 when I lost my mom and so there is so much of my life since then that I have lived without her. A void that was left and not filled honestly until I got married two years ago. My husband obviously didn’t become my mom or something but our union healed so much of the pain of loss that I lived with for the 8 years. I know there are many books on grieving, but most people that I share my experience with mention that I should teach on it. I had a friend who lost a child ask me for my story three years ago but until now I am not sure if I could have written any of this. I have beat myself up and said I should have done a grief group or counseling or something, anything. Within the weeks and months after the accident the one thing I felt to do was sing. That was the most painful thing I could have thought about doing. Seems easy. But for a singer. No way. And to sing to God. To worship, to surrender. Or to write a song that would put words to the pain that I was in. That seemed impossible for sure. I was so lost, (not unsaved, just in a fog) and the pain was as if I had been snapped in half. It was the most dehabilitating experience of my life. My heart felt like it was literally broken, like physically something was wrong with me. I cried and cried and cried and cried, and when it felt like I had no more tears left I cried some more. And it wasn’t just hysterical crying, it was deep groans almost screaming from the inside out. I was crushed and I didn’t know what to do. 

But I obeyed, I sang. I had a picture of the ocean crashing wave upon wave on the shore. I had just spent a lot of time in the ocean the years prior so I knew what it was like to be in them. Often the waves would catch me just right and suck me under flipping me in the water and spit me on the shore. It was definitely overwhelming but not really that big of a deal once it was over most times. This is how the Holy Spirit explained my grief to me. It was like a wave that I was running from but once I let it hit me and let the tears and cries out then it was better after that. The scripture He would bring to me day after day was Psalm 30:5 “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” The picture of the wave crashing over me but then it was over. The joy came. And I didn’t usually have to wait until the morning, within a short time of releases those tears I would feel the release and relief of the sorrow in my heart. I think this process kept me from becoming angry. During this time I wrote several songs about my grief and my loss. Singing, although it was extremely painful, was so helpful as well. And writing has always been an outlet for me. I would always know when I was dealing with some of the deep things when my journal was silent for a season. A season without words or sometimes even songs. At first I was worried that I was depressed but I clung to the thought that God knew my thoughts from afar and he wasn’t worried at all. I tried to go back to normal, whatever that was, but for a few years I was searching, searching for home I guess. Grief is intense and everyone’s experience with it is different, yet I have met several people that resonate with my experience. Giving grief a voice and a place in my life has been so helpful as I process my story.  

I am so thankful that God gave me a mom like Connie Sue! She was and still is a gift to me! I cherish the years I got with her and of course would give anything to have more years! But I have a peace within me about it, I still have tears, and I even have a few regrets. Nothing that a little song can’t fix.

I love you mom,
your baby girl!

First time seeing mom after two years!
Other blogs in the series “Losing my mom:”
Part 1: Losing my mom