|Formal picture taken on the cruise April 2006|
Death is so permanent. There is nothing quite like it, especially what it does to your life afterwards. My mom was the center of a universe of family and prayers and provision and love. Without her life as we knew it would never ever be the same. I woke up the second day after she died in her house which was technically full of people but it was empty and without her in so many ways we were lost at least for a while. It was her house, her decorations, her worship cds, her kitchen packed with food for the masses, and her Bible all marked up with highlighters. The house was void of her laugh, that incredible laugh she had, I hear it sometimes! It comes out of my own mouth and even my husband has grown to recognize the Connie laugh even though technically he has never met my mom. She is hard to miss! I especially hear her when I am talking to my little boy! This familiarity used to grate me as a teenager, “I am not like my mom!” We fight those similarities until you lose the person you have them with; after that you cling to them!
|Last picture taken of my mom and me!|
Life as I knew it was full of my mom’s friendship and her prayers! I had been overseas for over two years and my mom had become my closest friend. She would call, listen, pray, and cry with me about everything that had been going on in Australia and the countries I traveled to. And when I got home she gave me my step-dad’s cell phone so I could call her whenever I wanted although I think during that three months before the accident! What a gift! We talked and talked and talked when we weren’t together which was such a gift because I never had a cell phone during college or my time overseas so our calls were always limited to my location and a phone card! But as always my mom was the center of that as well, she pursued me and helped me be able to talk to others back home too. Come to think of it mom was the center all growing up too. She was always there, you could always count on her to bring you forgotten homework even if she had to load up all of the daycare kids to bring it to school for you. Some parents wouldn’t have done that but mom did. She always cooked, baked, sang, went to church, brought you to church unless you were puking! She was always herself! If that was happy or sad or frustrated or worn out! She was so consistently Connie! I am sure she struggled with embracing herself on the inside but from our view she was Connie and that was that!
|Easter 2006 with the most but not all of the Lillich family!|
|Grandma and her grand-daughter Haley|
And on June 11th, 2006 all of that changed forever, well at least for us, it was permanent. There was nothing we could do and it tore me apart from the inside out. How could you have a whirlwind of love and depth around you like that and then in a moment completely gone? How do you grasp the intensity of that? She was love, she was comfort, she was servant hearted, she was a fighter, she was my prayer covering, she was wisdom, she was patient, and she was a companion! These past ten years have been a force of grief to be reckoned with! Of course in the beginning it was daily and now its more so holidays, important days, and when I let myself think of what an amazing grandma she would be. One thing that has not changed is the fifth that she gave to me as a little girl who would get scared in the middle of the night. My mom was a heavy heavy sleeper so this was not the best time to try and get her attention. But she was faithful to teach me how to pray, specifically how to talk to Jesus and tell him how I was feeling. That is the part of “life as I know it” that has never changed! She gave me a legacy to pass to my babies and for them to pass to there’s! She might have taught me out of desperation (of a tired mommy) for me to go to sleep but I know deep down it was how she was living out her faith and she passed on to me the keys to life!
I still haven’t gotten those pictures out of the suit case yet. I meant to do it before my next baby comes. Now I have less than 6 weeks lol! Its funny how ten years could pass and I am still procrastinating grief! I think it makes me normal. I remember singing a duet with my mom once. We sang “As the Deer” at a woman’s meeting (I think). It blessed her so much that I would sing “with” her! I sang “Call on Jesus” by Nicole C. Mullen at her funeral. I wasn’t going to sing at first and I had even told my family no about it. But I was getting ready a couple mornings before the service and heard that song and felt God telling me that I needed to sing it. I am not sure if anyone remembers the day of the funeral but I know that I have never sang like that before or since. It was so powerful and so meaningful and afterwards I invited people to give their lives to Jesus. I knew I had to! That is why she lived! She lived for Him! And now she is continuing to live for Him! Its the only thing that continues! The only part that is permanent in a different way than death. And it wasn’t in vain because I know some of the people who surrendered that day and their lives have never been the same! I blame mom! She prayed and prayed and prayed and of course its at her funeral that gave their lives! Such a beautiful picture of a seed falling to the ground. That would have meant more to her than anything I could have said or done at her funeral! And I know she was so proud of her “baby girl” singing on a stage on a day like that day! Especially when she knew that singing was going to be the hardest thing that I could decide to do that day or any day after! She was cheering for us then and she is cheering for us now! And through it all she is singing of how good God is! No matter what! And I agree!
|Mom with just born Dreghton|
|VBS in Atwood 2006|
|Mom, Marlin, & Dreghton just hours old|
To God be the glory, great things he has done;
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the lifegate that we may go in.