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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Return To The Motherland

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Everything about this move is bittersweet. I will miss my Ontario home but I will be helping my family. I would hope that one day in the next year (or two) I could move back to Canada, once (or if) we get my dad settled into an assisted living situation. I really love the people here and it will be hard to leave.

This is the real key for me though: 1 Tim 5:4, 8 – “If a widow (or widower) has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

I have actually considered this move many times over the last year but my friends have been the ones to keep me in Ontario – not because they talked me out of moving but because they meant so much to me. Just this past Christmas I was looking for job opportunities in the States, something I've done on and off since my siblings and I relocated my parents to the Midwest. I never wanted my parents to feel alone or trapped in their new apartment, especially since we sold their vehicle last year because they could no longer be trusted to drive. And now that my mom is gone my dad’s worst fear is that he will be alone in that apartment.

That breaks my heart.

The last time I saw my mom in September she told me how much she loved having me around and how much it meant to her when I would visit. She had also told her friends back in New York that I was going to move to their new city and get a job! I guess she was right.

So, as hard as this will be for me – and it will be very hard to leave Ontario – I feel a strong sense of Godly responsibility. And I hope one day that my family (siblings, nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces – who are in the States) will one day feel the same responsibility for me.

Mother Dear

Sunday, March 07, 2010
No one can prepare you for the death of your mother. I have thought about this many times over the last week. From the moment I received "the call" regarding my mom's tragic fall, to the conversation with my brother who informed me that she had passed away, six hours before I arrived to see her in the hospital.

Much of what happened over the next few days was a blur. I couldn't think straight and I had a difficult time listening to others when they spoke to me directly.

And in the midst of my fog, I found myself assisting with the selection of a coffin, purchasing an overpriced plot of land, gathering memorable photographs and still not believing that my mother was gone because I hadn't seen her yet.

Grief seemed to come and go, interspersed with comic relief and laughter. Such a strange combination of emotions. Then the funeral director asked me if I wanted to keep her glasses. If not, he would gladly donate them to the Lions Club. Would I mind if some of the flowers were taken to the grave site?

I don't know. Sure. Let me ask my siblings what they think.

And then I finally saw her. Sort of. The flood of tears and uncontrollable sobs blurred my vision and almost prevented me from looking. But there she was. And she looked more beautiful than I remembered.
"They did such a good job."

What a strange thing to say at a moment like that. But no one prepares you for this. No one tells you what you should or should not say the first time you see your mother in a casket. What was the rest of my extended family doing just then? I don't know. I can hardly remember it already. I have been too busy trying to figure out what we are going to do next.

My dad can't live alone! But he can't live with me in Canada either. And my sister's house has too many stairs. My brother flies home in a few days and we have to figure this out! There isn't enough time to make these decisions.
"Do I go home? Do I quite my job and move back to the States? What about my Canadian status? And what about my future? I'm not even eligible for social security benefits in the States anymore!"

I think I'll watch the Oscars. They are on TV tonight. My brother likes the Academy Awards. We can watch them at my dad's place so he's not alone tonight.

Someone should have prepared me for this. At least I think they should have. But who? I don't think anyone gets prepared for this.

Wait.

The service was perfect. The tributes were special. The pastor's message was encouraging.

And my mother's passing and funeral will forever be etched in my memory.

So perhaps I really didn't need preparation. Perhaps this is the way it is supposed to happen. Maybe the busyness and distractions were helpful - or even a way to prepare me for a once in a lifetime experience. An experience that you never look forward to, but experience regardless.

Although I remain terribly sad I believe my grief is part of the whole process. I do experience comfort in the midst of my pain and I am grateful for the prayers and support of my family and friends.

But mostly I miss my mom.

And I stand firm in my faith that assures me that one day I will see her again.