One year ago, Mom..... one year ago I had no idea I had heard your voice for the last time. One year since that early morning phone call that froze time in place and sent the world spinning. One year since I stumbled around the house in numb, robot fashion, packing clothes, making phone calls, answering texts, preparing to leave for a trip who's purpose I could hardly begin to wrap my mind around. One year since I hugged family members while the tears streamed, one year since I sat in the cold funeral home and went over the plans, one year since I saw your face for the last time, Mom.
I can't help but wonder what this year would have been like had you been here, Mom. It's impossible to say what all would have been different; what all the same. I have a feeling that grief affected more areas of my life than I have any idea of! That a lot of the aches and pains and hard things this year have been a side effect of a grieving process I hardly even knew was going on sometimes.
I remember my first, numb thought as I tried to grasp the news that morning, a year ago. "I'm so glad she could go so peacefully!" I'm still glad, Mom. I can think of at least half a dozen funerals this past year of people who's passing meant weeks, even months, of pain and suffering and watching helplessly as the life slowly slipped away from a loved one. If there is one thing I've realized this year, it is this: death is painful. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are, for those remaining here in this fallen, broken world, death is hard. There are many different ways for death to claim one's loved one, but there are no 'easier' ways!
I still miss you, Mom. It is impossible to count the many times I have wished to tell you something, ask you something, this past year. How do we take life so for granted? When it is gone, there is no end to the things one wishes one had asked or talked about or done that can now never happen. Sometimes I am still startled by the realization that my youngest children will never know their Grandma Gingerich, and how quickly the memories of my older children will fade! It is sad, but it is life. God never intended for us to live in the past, wallowing in the pain and the 'if onlys' and the sorrow.
Really, there IS an 'easier' and a 'harder' to this thing of death. Life doesn't end here, with the coffin and the grave and the goodbyes and the tears. To know that one's loved one is walking the streets of gold in the presence of God the Father is immeasurably, undoubtledly 'easier'!!
And so, here we are one year later, Mom - May 6, 2015. We're still hurting in places; still stumbling around, finding a new way without a Mother's 'glue' to hold the family together. Life has gone on. Sometimes the ache is deep and the pain sharp; sometimes the joy is real and the memories sweet. Mostly though, I am still here, remembering your words in that last phone call, Mom - "I guess the important thing to remember is that WE know there is a God!" I am as sure as ever that you are right, and I am forever thankful for a mom who taught me what is most important in this life. Because of Him, there is Hope, and life is worth living! Because of Him, I am looking forward to a joyful reunion one of these days!!