My tears don't come for that reason. They come as I slip on the last pair of pajama pants she made me and I realize that never again will we spend too much money together at the fabric store. Never again, will she make my children dress-up costumes or whip up beautiful window treatments for me.
They come when I look at pictures of she and my children together and realize there will be no more of those. No more beach trips, no more strawberry picking adventures, no more Sunday dinners with her amazing augratin potatoes. I cry for my sweet Abe who likely won't remember how very much she loved him. I cry for my Lily, born on my mama's 60th birthday and realize that never again will they share a birthday cake. I cry for the weddings and graduations she won't attend.
They come when I realize that my biggest cheerleader is about to leave this earth. The one who has spent the last two years gathering our birthday and Christmas requests and packing them into exactly 50 pound suitcases, driving them to wherever she can to find them a "free ride" across the Atlantic. She is the one who has grieved deeply because of our move and yet has chosen to pray and serve rather than criticize.
I cry because it has happened so fast. And I don't think it's fair. I never dreamed that all of our lasts would be our lasts. I would have savored them more. I would have drank them in more fully. I'm just not ready.
I cry because I am so proud of the way she has drawn closer to Christ in these last years. I see the way that she has taken the wounds of her early years and allowed the Lord to redeem the years that the locust have eaten. How she has exchanged her deep pain for a deep, deep, love for people. It makes me so sad that her loss will bring sorrow to so many folks that she has loved well.
Tears fall when I realize how blessed I was to call her my mom and how much I wish that I had realized that 20 years earlier. I cry as we have literally welcomed scores of people over the last week who simply needed to tell her that they love her and to thank her for loving them well. When I look at the enormous bouquet that her Chick-fil-a manager sent because of her constant encouragement or the letters and well wishes she's received from senators and officials that she's advocated for in her constant quest for justice and freedom, I cry. I cry because the loss simply seems too great for me in those moments.
So, if you want to encourage me, please don't tell me that soon my mama will be in heaven. Instead, remind me that I have every right to cry, because this is rotten and this fallen world is disgusting. Agree with me that this is a significant loss. Remind me that death was not God's plan and it most definitely sucks. Tell me the ways that my mama impacted you. And when you do, the flood of tears may come, but that's okay. Because this is hard and my tears don't indicate a lack of faith or a questioning of what's next. They are simply evidence of a great sorrow that is most certainly valid.
"You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book."