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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Healing heart

I wish I could rewind a day in my life as if it were recorded on tape. If I could, I would rewind it back one particular day. 

That one day only. 

If I could rewind that day, I would call my mother and tell her how much she meant to me; and how much I loved her. That was all I could think after my brother called, telling me that our mother had died that morning.  

Wednesday a week ago my mother suffered a heart attack. The news of her unexpected death was shocking and devastating. She had called me the Sunday before, leaving a voice message and asking me to call her at my convenience.  She was very much alive and vibrant when she left the message. I decided to return her phone call sometime later in the week when I wasn’t busy with work and chores. “She can wait,” I convinced myself. 

In her message, she also mentioned that she was devoted to God, and that she was at peace.   

Unlike my mother, I am not at peace.  

I have regretted a thousand times not calling her right back. All I can feel is tremendous guilt.  My heart is broken.

This is not the first time I’ve lost a loved one or have grieved.  Death is no stranger to me. I often see my nursing home residents dying. Also, I have been a social worker for Hospice. As a professional, I believe I understand end of life and grieving matters. 

However, as a daughter, losing my mother, I am not sure I completely understand the loss, or my loss. The inner pain is overbearing. The helplessness is embracing. And the inevitable question arises: “why did she have to die”? 

In time of sorrow, nothing is more comforting than the caring thoughts and words of family and friends, and the power of prayer. Despite my sadness, I feel in my heart that my mother was prepared to meet our Lord. I have listened to her voice message a few more times, wanting to hear again that she was at peace. I believe that she was. That’s a blessing for my healing heart.  

In my mother’s passing I realize that I will focus on my family. Indeed, family will be my priority. Work can wait. Laundry can wait. Grocery shopping can wait. If my loved ones need me, I’ll be there right away. 

I’ll be there even if they don’t need me. 

I will always make them know how much they mean to me.  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted  Matthew 5:4 


Miley said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. HUGS
I almost cried reading that she called you to say she was at peace, though. I truly believe that we tell people what they'll need to hear, even if they don't know it at the time.

I completely understand the feeling of guilt for not calling your mom back. When someone close to me was dying, I went to go see him one last time (the night he passed). His hand was cold and I pulled away soon b/c it freaked me out. I would have given anything to hold onto it for longer. He knew I loved him though, just as your mom knew.

Take care

Mari said...

Doris, so sorry for your loss. I imagine losing our moms is one of the hardest things we will face in our lives.
Love while you can for sure.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and following. Looking forward to getting to know you better!
Have a blessed day.

Angela said...

((((((((((((hugs))))))))) Please know I have prayed for you today...

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Oh sweetie, my heart goes out to you. I can't even imagine how hard this Mother's Day will be for you. Please don't beat yourself up for not callin' your Mom right back, she wouldn't want you to, ya know? You will be in on my heart and in my prayers.

God bless you and may your day be filled with warm sunny blessings!!!

Cliff Harrison said...

Dear Doris;
My intent with this is not to cut like a knife, but to comfort like a pillow.

Don't be selfish.

Stop for a moment and think about all it is that you know about God.

Assuming your mom had it right with God, and I believe she did from what you said; she is with Jesus and suffers no more. Your failing to call her does not in the least harm Mom because she is with our Father.

I wish I could sit with you and talk in person, for there is not enough time here.

I lost my dad when I was a boy. I blamed myself for years and years and years with guilt. And before my father I lost my grandfather, and too I blamed myself for the longest time.

I was a teenager when I asked the Methodist minister why the Lord took my dad and why he took Pa when the last words I said to both of them were very ugly. I got yelled at.

Then I converted to Baptist, and still a teenager, same thing happened when I asked the pastor. I was yelled at for blaming God.

I am now Eastern Orthodox and the priest kindly explained what I'm trying to explain to you. He helped me understand. He took away my pain instead of adding more.

And then I lost my mom after she was in a coma for six years. And then my stepfather passed after my mother and I was his executor living in Vegas and he was in New York. I ended up loosing everything and became homeless.

You know what, Doris? I had nothing worth saving, really. All my treasures I found were on the streets working for the Lord bringing the lost back home to the Shepherd, gathering all of God’s children--one at a time. And... knowing that my true treasures are waiting for me in Heaven.

Then I understood that Jesus wanted me to be among the poor and the broken and lost; to lead them to Him.

Doris, I never understood it when I was a boy and I read the Bible and God said we must love Him more than our own parents, siblings or children.

I understand now.

I never understood how my mom could marry my stepfather and how my father could be with her in Heaven. Jesus explains that in Heaven they are like angels, not like humans on earth.

I asked a priest why God took every single one of my love ones at Christmas time. And there were many more of my love ones to go than I've told. For years I carried that burden and weight around on my shoulders, often blaming myself, and after my stepfather died the priest said, "So they could be home with Jesus for Christmas."

It was like a ton of bricks were lifted off my shoulders.

And then... some time later Jesus put me on the streets, homeless among the war veterans and the broken and those rejected from society and the Father through Jesus Christ showed me my true purpose on earth. I understood their pain and began to heal through Jesus Christ, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Almost all of the homeless out there on America's streets have a broken heart. You can blame it on this or you can blame it on that, but it is always a broken heart—a broken heart from a loss.

Doris, go into that secret place and do your praying in the closet or in your room and ask Father, in the name of Jesus Christ to give your mother a message from you, and then just tell her what you want to say to her, through Him.

She is fine. You are the one which needs comforting and I'll do my part like the others, and pray for you.

Your mom suffers no more. She is looking down on you and hiding her pride of you from those in Heaven and she is waiting, watching and planning for you, along with Jesus, to make a big difference in someone else's life...


Cliff Harrison said...

…Father tells us to do our praying in the closet and our alms in secret, that is so we don't boast or show off, and so we are true to ourselves and to God.

Shed your guilt Doris, and be satisfied your mom was at peace with our Lord. For, really, that is all that ever mattered.

Dry your tears, sister, and go out there in that mean world and make your mom and God pleased as you make a difference in someone's life...

Forgive me for taking so much of your time, and keeping you for so long, but that's the way I see it and I sure hope it helps you. Change your sadness into happiness for Father understands and sees everything and Mom now, being one of his angels does, too!

And, love those old folks all you can. That's why God put you there. Don't be like all the others who fail because they stay a distance because they know the old and sick ones will be leaving and don't want to get attached. You know nobody's going to be leaving if we believe in God. We'll just regroup later. So, go on and hold their hands!

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, but your mother would hate that you have this guilt. In fact it would hurt her deeply that you suffer because of her.

I recently lost my mom, too. I wrote a tribute to her on my blog, if you are interested. She lingered before she died and I watched as she took her last breath. It took three painful weeks.

The reason I'm telling you this is, I still have regrets. I regret the times when I was short with her before I realized her mind was slipping, I regret not making those phone calls. I wish I could talk to her again.

Forgive yourself, I bet your mother has never given that phone call another thought.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Doris, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and taking time to tell me you appreciated it, despite that you are going through true and deep grief. There have been a lot of powerful things shared here. My advice would be: to take what applies right now, what heartens you, and leave the rest. Grieving is a very individual process. People are well-meaning, but if something strikes you the wrong way, just keep pushing forward, reaching for light. Sometimes, you have to sit in the darkness for a while before you can find that light, so, if you feel regretful, feel it. But eventually, I believe like others that it will become toxic to you. So when you are able, let that go, because your mother knows exactly how you feel now, even without telling her. But tell her if you need to, whisper it to the heavens. Her spirit knows your heart. She needs nothing at this point, except to see you heal. And you will. Take all the time necessary to do that. Life is one huge lesson in learning how to love; most importantly, ourselves and God, and then all our loved ones after that. Only when we can love ourselves are we able to give it back to others. I will keep you in my prayers. In the meantime, you mother will be with you in a special way this Mother's Day. I hope you will see a sign of this, and then report back. Blessings...Roxane @ Peace Garden Mama

Mary Aalgaard said...

Doris, thank you for connecting to me. Your words are important and meaningful. Your mom knows/knew your love. I believe that in Heaven we are still connected to those still on Earth. So, talk to your mom. Write her a letter. Feel the love you had for each other and celebrate Mother's Day with all the joy and sorrow that are in your heart. So sorry that you are in that pit right now. Look up and reach out. You are not alone.

Talli Roland said...

I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Sending you lots of positive vibes from across the ocean!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Doris -

It is one thing to see others experience mourning and quite another to go through it yourself.

When my husband died three years ago it felt like someone ripped me in half. An acquaintance sent me a book and told me about an organization called, "GriefShare." They have support groups throughout the country. These fine people helped me regain my equilibrium and get through the worst of my grief. When you're ready, you might want to contact them.


P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a Follower.

Terri Tiffany said...

I read your post on my blog and came over. I am so sorry to read this about your mom. Although in your profession you deal with death everyday--it isn't the same as losing a family member. I am so sorry for your loss and that you are grieving now. It isn't easy at any age, I know. Please know I will be thinking of you and praying.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I want to thank everyone for your comforting words. I am feeling better today. You don't know how uplifting your messages have been. It's Mother's Day. I have decided to bake cakes for the ladies of my church. I will honor those precious ladies, in memory of my mother. Again, thank you all, and God bless.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Mothers understand. You should not feel guilty for what you did not do and interactions you did not have, but grateful for those you did. (My daughter's best friend from college died this morning; she had had no time to have children, but she was someone's child, and I grieve for her mother.) Life ends for all of us at some point. We should make the most of it while we can! I hope that you have been able to celebrate a good Mother's Day today in memory of your mother. Hugs and prayers!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Your post really touched me.
I'm so sorry about your mom. I know it's so hard to loose a loved one.
I pray God will comfort you and give you peace through this time.

Linda said...

Hi Doris,
How my heart goes out to you. Your post is so heart touching.Thank you so much for sharing.
Please forgive yourself and know that your Mom would not want you to feel this way. I know how you feel because my Mom passed when she was in her early fifties after suffering from Mutiple Sclerosis. Countless times I have found myself re-living the times I too would tell her was in a hurry when she wanted me to do something. So many regrets about what we did not do or say. I think we find it so hard to focus on all that we did do and we keep on minds on the one thing we did not do. I am praying for you.
Than yu so much for dropping my my blog and I hoppe to see you again.
Hugs and blessings.

Lynda Lee Schab said...

Doris, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Prayers that you will find peace - and even joy - in the memories you have of your mom.

Jackie said...

Doris, I wanted to stop by and meet you and thank you for following my blog....I am now following you too.

Oh, how my heart goes out to you. I am praying that the God of ALL comforts ministers to your heart this day and brings you deep lasting sweet peace. He is Faithful!

Sweet Blessings!

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Doris,

I had no idea that you so recently went through so much... But your Mom is very close, she's with you and she's holding you so tight! Where she is she can do a lot more for you than a hundred phone calls could ever accomplish. Let go of that, you can't be an angel while alive! You've done all you could and you loved your Mom. There are also those unspoken words of love... knowing from each other what we would tell them! Big all around hug from Georgia/USA


Bica said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. When I lost my mom a year and a half ago, I was able to say good by to her. She suffered, though, and for her, I think I would rather have had her go unexpectedly, and not know that death was impending. Maybe you can take some comfort in knowing that, even though it was so unexpected, your mother went the way most of us hope to go. She also knew how much you loved her - moms just know that. God Bless