When my Mom died in 1983, it caught me completely off-guard and totally unprepared.
I was 14 when we found out she had a terminal illness in February (on the 14th – Valentines Day to be exact. Maybe that’s why I have a distaste for this “holiday?”).
It was a rough 9 months to watch her waste away.
At the time of her “prognosis” I’d never been to a funeral, I’d never seen a dead person.
The first person I knew of that had died was my Grandma. I only had one G-ma I ever knew. She had passed a few years before. At the time, I was probably about 11 years old. My Dad had flown back to the funeral and I stayed home with Mom.
Two and a half years after I watched Mom be “laid to rest,” (in November ’83) my Dad collapsed at work.
(I hadn’t been living with him at home at the time. It is a very long story I might be able to expand on later, now is not the time. I don’t even know if this blog is the place. I am wrestling with God about how far to take this story on this blog.)
When Dad was in the hospital, I was still mourning mom’s death and completely lost. Dad’s passing was sudden. He was in ICU for about 5 days. I was 17. My world completely “shifted” at the time my Mom died, and it was about to be shifted again. This time I was being swept from a whirlwind into a hurricane.
The day Dad died, I felt like I sank into a black hole. I was caught in a vacuum of nothingness. In hindsight, it was frightening.
Not frightening like the movie theater kind of fear, but frightening like the nightmare you have that you can’t seem to wake up from – and even once you do wake up your reality is so distorted you aren’t sure where you are! You try to make yourself stay awake, even though it would be impossible to get back to sleep. In this case, once the nightmare began for me, it lasted for over a year.
A Spiritual Search
I have been searching for answers for decades. Because God is the Creator of our souls, our minds, spirits and bodies. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves.
The fact that I am here writing is something only he could have orchestrated.
How do I know this is true? Because I survived not just my parents deaths but different forms of abuse after I was placed in the care of others (another long “memoir” story.)
Without a doubt, I know that the hand of God has been involved in my life since the start. His mighty angels surrounded me (even when I could not see them).
A fellow blogger, Dana, has been writing about surviving the death of her Dad. It was her post earlier today that prompted me to write this.
I’ve also been reading other stories of those who are currently struggling through loss and trying to handle grief. It doesn’t matter how old you are: 5 years old or 90. Having to let go of somehow you love is HARD and difficult to comprehend…let alone move forward and “thrive.”
I am going to be blunt. Grief sucks. There is an old cliche that is so overused but continues to make its rounds and that is: “time heals all wounds.”
Pardon my language, but I call “BULL!”
Time does not heal wounds. It shouldn’t! We can’t turn back the clock. God did not design time to work that way. Time MARCHES on!
Our wounds exist for a purpose, that much I have learned. Without challenge, without heartache, we learn nothing. This thought might not be “popular” but truth doesn’t seem to be nowadays.
After 30 years of praying to understand why I had to let my parents go when I did, why I’ve cried Oceans of tears each time my heart, mind, spirit and body were broken…I finally received revelation recently:
“God, Why did you take my parents away from me? Why did you let me become an orphan?”
“Daughter, you have always been precious to me. Your parents loved you deeply. They did not want to leave you, and I shared that with you years ago. As to you why you were ‘orphaned’ – that too was part of my plan.
Though your relationship with your parents was critical during your childhood – your closeness to them would have, eventually, become your undoing. I know this doesn’t make sense right now.
The plans I had for you – the plans I have prepared for you (Jeremiah 29:11) are in place and You ARE progressing. I know you felt cheated by their death. I know your time with them FELT very short time.
However, I needed to draw you closer to ME.
I did not relish witnessing the things you went through. I was there, through it all. I have collected every tear. I have recorded every spoken word and deed, every thought. You spent High School enduring refining fires – fires that no one knew about. You walked through darkness and you have battle scars.
Crying is ok, the tears you once shed out of betrayal will now be tears that help you heal. The words you write with my leading will help others heal.
Rachel, told you that you are stronger than you know, you have heard others say this before and still a seed of doubt exists.
The truth is, I needed the events to unfold all those decades ago as they did in order to build your mind, body, soul and spirit for what IS to come.
Only the Strong will survive and thrive. Only those totally grounded in ME will be prepared for what lies ahead.
Why did your parents die so young?
Because I NEEDED you to FOCUS on me.
I needed you to not be distracted by the things of this world or by the hopes that your parents had for you.
Know this, Your experience is not and will not be wasted.
Your losses will bring others HOPE — Watch and See.
I needed you to know that I am the Alpha and Omega, The First and the Last. I needed you to walk through the valleys and face the most difficult hardships to recognize that through it ALL – you would not walk alone.
You never have, you never will.
My Son and The Holy Spirit are with you.”
God will never leave us or forsake us. The sting of death is real but our tears, our heartache are temporary because Jesus conquered death!
BELIEVE in Jesus and His work on the cross;
as He said, “It is Finished!”