On February 23, 2017 we lost my mother. While the loss of a loved one is surely always difficult, the suddenness of Mama’s passing brought great grief upon my tight-knit family. One moment everything was fine and she was planning to go over to my house to help my wife with our newborn daughter, and the next my Dad was calling me to come to the hospital – unable to finish telling me what was wrong. The next four days brought suffering like I had never known before, the kind of pain and helplessness that no words can adequately describe. And then after days of fighting, praying, and waiting, they turned the machines off and Mama slipped away. Gone.
At least that’s the way it felt. She was gone. She is gone. And she is never coming back. It’s nearly impossible to type those words, let alone say them out loud. So we don’t talk much. Even when it’s just us men – her husband and three boys that share in that special grief – we don’t say much more than, “I miss her.” Not much more can be said… Can it? Those closest to us don’t ask, “How are you doing?” Because they know. Only strangers ask that – and so I lie and say “Ok” or “fine” or even “good.” But we aren’t good, fine, or even Ok. We are managing. We are doing what we know how to do – work, eat, sleep, repeat. We’ve all retreated into our domains so we can operate on autopilot. Sure, we smile and laugh. We even genuinely feel good for a moment here and a few minutes there. But then we remember – she’s gone. And the cloud returns.
But you know, even though that dark cloud hangs over our heads and the thick fog engulfs our lives, we do know the truth deep down. We know she isn’t gone forever. To be honest, that’s hard to believe and it only rarely makes us feel better. It still feels like she’s gone. But reality is not about feelings, it’s about the truth. And the truth is – even though we can’t fathom it – that Mama is very much alive. Her body is buried right behind her mother’s at Fellowship Church out in the country on Mud Road… But the truth is that her soul never died. Her very real spirit departed her body on February 23, 2017. She became “absent” from the body and “present” with the Lord in an instant on that day. It would be impossible to say exactly when it happened, but the truth tells us that it did indeed happen. She was gone – but she was not gone. She was dead – but she was alive.
But the devil creeps in and asks, “Did you really believe that?” Do you really believe that someone can be gone, but not gone forever? Do you really believe that your Mama is alive and well? Do you???
And the answer is simply – “Yes.” Yes, I believe that God created the universe from nothing. How else can you explain this incredible world we live in and marvel at? I believe that God breathed life into man in the very beginning. I believe that this was just the first physical manifestation of a plan devised in the mysteries of eternity past between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I believe that God chose a people before the foundation of the world to be HIS people. Why? Because He wanted to and it would bring Him even greater glory to do so. And that in this select group of very blessed individuals there was a very special name (at least to me) written in that book – Devra Proctor Walker (you see, God already knew that though she would be born a Proctor, she would marry Lindsay and take his name). Before He said, “Let there be light,” He said, “I choose her… I will shed my own blood for her. I will pour out my grace on her. Though she will be born into sin and iniquity, I will wash her as white as snow. I will replace her heart of stone with a heart of flesh. I will reveal myself to her in ordinary and extraordinary ways throughout her life. I will mold her continually into the image of my Son. I will bless her. And then on February 23, 2017 I will take her. I will bring her home to the place that I have prepared for her. And I will embrace her at last.”
Isn’t that just a religious crutch? Aren’t those just platitudes that I use to make myself feel better? Well, no… Seeing as how I still miss her terribly. You see, I’m still here. I’m not in Heaven with the Lord. I’m here with you, in this dark and sin cursed world. To be honest, most of the time I don’t feel that much better knowing all those wonderful things. But it doesn’t matter what I feel. It matters what’s true. And Jesus is true. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” That’s true. How do I know that it’s true? Because the very same man that said that was hung a Roman cross. He was tortured and killed. He was buried in a tomb. And then, just as He had lain down His life, He took it up again. He rose from the dead – that’s resurrection. And then people saw Him. Not just one person, but hundreds of people saw the man who had died on the cross. They saw the holes in His hands, and some even felt the gash in His side. He even ate fish with them. So, no it isn’t just something I tell myself to feel better. It’s something I tell myself again and again because it’s true.
My Mama is with Jesus. And though I don’t understand all the nuts and bolts of it, I do know that even her body will be raised up one day to rejoin her soul. And we will all be called up together – those alive and those already ‘dead’ – with the Lord in the air. And on the day that trumpet sounds, I plan to find my Mama and embrace her new body with my new body. I can’t wait to meet her Mama Uldine, so I’ll probably hug her too. What a day that will be.
But for today, I’ll just hurt a little while longer. I’ll keep working tomorrow. I’ll try my best to be the man she raised me to be. I’ll love my wife. I’ll love my wild daughter and unborn son. I’ll the love my father and my brothers. I’ll love my family and my friends. I’ll love and serve the Lord’s church here on Earth. I’ll love the business my parents built and the customers who keep us going. But most of all, I’ll love the Lord who gave me my Mama and then took her from us. Blessed be His name.
This article is not intended to be an in-depth look at any particular theological topic or Scriptural text. Rather, it is simply the ramblings and musings of heart and mind that is hurting. One of the things that has helped me most over the past year has been reading about others who have suffered loss. What they thought, what they felt, what they did. All of it helped as I grappled and continue to grapple with my own ups and downs and all arounds. That is why I am willing to publish something here that is less structured and planned – and more conversational and scattered. The above post is just an example of how I wrestle with the loss of my Mother internally from day to day. Unfortunately, there is still a dark cloud that seems to follow my family around even when other things seem to be going so well. Our smiles fade a little faster and even the best feelings are mingled with tears. I guess I just wanted to share my experience that the Gospel truths and promises of God can be held to fiercely without the benefit of lifted sorrows. It is possible to grieve and continue to grieve even though you believe what God has said. Sometimes, we have to just hurt for awhile. It doesn’t mean that God is any less good, or that we don’t trust Him. It simply means that we are hurting. It’s Ok to hurt. The truth helps, and oftentimes it is the only firm thing that we can stand on. I can’t imagine life without the Word of God.