Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Conversations with Max and Maggie

Maggie: Mommy, this is a picture of Grandmama dying.
Me: Tell me about it.
Maggie: This is Grandmama dying in the hot lava.
Max: Ummmm Maggie, Grandmama didn't die in hot lava.
Maggie: Fire?
Me: Maggie, remember Grandmama's body was broken and it didn't work anymore. She died of cancer.
Max: I don't think Maggie understands.
Me: It's okay.
Max: She doesn't understand. She's just a very tiny girl but I'm a big kid, so I understand.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Conversations with Maggie

Maggie, strapped in her carseat on the way to her Grandmama's funeral:

Maggie: Well, I've got great news and really bad news. The bad news is, Grandmama is gone. The great news is, the trees are still here!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not The Way It's Supposed To Be

I've never really given sin the respect it deserves.

When life is moving along pretty smoothly with lots of happy things happening around me, it's easy to tuck sin behind a closet door or prop it up out of the way in a back corner. Out of sight, out of mind. It's easy to not think about how our whole existence was marred when humanity chose to bring sin into this world. It's easy to think that humanity is doing pretty well for ourselves.

Truth is, sin is a powerful force. No corner of this creation is left untouched.

I've never understood that truth more than while sitting at my mother's death bed. I watched her body slowly waste away. Day by day, I watched helplessly as death stripped every piece of life from her and replaced it with a something foreign and unwanted: trading walking for sitting; mobility for confinement; appetite for revulsion; privacy for intrusion; talking for silence; comfort for pain; consciousness for sleep; breath for stillness.

Several well-meaning and compassionate professionals tried to comfort me with reminders that what I was watching happen to my mom was "natural." At one point I really thought I would scream if I heard the phrase "the natural dying process" one more time. I wanted to burn all those little booklets on the dying process. Send them all up in flames– all those little blue booklets they give you describing what to expect in the final days of a loved-one's life.

I wanted to yell: Natural?! There is absolutely nothing natural about what is happening to my mom. This is not the way it was supposed to be! We were never created to have to endure this! Just because something has become "normal" doesn't make it "natural."

And in the midst of all this- now, NOW I can give sin the respect it deserves. I can look around this room and see my mom lying limp and dying on her bed, and I finally get it. Look what humanity has done! Just look what we've accomplished for ourselves! Death!

And so there's finally room in my world-contented heart for the Gospel– and a love for my Savior I've never known.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Sad Things

My mom died.

I was with her, and I am so thankful. There are a million possible scenarios where that wouldn't have been the case, but God gave me that gift. It was one of many, many gifts God has given me over the course of the last few weeks; one of many whispers: I'm here. I love you. I'm making this all new. I Am.

I feel like I've received a whole new education in faith, life, loss and grace in the last few weeks as well. It's not a degree I wanted, but it's one I'm glad I have. There is, of course, still so much to process, so much to grieve.

I'm suddenly and painfully aware of all the life events and milestones that stretch out in front of me where she'll be missing. How does one do the next big thing? The next load of laundry, the next art project with the kids– I can do those things. She's not missing there. But what about family meals? Holidays? The birth of this little one?

I believe now more than ever that there will be grace for those moments, too. It still feels a little overwhelming, though.

I couldn't sleep last night, so I picked up my phone and found a voice mail my mom left me on my birthday. Sometimes it pays off to never erase your voicemail. :-) I lay in the dark with the phone up to my ear and listened to it over and over and cried. It was just so good to hear her voice.

As I sat with her in the moments after she died, with my dad and my brothers and my aunts, I was truly shocked to realize that literally the moment she died, she didn't even look like herself anymore. I leaned in closer and wondered if, in another circumstance like an accidental death, if I had to identify this body, would I even be able to tell if it was my mom? She actually looked that different to me. It was just so obvious that she was no longer there.

And I thought about something that I read at least 10 years ago. At that time, I read this paragraph in a book and it stopped me cold. I thought it was one of the most accurate description of my mother I had ever read. Long before she had cancer. Long before I knew she was dying. Just in the midst of her 'normal' life. I came home after she died this week and found the dusty book on my shelf and found that paragraph and read it again. This was the woman I called Mother:

"Let the Word break over your heart and mind again and again as the years go by, and imperceptibly there will come great changes in your attitude and outlook and conduct. You will probably be the last to recognize these. Often you will feel very, very small, because increasingly the God of the Bible will become to you wonderfully great. So go on reading it until you can read it no longer, and then you will not need the Bible any more, because when your eyes close for the last time in death, and never again read the Word of God in Scripture you will open them to the Word of God in the flesh, that same Jesus of the Bible whom you have known for so long, standing before you to take you forever to His eternal home."

- Geoffrey Thomas, Reading the Bible.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Happy Things

Here's our sweet little guy- 3D ultrasound image at 19.5 weeks. The second one is my favorite,with his little arms up next to his face... although the printer on the ultrasound machine jammed up and wrinkled this one. I just love his sweet little face!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Conversations with Maggie

Maggie walks into the kitchen carrying an arm-full of ponies and fairies.

Maggie: These girls are going to jail.
Me: Why do they have to go to jail?
Maggie: Because they made bad choices to other people, not just to their moms and dads.