You’re blessed when you feel you’ve
lost what is most dear to you.
Only then can you be embraced by
the One most dear to you. Matt. 5:4 MSG
I love and am equally confused by verses like that. It doesn’t even make sense to me that you would be blessed when you are mourning. In my limited, human mind the two are opposites and don’t go together at all. But I feel like a got a greater sense of what this means last week.
March 1st is the anniversary of my mom’s death (or as I decided this year: the day of her heavenly birthday) and I never really know how I am going to feel on that day.
This year I decided to invite some girls over so I could really honor the day. And man I’m so glad I did. I needed them for sure.
The tears began in the car that day on my way home from work and there were no signs of them stopping once I got home.
I know all the truths of how good God is and that my mom is in a better place and that I have so much to be thankful for. Which by the way I hate that I feel the need to even say things like that. It’s almost as if I need to put some kind of positive spin on it so what I am actually about to say doesn’t seem as “bad”. I’m working on it.
But what was really true in that moment was: it had been a really hard week and all I really wanted was to talk to my mom about it. It just all seemed so wrong and so unfair that I couldn’t do that.
When the first friend arrived she walked up smiling at me through the glass on my door and as the tears ran down my cheeks I just looked at her and shrugged my shoulders. Her face was so kind as she came in, dropped the flowers she brought on the floor and wrapped me up in a much needed hug.
We eventually sat on the couch and I collapsed into her and she just held me while I cried. She didn’t try to make me stop, calm me down or even tell me it was going to be okay. She in fact didn’t say anything at all. She knew I just needed to cry it out and so she just kept holding me and praying over me quietly. It was such a gift.
Sometime in the middle of this I found myself asking: Lord where are you? I need you. Are you even here? And I felt like the Holy Spirit replied: I’m in these arms that are holding you and I’m in these words that are being prayed over you. I’m here with you.
I later put together that this moment had even more significance than I first realized. I have a very vivid memory of a similar moment with my mom. I had just broken up with the college boyfriend and on my next trip home I found myself walking through the door and into my mom’s arms. I laid my head on her chest and just let all of the pain out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve longed to be able to do that again.
And here I was in that exact same position with my friend. Head on her chest and crying about all I had lost.
He’s such a good Father.
As the rest of my friends got there that night we chatted, we laughed, we cried, watched a slideshow of photos of my mom, ate one of her favorite desserts (straight out of the pan just like she used to) and they just gave me space to share the goodness that was my mom. I’m sure it was not a super easy night for them but there was still something that was so beautiful about it. I hope they felt that too.
I feel like I learned so much, from the amazing women I get to call friends, about how to be with someone in their grief. Here are a few of my thoughts based on their actions:
I asked and they came. They all had stuff going on but they came anyway. Some had to leave early and some had to come late but they came and that meant so much to me.
And the reality is they wouldn’t have been able to. They just let me be right where I was and man that was so freeing.
They asked great questions about my mom and then actually listened. And sometimes that even involved silence, which can often be so awkward. But that gave me time to really dig in there and share even more.
This was the equivalent to them asking me what I needed. They didn’t make assumptions about what I needed but simply asked me. I actually did know what I wanted to happen that night and this gave me space to share that.
I feel like this night would have been full of tears either way but the fact that I didn’t have to mourn alone was such a sweet gift. It wasn’t all that long ago that I thought I had to go through it all alone. But as I looked around the room that night I realized that wasn’t the case anymore.
I now have an army! Willing to get in the mess and fight with me.
Thank you Jesus!
Oh also, another amazing friend wrote a blog post on this topic and I found it so helpful. You should for sure give it a read and you can find it HERE!