My mom left this world and entered heaven at 8:48 p.m. on Sunday, September 29th. It was both unbearably expected and yet completely sudden.
I still am struggling to realize that the phone call I made the day before was the last time Mom heard my voice before she left. I told her that we were okay, and that I loved her with all my heart. But I still wish I could have talked to her one more time.
My husband and I flew back East three days later, thanks in no small part to our church family here, which supported us by helping us obtain stand-by tickets for about 1/4 the regular price; one couple taking care of our kitties while we were gone, combining to give us around $300 in cash to help us with "incidentals," and the church offered to pay our mortgage for this month so we could use the money to get home. We were wholly overwhelmed by the generosity of all involved.
Being home was hard. It was hard staying in the house without Mom in it. It was hard seeing all of the things that Mom had bought me over the years - like the stuffed animals she would get me when we went on a trip together or for special occasions, books that we had read together, so many memories filling the entire house. I tried to do what I could, cooking my best casserole for the entire family for lunch on Thursday. It was nice to spend time with the extended family, but sad as well.
Thank goodness for baseball. It served as our escape most days.
The service was on my birthday. It was an oddly surreal experience. My brother wasn't able to be there, so I called his conference number at work, put my phone on the podium where the minister would be, and he listened in for the entire service. I tried not to sob, but I couldn't stop for most of the service. I had to tell a few of Mom's closest friends things that I thought she would want them to know. I barely got through that.
The world isn't the same. It's a bit skewed, suddenly. My beloved desert wasn't quite as beautiful. Food just doesn't taste quite as delicious. I find I look at the stars more often, but instead of thinking of the majesty of God's creative work, I wonder what Mom might be doing in heaven. I find it hard to concentrate on, well, anything.
I know I'll see her again. I know that she is perfect. I know that she is in perfect joy with her Savior. I know where she is. In that way, she's not truly "lost." But she's far away.
But I'm selfish, and want to call her and hear her laugh and tell her how much I love her. I miss her every minute. And now I have to figure out how to move forward without her advice and humor and love to guide me.