For several months I have tried to write this article. I’ve started and stopped. I’ve tried different titles only to end up with the same results. Nothing. Finally a few weeks back I stopped trying and hoped someday I’d be able to finish.
It wasn’t as though there was suddenly nothing to write about. There are a thousand topics all waiting for discussion. Important problems to be tackled and deep spiritual truths to uncover, but none of them could break the shadow that has held me quiet…my mom died.
I know intellectually that I am not the only person to have experienced the loss of a loved one, yet even though my mind knows better, I can’t tell you how lonely it feels in my heart. Some days I feel like the only person on earth who has ever felt this sorrow. Grief is a road that even though you have people who love you in your life, in the end, you have to process it alone…my mom died.
The hardest part of losing my mom is that I don’t feel as safe in life as I used to. Over the last few months I’ve hit some rough patches and I just wanted to go and talk to her only to be reminded that’s not going to happen again. My mom couldn’t fix my life as I got older and my problems more complex, but she always made me feel like things would work out. My mother had that special gift to believe in me even when I had so many doubts about myself…my mom is gone.
My purpose today is not to write a sad song. I do believe that I’ve gained a perspective that I have to grab on to. It has been said that it’s better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all.< Those words seem easy to agree with but they are so much deeper. Love comes at a steep price.
So many of us try very hard to insulate our hearts from pain. We keep relationships superficial. We never allow anyone to know our heart or to get too close to the truth of who we are. Even though we pledge our hearts in marriage and have children the losses in life can keep us locked in emotional bondage, always expecting the worst and keeping everything at arm’s length in hope that nothing bad will happen to our heart.
I’ve been with my wife for over 20 years now. If God wills it the day is going to come where one of us will experience the agony of saying goodbye. The thought never really entered my mind until mom died and I’ve watched my dad have to confront his new reality. A part of me wants to scream please God don’t ever let me feel loss! It’s too much. I can’t handle it. But unfortunately its part of life’s journey.
The wonder that I’ve discovered in the past few weeks is this. You never will feel the depth of loss for someone who you haven’t lived life fully with. If my wife went to be with the Lord before me I would be devastated, but it would not be because we didn’t live a big life. It would be because I have never had a friend like her or someone I wanted to share my adventure with. It would be because I dared to open my heart to the great possibilities of our relationship and lived them every day.
We feel the pain of loss because we have been blessed of God to have had the privilege of experiencing love. Love fills our heart and lives like nothing can. It’s the great mystery that connects mankind to Divinity. It is life’s greatest gift. You will never feel loss for things you don’t know.
The hole in my heart doesn’t go away. I’m not one of those people who wishes for one more hour with my mom. I couldn’t bear having to say goodbye again. I don’t like to go to her grave and talk to her. It just reminds me of what I can’t do ever again.
In spite of my very raw emotions the one thing I am blessed to say is that I loved someone so deeply that it hurts every day they aren’t with me. We experienced so much life together that something will never be quite the same in my life again. To me that is the start of healing. To actually know what it means to have loved and lost.