Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Missing Mom and Dad

"You keep track of all my sorrows. 
You have collected all my tears in your bottle. 
You have recorded each one in your book."
Psalm 56:8
(NLT)

I apologize that this is not an upbeat, encouraging, happy post.

It is real,
raw,
and full of emotion.

Because today, I am really missing Mom and Dad,
and today, Mom would have turned 88.
It is hard for me to believe she has been away from us for nearly four years.

Last night, just after midnight, Zachary and I were still up praying.
Since my little family and I obeyed God and launched a little over a month ago,
(you can read about that HERE),
we have felt perplexed and heavy-laden.

We have launched, so now what?
Where do we go from here?
When?
How?
Why?
What was the point of our launching?

As we prayed last night, shortly after the clock struck 12, Kevin came into the room and said,
"Happy Birthday to Mom."
Hearing those words caused the floodgates to open.

I just cried and cried.
Does the pain of missing a parent ever lessen?

I think I have felt the loss of Mom and Dad more lately, 
as I have realized how much I need to talk to them and run some things by them to get their opinion.
As I feel bewildered, seeking God with my whole heart for clarity and direction,
I feel such a need of knowing what Mom and Dad would think...
how would they advise us?
What would their perspective be?
This is the first time in my life that I have stood at such a major crossroads....
without either of them...
without their wisdom, their input, their care and concern.
Oh, I miss that!

As I ponder, I can almost hear Mom's sweet, familiar voice,
and I can almost know for certain what she would say.

"Cheryl, God's timing is not our timing.
He has His own timetable.
We can't rush God.
You have done all He has asked you to do.
Now, you have to wait upon Him, and be still.
You know God cannot do three things...
He can't change, He can't lie, and He can't fail.
Keep pressing on.
Keep looking unto Jesus.
Keep encouraged.
Keep the faith.
God is going to work this all out.
You will see."

And, I can almost hear dear Dad agree with her and add his comforting,
"Everything is going to be alright."

I don't know why, but when Dad said that, it just held so much weight.
When he said that, I knew.
Because he only said those words to me when he truly believed with all his heart that everything would be alright.

Where does one go to find a substitute for precious parents like mine?
How does one fill that void?

I pray and pray, and I seek after God with every fiber of my being,
and sometimes the answers just do not come.
It is then that I long for that parental guidance...
those words of affirmation...
the human voices of my precious parents...
telling me it is better farther on.

If Mom were here today, I would be getting ready to cook her birthday meal...
one of her favorites, no doubt, and I would bake her a cake, buy some ice cream and candles,
and take out the special birthday tablecloth we have used for the past 16 years.
I wrote about that tablecloth in a post called "Tablecloth Memories" during the first birthday of Zachary's that we celebrated after Mom's death.
You can read it by clicking HERE.

Mom and Dad's kind are a vanishing breed.
They gave with all their hearts.
Their love was sincere and genuine to the nth degree.
They never counted the cost of what it took out of them to do for others.
They would just as soon see us all prosper and be happy,
than to experience their own happiness, because truly, seeing us happy is what created their happiness.

I ask again, where does one begin to go to find people like them?
When they were alive, I didn't take them for granted,
but, looking back, I know I didn't appreciate them nearly as much as I could or should have.
Somehow, I had some sort of delusion that they would always be here.
Knowing they are not brings some of the deepest pain of heart I have ever experienced.

Grief is an odd thing, isn't it?
One minute, I can feel like I have a good handle on this missing Mom and Dad.
The next minute, the slightest thing can trigger a meltdown.
Things like...
the first few notes of a bluegrass song,
the ring of a five string banjo,
the scent of one of Mom's favorite perfumes,
a stranger's voice speaking in a Tennessee, southern drawl,
making a new dish and realizing they are not here to try it out with us,
hearing the phone ring and thinking, just for a split second, that maybe it is Mom,
seeing Dad's military flag on the shelf in our living room,
coming across one of the many "trinkets" Dad made for me,
laughing at Zach acting silly and telling him how much he reminds us of Dad,
realizing he is so much like Dad, even though the two of them never met,
needing to pick up the phone and hear Mom say, "Cheryl, the Lord gave me a Scripture for you"...
what would I give to hear her say that one more time?

Losing a parent is truly one of life's greatest sorrows,
and losing that last parent takes grief to a whole new level.
Parents are our link to the past.
The severing of that connection leaves an irreplaceable, agonizing void.

Have you lost your parents?
If so, you will absolutely know what I am talking about.
If not, please cherish your Mom and Dad!
Overlook their quirks.
Spend extra time with them.
Be patient when they push your limits.
Call them often.
Lighten their load.
Be thoughtful of them.
Tell them you love them.
You can never say it enough...or too much.
And, my dear friend, if you are at odds with your parent(s),
PLEASE forgive, and let it go.
If apologies need to be made, do it now.
Don't wait.
Once they are gone, there is no bringing them back,
so do what you need to do, say what you need to say, 
and prevent regret while there is still time and opportunity.

What I wouldn't give to see Mom today on her birthday!
How I wish I could get in the car and drive the 9.7 miles to her little apartment,
pick her up, take her on one of the long drives she enjoyed so much,
bring her back to our house for one of her favorite home-cooked meals,
light her birthday candles and watch Zach and her blow them out....
she always got such a kick out of letting Zach do those things with her.

Oh, she loved this boy!
Kevin often tells me how proud she would be if she could see him now,
hear the way he so earnestly prays, see him digging into the Word of God with such zeal and passion, watch him excel in his school work, listen to him share some new thing God has been revealing to him, see the way he reaches out to others with such selfless abandon.
For the last eleven years, four months, and two days of Mom's life,
Zach was literally her reason for getting out of bed in the morning.
Just the thought that maybe she would see him that day would give her the courage
to push past the pain in her body and put her best foot forward.
Mom's face would literally light up when Zach walked in the room.
I know, without a doubt, that she would have laid down her life for him, if need be.

Last night, as I cried missing her, Kevin slipped over to sit down beside where Zach and I were praying.
He always knows what to say...what to do...to get my tears to stop.

"She wouldn't want to come back, even if she could."

I know he is right.
As much as Mom loved us all...especially Zach,
as much as she loved our times together,
as much as she would appreciate the birthday meal I would so gladly prepare for her today,
as much as she would love sitting at our table with us once again,
if given the opportunity, she would make the choice to turn it all down.
I have no doubt.

Because Mom is in a much better place than this sin-blighted world.

She didn't have to feel the spiritual anguish I felt yesterday and cry as I did,
over the unbelievably wicked and reckless decision made in Charlotte.
She doesn't have to worry about the evil that is running so rampant in our nation.
She isn't having to plead with God concerning this next presidential election,
that is, without a doubt, the most crucial, significant presidential election in the history of our country....ever. 

She now lives in a city "Whose builder and maker is God."  Hebrews 11:10
Where God has wiped every tear from her eyes.  Revelation 21:4
Where there is no more sorrow, no death, no pain, no good-byes.
Where there is no darkness, for the Lamb of God Himself is the light.
Where she is finally reunited with dear Dad, and Papaw, and Mimmie, 
and the beloved sister she lost at 17 and never quite stopped missing for the next 67 years, 
and so many, many other family members, dear friends, and loved ones.

So, dear Mom, happy 88th birthday, if you were still here on earth,
and happy almost 4th anniversary in Heaven.


My eyes are full of tears today, as I miss you and Dad as desperately as ever,
and I love you both with more love than my heart could ever hold.

Here is one of Mom's, Dad's, and my favorite bluegrass songs that we used to pick and sing together.
I hope you enjoy!

If video doesn't load, click here.

40 comments:

  1. Oh, much love and many warm hugs to you, Cheryl! Heaven is going to be so wonderful...no pain or suffering or loss, just blessed peace and fellowship with our Father and saved loved ones who've gone before us.
    What a blessing that you have your husband and son to help comfort you in those sad times.
    I love the sweet picture and beautiful memories you shared.....love you, my sweet friend.♥

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    1. Dear Melanie! Thank you ever so much for your kind, precious words today! I know this is coming forth in spite of your own recent loss and pain of heart. I am praying for you and your dear Mom and family and trusting God to hold you close. You are so right...Heaven WILL be so wonderful, and oh, yes, what a dear comfort to have dear Kevin and Zach. They feel the loss so keenly, too, but what a precious gift to have them and their love and support. God is SO good! Love you and appreciate you so much, dear friend!

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  2. Oh Cheryl. You are so right. Grief is So hard. Thinking about you today and so glad you know she is with the heavenly father. May Jesus catch all of your tears!

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    1. Dear Caroline! Bless your dear heart...I know you have felt such deep loss, also, and I so appreciate your love, support, and encouragement. I love and appreciate you and am so thankful we can help to hold one another up in the hard times. Thank you ever so much!

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  3. Cheryl, this is a beautiful and heartfelt post about your mother and father whom you miss so much. Thank you for your courage to write about it here and to share it with us.

    It is right to miss the departed ones whom we have loved in the past and still love now. Of course we miss them and miss their absence amongst us. We miss them because their presence when they were with us had a profound positive effect on our lives. And that is their legacy. A legacy to be proud of.

    As you say, your parents are now in a much better place with God and Jesus our Saviour. And it is all right to still talk to them every now and then and tell them how you miss them and still love them. They are watching down on you and your family, right now, with pride, at what a wonderful person they have raised. They may not ask the Lord about the state of the nation, or the world; but with parental love they certainly ask Him to care over you and yours.

    They are in Heaven, re-united with their loved ones also departed before them. And one day, please God, we shall all be there re-united in the best party your tablecloth will ever remember.

    It's all right to cry, Cheryl. It's all right to remember. Important even. But at the end of it all, I can assure you "Everything is going to be alright."

    Praying for you and yours.

    God bless you and your family.

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    1. Oh, Victor! My tears are flowing again...you have touched my heart SO deeply, more than I can express. This just meant the world to me right now. THANK YOU, and God bless you a million times over for your kind words and for following His Spirit's nudge to leave this encouragement. I can't thank you enough.

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  4. I wish I was there to give you a big hug, my precious sister! Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with us of your parents. They must have been a delight the way they filled your heart with sunshine. I'm happy for you that you can look back with joy of all the memories of home cooked meals and special celebrations. And who, besides a grandma can appreciate our kids like we do? The blessing of that intimacy of sharing the love of our children with mom cannot be duplicated in any other relationship so I understand your feelings. God does understand! He was faithful to give me a special mentor, my mom's age, when I lived so far away from my mother. When she hugged me and I closed my eyes, it felt just like my own mother! I am praying for comfort for you today. May God bless and keep you and your adorable family.

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    1. Dear Mary! You are SO kind! Thank you ever so much for your dear, encouraging words and comfort. How I praise God to know you and to walk this blogging path alongside you! Sending you much love and gratitude, sweet friend. :)

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  5. I understand your emotions, the desire to want to talk to our parents one more time and how the emotions wash over us when we least expect. My mom passed away two years ago and there isn't a day that I don't think of a reason why I should call her up to talk to her about something. Praying for your heavy heart today. Blessed to be your neighbor at #TellHisStory

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    1. Dear Mary, I am SO sorry to hear about your dear Mom's passing. I know exactly how you feel, and I just trust that the God of all comfort will continually hold you, as you grieve...I know He will. Thank you ever so much for stopping by here...your visit and words truly meant so much!

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  6. Sending you virtual hugs Cheryl.

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Wanda. Your visits and comments always encourage my heart, sweet friend.

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  7. My heart's with you in this one, sister. May 13th will be six years for my dad... not a day goes by that I don't think of him. I've started penning another post, lessons I learned from our Father and him... still am.

    This is a wonderful tribute to your mom and dad and your life points to the real success they gained while here. Now it's your turn and you too are running the good race, sister. So appreciate your heart and wisdom. Without them you wouldn't be you... and God knew that before the foundations of the universe. That's a deeper love than we'll grasp on this side of the Great Curtain.

    Praying for you and yours, Cheryl. It's a Happy Anniversary. There's joy even in times of sorrow. I know you know that. Your words prove it.

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    1. Oh, Floyd! Your words brought me to tears....I cannot thank you enough for your kind encouragement. It truly means SO much. I am SO sorry to know of the pain in your heart over losing your dear Dad. I just trust the dear Lord will be so close to you in each moment of overwhelming grief. I can't wait to read your next post about the lessons you have and are learning from him and our Father. Every post of yours...and comment here...is filled with so much wisdom and the love of Christ. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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  8. You have precious memories of your dear Mom & Dad. May God give you comfort as you miss them. I spent this past weekend with my mother, but she hardly knows me now. She is 94 and has dementia. I am thankful that we could pray together. She still enjoys devotions. Someday God will make all things new. May God bless you as you shine light into our dark and confused world. I loved the bluebird song!

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    1. Dear Carol, I surely do have precious memories...some days they tear me apart inside, knowing they are gone, and other days, they bring great comfort. Grief is so odd like that. Oh, bless your dear heart! I know this must pain you so much to see your dear mother and her not recognize you, at times. I am SO thankful you had that visit with her last weekend, and what a testimony to her walk with Jesus to hear that she still enjoys devotions. Yes, dear friend, some day God will make all things new, and we will all be together on that happy, golden shore! Thank you ever so much for your precious words of encouragement...they truly touched my heart. God bless you abundantly!

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  9. Oh dear Cheryl, I have very mixed emotions reading your post. This is how I do hope my own children will feel about me when I am gone...not that I want them to be this sad, but to be loved and missed so much is a testimony of their love for you!
    You were sooo blessed to have such good and godly parents. I never had a mom like yours. My mom didn't even talk to me for the last 10 years of her life. My dad and I have a great relationship now and I do cherish my time with him as he is 87 years old. I wish I could just give you a big hug and we could chat about your mama over a cup of tea. Praying for you.

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    1. Oh, bless your dear heart! I feel sure that your dear children will feel the same way and honor your memory with the same loving tenderness. The love of Jesus shines through you so much! Yes, dear friend, I was very, very blessed to have such Godly parents...I could never praise Him enough for the heritage they left behind for me and the Godly foundation they poured into my life. My heart goes out to you so much knowing your relationship with your mother was the way it was, and I can only hope that the dear God of all comfort will bless you and mend the deep hurts. I am so thankful you and your Dad have such a precious relationship, and I trust God will leave him with you for many more quality years. Oh, wouldn't it be great to sit and have a cup of tea together and just pour out our hearts and pray together! If we never meet in this life, praise God, we have the promise that we will meet over there! Then we can worship Jesus in person and spend eternity praising Him together. Thank you ever so much for your prayers and for your dear visit and words here tonight! God bless you abundantly!

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  10. This is a tremendous testimony honouring your mother. This morning we spent the time as a family with 4 generations together just enjoying each others company because we could. I agree, we don't really appreciate each other as much as we should and of course we don't realise it at the time. Thank you for your thought provoking post.

    Diana

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    1. Thank you ever so much, Diana. Your visits and comments are such a dear encouragement to me! Oh, that is just wonderful that the 4 generations were able to be together! What a wonderful blessing and such precious memories you made! God bless you and every one of your family members with many more happy gatherings! I appreciate you!

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  11. I'm sorry that you feel this way. I hope you find comfort and peace in God's presence. What wonderful people they are. Stay strong and thanks for this really touching and inspiring story.

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    1. Thank you, dear Lux, for stopping by, for caring, and for leaving such precious encouragement. I SO enjoyed your blog post about "emptiness", also. Sometimes, God has to empty us, in order to fill us with what HE wants us to have and be. Sending you big hugs, sweet friend!

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  12. bless your precious heart, I miss my momma too. happy birthday to your beautiful angel momma.

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    1. Oh, thank you, dear Denise! How I appreciate your precious visits and kind words! I am SO sorry you miss your momma, and I do trust Jesus to hold you extra close in every moment of grief and heartache. You are such a blessing to me!

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  13. Oh dear Cheryl, as I read this post, tears flowed, because I can only imagine how hard it is to have lost not one but both of your parents! What special memories and encouraging words they spoke to you through not only their life but their heart! My heart weeps with you today because I know how dearly you miss them, and yet I know, that even as Kevin said it so well, you would not wish them back! They are in a beautiful place where tears never flow. Praying for your dear heart that the Lord would send a beautiful comforting word to you today to bring peace into your heart about this situation! Our Lord cares so deeply for every little situation we face, as evidenced by the amazing card in the mail that I received from YOU! I pray that even as your obedience to the Lord spoke to my heart in a rich way and I was able to blog about it, and share this glorious testimony with others, that you too will have a glorious testimony to share about how the Lord has helped you through the pain of missing your parents. Much love to you dear Cheryl, and sending hugs, prayers and love to you today!!!!

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    1. Thank you, precious friend! I am still amazed at how God worked in your situation, and I just praise Him so much for caring about even the smallest details of our lives. Even though we suffer and we hurt and we have to deal with grief, He is a God Who will never leave us nor forsake us, and He walks THROUGH the grief and heartache WITH us. What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer! He is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Sending you much love, dear friend, and much gratitude for your dear, caring heart and words.

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  14. Almost 20 years ago, I lost my dad, the pain is real... You will not stop missing her...
    But you will meet her again in heaven, let that help your heart Cheryl.
    Meanwhile, is it your birthday? If it is, have a Happy Birthday and our God surround you with His grace and favour.
    Have a super blessed day!
    Love

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    1. Thank you, Ugochi. No, we never do stop missing them, do we? The void is profound, and only the precious Holy Spirit can really send the deep down solace we need! No, it isn't my birthday...but, thank you just the same! I appreciate your visit. :) May God bless you!!

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  15. Dear Sweet Cheryl, What an incredibly poignant and beautiful post! I see the legacy of your parents that you painted here, living out in you now - a legacy that is clearly being passed down to your son Zachary. You are so very rich by eternal standards - filled with so many spiritual blessings.

    I was just saying to my husband how I don't really have any family members who have gone on before me, who were believers in Christ. O what joy you have set before you to know that you will see all your dear ones in Heaven.

    I live four hours away from my parents. They are in their late 70s and praise God still very vibrant, active and healthy, but of late, I don't take this for granted. We are making more of an effort to make the drive to visit them monthly. Thank you for spurring me on to continue to enjoy them fully while they are still on earth.

    May the God of all Comfort bring you great comfort dear one.

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    1. Oh, dear Karen! It meant so much to hear you speak of our passing down this legacy to dear Zach! That is the desire of my heart! YES, you are so right...I am so rich by eternal standards...I love the way you put that! Oh, Karen! I am so sorry you don't have those who are waiting over in Heaven for you! God bless you and comfort you. I am so grateful you still have your dear parents to see and visit and spend time with...I know you cherish those moments so much. Thank you ever so much for reminding me of that verse, "the God of all comfort"...it seems to be one of both of our favorites! God bless you so much, dear friend...sending you much love and many hugs!

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  16. Hi Cheryl! What a beautiful tribute to your parents, your Mom especially. Your husband is such a special person. He remembered your Mom, and knew just what to say to comfort. He is such a gift to you and your son.
    My Mom died five years ago. I also thought I had a pretty good handle on her death. But let me tell you, I cried more this year than I have in the last five. I don't suppose the pain ever really goes away, that pain is a testament to the love you will always carry for your special parents. But knowing that they are in heaven now, and closer to you than they ever could be on earth, is a great trade-off.
    Blessings to you and yours and may Jesus reach to your heart to soothe and heal.
    Ceil

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    1. Dear Ceil! YES, dear Kevin is so very special and such a precious comfort to me. He loved Mom and Dad so much, and he feels his own pain in missing them. The bond was deep, and the deeper the bond, the deeper the void left behind. I am SO sorry to know of your dear mother's death! Oh, dear friend, my heart goes out to you so much! Grief is so strange...just because we walk through a stage of it, surely doesn't guarantee that we won't walk through that same stage again. I loved what you said about Mom and Dad being closer to me than they could be on earth being a great trade-off. Oh, that comforted me! Thank you SO much for your comforting words, and oh, how I trust Jesus to comfort you, too, in every moment of grief. Sending you a big hug and lots of love!

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  17. Cheryl, My eyes are full of tears, my nose is running, and my heart breaks for reading this. Our family loves like this too. My parents are still here , but the loss of my grandparents still hits home. My grandma died in 1988. I think of her so often. I would lay in bed with her and she'd scratch my back while she told me stories and dreams. She did so much for us. When she was close to death in the hospital, my Mama sang "Holy Ground" to her and when Mama got to the part ..."and I know that there are" ....she stopped singing and asked my grandma, "What Mother?" and grandma answered softly, "all around". It is hard to listen to that song today especially when it gets to the part, "and I know that there are angels all around." It's is such a sweet and wonderful thought that I will get to love on her again just like you will your parents. ETERNITY is going to be wonderful! The pain is always there, but they are never really gone. We carry them gently with us each day. It makes me homesick for Heaven, but the wait will be worth it!
    I pray your heart will be lighter soon. I love you!

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    1. Oh, Chris! I am so sorry you lost your grandma. She sounds like such a precious saint of God, and I know she left a huge impression upon your life. What a Godly heritage you have, and I know that carries you through the hard times. SO thankful you still have your dear mom and dad, and I do hope your dad is feeling better. God bless all of you and hold you extra close and keep you alive and safe and well for many years. YES, praise God, eternity will be so wonderful! To be reunited with those who have gone on before us AND, best of all, we will see our dear Lord Jesus!!!!! Oh, what a day that will be! Love and appreciate you so much, Chris.

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  18. My dearest Chel
    what a moving post this is !
    Of course to lose parents is such a big loss, sweetie !

    So really touched, I'm wishing you a serene end of your week ahead
    sending blessings and love to you
    Dany

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    1. Dear, precious Dany! Your visits always mean the world to me! I can't thank you enough for stopping by here and leaving sweet encouragement behind. Sending you a big hug and lots of love across the many miles!!

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  19. Sweet and precious Cheryl, I can barely type as the tears in my eyes are flowing down.... How I wish I could wrap my arms around you in a tender hug, but I know the Lord is faithfully by your side and He is the great comforter so I will rest in knowing He can comfort you better than I can.

    I am sure the pain must dull a little over time, but the ach and deep loss is always there. I must confess that just the idea of losing my parents brings me great sorrow. Just tonight my mom called me saying she had not talked to my dad all day and it was very unlike him to not call or text her {mom is in Arizona right now}. So I tried calling my dad several times, I emailed him, but to no avail...he was not answering. I started to panic and tears kept coming to my eyes simply because of the unknown. My husband, son, and I were just about to walk out the door to drive to his home and make sure he was okay when right then he called. Praise the Lord! He was okay and had simply been gond all day and his cell phone network was not working properly.

    I share this because just that thought of possibly losing my dad broke me. Please know that you are in my prayers and I am trusting the Heavenly Father to bring you healing and precious comfort. Much love to you!

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    1. Dear Stephanie! How kind and sweet you are! I am so encouraged and comforted by your precious words! Oh, my! I am so sorry you endured that awful scare about your Dad. I remember things like that happening, and oh, I would become so terrified. I am SO thankful he is safe and all is well. I can't thank you enough for your dear visit and for your faithful prayers. You are such a blessing to me, and I trust God will bless you abundantly! :)

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  20. Dear Cheryl, thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of your parents with us. My heart aches for you today. It's been almost 10 years since I lost my mom and sometimes I still cry like it was yesterday. I'm praying that God will comfort you and that you will feel His love in an extra special way this week. Hugs

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    1. Dear Bernadine! I am SO sorry to think of you losing your dear Mom! I do trust God to wrap His loving arms around you in every moment of grief. Surely He is the God of all comfort and the Friend that sticks closer than a brother to us. What would we do without Him? To Whom would we run when our hearts are overwhelmed? God bless you, sweet friend. Thank you ever so much for your dear visit and words...they truly meant so much!

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