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My new normal -- my mom and best friend slipped into eternity -- my journey through letting go and grieving

Updated on April 30, 2012

The most difficult thing we may ever do in this life is to say goodbye to our loved ones at the end of their life.

saying goodbye to my mom and best friend

March 30th has a new significance to me. March 30, 2012, my mother Joanne Burgett left the world we know and slipped into eternity.

She had lived 20 years with CLL -- a form of leukemia that is for lack of better terms "dormant" -- however, the leukemia combined with severely blocked arteries led to irreversable damage after a blood clot put her into cardiac arrest.

What does it mean to our family -- with our mother in eternity -- well, for me personally it means that I lost not just my mother, but my best friend, confidant, wise counselor, lunch date, coffee break partner, prayer warrior, prayer partner and fashion consultant. In short, my mom was my "person" -- my "go to person".

I have many relationships to grieve -- and each day I find myself realizing the depth of that grief. For my family it means the loss of the person who "tied" us together. She was always loving and accepting, slow to anger or judge. She was our biggest encourager and best supporter. She believed in us long before we believed in ourselves. She was always able to "turn the other cheek" in life -- and sometimes that made her vulnerable to others.

My mother leaves behind her husband of 61 years -- Donald -- and 7 children, their spouses and children. Our job is now to be there for our father, without smothering and taking over his life. He is hurting, fragile, vulnerable, yet his wisdom is great and he knows that he must keep moving forward.

So how do I get through each day? This is a question I wish I had asked my own mother -- her mother died when I was young -- she was deeply grieved and I wondered if she would ever be the same -- and yet, somehow, she was and in fact, better than the same -- she raised 7 children to adulthood and managed to stay involved and not intrude in our lives. I never asked my mom how she got through, so now I seek the same comfort that she must have sought...I seek God and his almighty power and wisdom to get me through.

I am scanning the internet for theories on life in eternity when one departs their body. Conflicting ideas and interpretations -- I now go to the source of these ideas -- the Bible.

This begins my journey to understand what happens when we take our last breath on earth.

part 1


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