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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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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

      I understand. Actually no one can understand, because each person is individually different, but I have been there. My mom's mom died when I was a baby. I know it affected her greatly, but she had two little girls to raise, and she went forward with that in mind.

      I think of Mom every day-- though it has been over 14 years since we have talked in person.

      Your mom left you with a special legacy and you honor her by carrying it forward. She would want you to be well and happy, even though you must allow time to grieve, as well.

    • profile image

      Tami 5 years ago

      Thank you Rochelle -- first Easter without her -- of course the gathering was filled with discussion about her illness that led to her death, and of what we understand about what she may be doing in eternity. Just finished holding my 7 year old as she cried and grieved about missing Nana, which was triggered by my 10 year old singing one of her old favorite hymns...."when we all get to Heaven what a day of rejoicing it will be..."

      Hits me in many, many ways -- one day at a time. The mysteries of what awaits us is perhaps the most difficult thing to process.

      God bless you - thank you for your encouragement!

    • francinejones profile image

      Francine Colette Cooper 5 years ago from Indianapolis Indiana

      Tami, when my father died I sat on the side of the bed asking the Lord some questions? Why? Who? What am I going to do - now? He answered, Why? I learned that He, All-Knowing know what is best for each. I definitely needed to move closer to Him and my father was spared a major mishap within his life. Who? He whom can and will be with us including our love one's from birth to death. (Whom love us and our love one's more). He can and will step in where needed and provide, protect, and guide. What am I going to do - now? I learned how to trust in the Lord with all of my heart, leaning not to my understanding nor his/her their understanding and I learned that He will direct our path if allowed. I also learned that if we place everyone within our head and heart into His hand daily, trusting in Him and waiting on Him to bring it(that subject) to pass. He will create love where hatred abide within our life and within their life. He will create joy where despair abide. He will create peace where turmoil abide. He will create patience where impatience abide. He will create kindness where unkindness abide. He will create gentleness where cruelty abide. He will create goodness where wickedness abide. He will create meekness where pride abide. He will create faithfulness where unfaithfulness abide. He will create self control where a lack of self control abide. One day He will tell you and your love one's to turn around and look at the one set of foot prints within your lives, it was the seasons that I carried you!

    • Tami Fite profile image
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      Tami Fite 5 years ago

      Thank you Francine -- your words are valuable to me and my family as we deal with not just grief but a certain break down in unity ... I will keep your wisdom close to my heart as we sort through the days, weeks and months ahead. God bless you!

    • profile image

      oceansider 4 years ago

      I am so sorry for your loss, Tami...I know how hard it is because I also have lost my mom...it's almost three years now....What a blessing that your mom was your best friend and that you were able to depend upon her.....But, you will see her again in heaven if you are a believer in Jesus Christ our Lord.....I know I'll see my mom when I go home.

    • Tami Fite profile image
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      Tami Fite 4 years ago

      Bless you oceansider! Thanks for reading -- it has been a very difficult 9 months, but I am so incredibly thankful that I know the Lord & where my mom is waiting! Bless you -- may God give you peace as you too miss your mom -- it is especially painful during the holiday that we planned and enjoyed so much together. Thank you for your encouragement -- bless you! Tami

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