A few days ago I was gripped by the strong and all encompassing hand of sadness.  After four long years which have flown by, I suddenly realized as if for the first time that my Mom who has cancer is going to die.  Please don’t misunderstand, I know this about her and about all of us.  Somehow, though, I came to the realization anew on that Monday after Thanksgiving and I was sent spinning emotionally.  Normally, I tend to be of the positive attitude and of the optimistic outlook.  I’m generally grateful for my life and the gifts (even in the form of challenges) that God has so showered upon me.  I’m deeply hopeful and know that "everything works out in the end."  (Even when the working out is beyond my understanding, appreciation, or comprehension.)

But, that Monday, it all hit me.  Not only the terminal nature of Mom’s illness, but the four years of her suffering and her strength and how it will end one day.  And the great gaping hole that will be left in my life and my heart.  And I was struck rather dramatically, though not ultimately regretfully, by the four years of weekends and other days I’ve spend driving the hour to and from her house and to the doctor’s office and to the hospital and back home and the four years of chores done in Mom’s home while neglected in my own.  I kind of hit the wall, as they say.  And I was so sad!  I kind of broke down and even posted here and at my friend Bob’s blog about the depressing mess I was feeling.  Whew that overwhelming wave of feeling. 

Since then several friends and blogpals have emailed and posted their prayers and support.  This has been so healing.  Knowing that people (and even people I don’t know but who I know are holy) are holding Mom and me in prayer has allowed an easing of the sadness.  And, after a few days swamped by the storm of tears and the wailing to God, I am feeling a whole lot better.  I’m even accomplishing some of the writing tasks I have for school.  I’m sort of smiling and laughing now and again and listening, and yes, singing along to those Christmas tunes I LOVE so much. 

And tonight as I work on one of my papers, I’m sitting here in Santa Cruz hearing the waves of the ocean, seeing the glowing fire in the fireplace and feeling so grateful for the current visit (planned long ago) of my longest friend, Denise (who, oh-mi-gawd, has known and loved me for 31 years!).  It’s her visit that makes this little respite possible even as I complete my paper and worry over my thesis and my Mom and all the obligations I’m blessed to have by which I am beleaguered.

And so I find that I am grateful and hopeful once again.  And the gratitude and the hopefulness are now infused with a depth, a spice of sad, that makes them even more rich.  I’m blessed.  I do know it.  And even after I forget for a moment and go crazy and reveal to others the mess that is me, the Holy sneaks in and continues the work it began in me long ago.  And, whew, what grace.

And did I mention that Denise brough a birthday present of our old high-school favorite, Remington Steele (two whole DVD seasons!) and these too are part of the heart healing laughter and love?

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