Last week Monday marked ten years since my mother passed away. To this day, I still don’t know if ‘anniversary’ is the right word to describe this day due to the fact that I generally associate anniversaries with happiness, laughter, warmth…something to celebrate. But somehow I can’t place anniversary and death in the same sentence…it’s almost like an oxymoron.
At the time I was too caught up with studying for my final exams so it pretty much slipped my mind until I received an e-mail from a friend asking if I was doing okay. Then I remembered. All the memories of what happened ten years ago come flooding back as though it was just yesterday…I could recall where I was, who was around me, the time of day, the unbelief, the reactions of my siblings, family and friends. And then I had a good cry.
I was only fifteen, a mid-teen on the cusp of womanhood. Since then, I believe there’ve been a myriad of lessons woven into almost every situation I’ve been through – both good and bad. Facing the death of a loved one is never easy, and no two experiences are the same – even within families – but here are seven lessons that death has taught me over the years.
Beginnings and endings
I’ve realised that death is just a small part of this major circle we call life. Anything that has a beginning quite inevitably also has an end. We sit and wish we could live forever, but in this life, in this world, it is nothing less than a pipe dream and can never be reached here on this earth. Our best lives are lived between the moment we are welcomed into this world and the moment we finally shut our eyes, so it’s important to make every second of that time count.
Time doesn’t heal
No really, time doesn’t heal at all. Time acts much like a band-aid over a wound that hurts only when you look at it or remember its existence. Personally, as time passed I’ve noticed that I waver from feeling my mother’s absence to moments captured in time when I wish she was here to see what my siblings or I have achieved, but I can’t say that time has healed anything. It has lessened the pain, yes, but it always still lingers near.
Blood is thicker
I love my family. We may get annoyed with one another from time to time and argue about the silliest things, but when it comes down to it, these people always have my back. They are the soft place where I can fall, the people who can sometimes be the hardest on me but also the people I can always turn to when I’m in need or just need something to laugh at ♡
Bend, not break
If anything, losing a parent has taught me to dig deep. Like, really deep. It has shown me who I am at my weakest and has bent me in and out of shape in a lot more ways than I thought it could. But one thing it has made me realise, and certainly surprised me with, is the fact that I’m stronger and braver than I ever thought I was. Somewhere deep down there’s always resilience waiting to be kicked into gear if only I let it.
Growth is inevitable
Without a doubt I had to grow up quickly. Sometimes that process may not have been as smooth as I may have wanted or imagined it would be, and of course there were many bumps along the road, as I’m sure there will be going forward, but in as much as losing my mother may have been a heart-rending experience, I honestly don’t think I would be the person I am today without having gone through that.
Nothing to fear
There is something about fear that is just so crippling, and I’ll be honest, there are days when I do give in to it. It’s a part of the human nature to dread situations you have no control over, but one thing this current season of my life has instilled in me is the reality that there is hope. It exists. In those moments when I feel like crumbling into a large mysterious abyss, I’ve found that clinging onto hope makes fear dim out where it’s not needed.
Jesus is constant
I’d be a terrible puddle of a mess if it wasn’t for my faith in Christ. In my younger days I don’t think I fully grasped how much of a role God played in my life without my realising it, I probably spent much of it angry or frustrated. One thing I know for sure is that Jesus is Jesus – today, tomorrow and forever. The fact that He allowed my mother to pass on doesn’t change His character one bit – there are reasons beyond my little human capacity to comprehend as to why it happened. Whatever emotions or struggles I go through don’t make Him any less loving, He is and always will be a faithful Friend and Father.