No man is an island. In the beginning, God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” I think he was on to something. We were created to be relational. To give and receive love.
My mom is dying. She is being transitioned to hospice in the next couple of days and in this incredibly hard season for my family, we’re together. We’re all giving, loving, supporting, sacrificing, and hurting. Having traveled from California, Oregon, and parts of Texas. Sons, daughters, sisters, grandkids, spouses. We’re in this together.
There’s also been overwhelming support and encouragement from friends that may or may not have even met my mom, but they are invested in her journey home right alongside us. Friends from college are housing my family. Friends that I haven’t seen in over a year have volunteered to help with mom’s care. My brother’s ex-wife (who will always be my sister) has spent the last week with us pouring into our family in practical and supportive ways. Friends all over the world are praying and sending encouragement to my mom and family.
Some of you may be thinking, “Good for you but my family is messed up. I don’t have those kinds of friends. I’ve been hurt and I’m done putting myself out there.” Please, let me encourage you from my perspective and my mothers. Fight. Fight for your relationships. Fight for reconciliation. Fight for family and fight for friendships. Don’t give up on people, because in life and in death, you need them.
Reach out to your family and let them know you love them. Period. Start by giving love, not asking for it. Start by apologizing and forgiving, not asking for apologies. Start by praying FOR them, not ABOUT them. Start by changing your thoughts and attitudes to seeing the good, not the bad.
Find a local church. That’s the best place to find lasting friendships that will walk through life with you. Find a church that feels like home and get involved. Go to a small group, serve on Sundays, join a family that’s not blood but that goes deeper.
No one is perfect, including you and I, so don’t expect your relationships to be perfect. Just love each other as Christ loved you. As messed up, broken people. We need each other. We weren’t created to be alone. Our best life is a connected one. Our best death is a connected one. Surround yourself with people that love you and then choose to love them even more, no matter what.
To those of you that have given time, money, tears and prayers for us. Thank you. I never imagined that preparing to lose my mom would be this painful and debilitating. I never knew that my life would pause, like a held breath, because of grief and heartache. I never knew how desperately I would grab onto the moments that I still get to have with her. I never knew I would be this angry about things I can’t control. I never knew how hard it would be to watch my dad, watch my mom slip away. I never knew I would be this afraid of what’s to come. I never knew how much I would selfishly struggle to keep her here instead of letting her go home where she will be with the One who loves her more than any of us ever could.
It’s difficult to imagine heaven when you haven’t seen it. You just have to trust in the one who holds all life in His hands. Trust that His timing is perfect and our loss is heavens gain. Trust that this is not the end. There is no way to prepare for loss. You just have to walk through it one day at a time.
But we know that we’re not alone, and that makes all the difference.