A voice in the wilderness: Waving good-bye
As mom waved good-bye to us in the doorway of her farmhouse last June, I looked longingly at her through the car window. Living alone on our family farm at age 88 was becoming more difficult for her, and it was becoming harder for me to leave with each subsequent visit. My eyes welled up with tears, and I could feel them streaming down my cheeks.
“What’s wrong, mom?” my daughters asked. I answered honestly, “Grandma won’t always be here you know…one of these days we won’t be able to drive down to the farm and see her here.”
That day came all too soon. Mom passed away November 20. I felt sad and empty but then determined, having to switch gears immediately to make necessary funeral arrangements. It was almost a surreal experience, the motions, the trek that had to be accomplished.
Mom’s funeral and visitation were an hour away from the Quad Cities. I thought back to 1985 when dad suddenly passed away and how impersonal his funeral was. I wanted mom’s to be different. Feeling overwhelmed about making funeral plans, I called St. Paul to get some advice. Hearing Pastor Katy answer my concerns and her calm, steadfast reassurance that our officiating pastor would lead us in the right direction gave me the confidence to trust my own instincts in planning. A day later, Pastor Sara phoned, and we talked. But mostly she listened. Her soothing voice and compassionate words were what I needed during those initial confusing days.
On Thanksgiving Saturday, which was mom’s visitation, I missed a call from Pastor Marty. His message, that is saved on my phone, of “sharing my grief,” of offering strength, encouragement, and giving thanks for “me” lifted my spirits as I ended a long arduous day. Typically, it wasn’t until the formalities were over, that the reality of life without mom has started to sink in. I received a small envelope in the mail recently. The return address was Josh Kestner. His touching message felt deeply honest. “I cannot imagine the sadness your mother dying brings-especially in this holiday season.” I keep his note close by these days.
Losing someone dear to your heart, that you have loved your entire life? It’s like being lost in the wilderness, a bewildering vastness. But how lucky am I to have these caring voices and others guiding me. What a loving reminder that God is right here beside me as I face the days ahead.
I’m Lisa Meloy. Mike and I have three grown children; John, Maggie, and Laura. I’m a registered nurse and enjoy cooking, gardening, sewing and writing. Joining St. Paul one year ago has been a life-changing experience.