walking through the fire

It’s not like I didn’t know that mom’s funeral would be a tough day.  I had plenty of forewarning – all the planning and preparation, thinking back on funerals I’d attended and how this one would be so much more intense, knowing my brother’s comments were sure to make me cry…

I went into last Thursday knowing it was going to tear me up.  I accepted that.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the extraordinary pain of watching my own children grieve for their grandmother.

My God, some days women carry a weight that would crush lesser souls.  How I made it through that service is a mystery to me.

But not because I was saying goodbye to my mom.

I stood in that pew, in a church my mother barely saw before she became homebound, to bear witness to her final mass.  Through my overwhelming cloud of grief I looked down to see my children’s faces crumpling beside me, and a strength I didn’t know I had held me up so that I could press them to my side.  My chest was tight with pain – the constant, throbbing hurt of letting go – while I held those kids and prayed I could carry their pain, too.

Impossible, I know, so I settled for standing with them as they walked through the fire. Squeezing Bear just a little more tightly when another wave of grief would hit her.  Wrapping my arm around T-man as he fought back tears.

Wishing like hell they didn’t have to hurt so much, but thanking God they loved their grandma enough to feel her loss that deeply.

This was the part I hadn’t factored in.  My parents were older when they had me, and we were older when we started our family.  But I hadn’t done the math.

I got lost in the preparations for mom’s funeral and in the process somehow missed that I would have to stand with my young children in that space.  That the mama in me would take their pain and add it to my own, helping them carry their sorrow through the hour before moving back out into the day.

I forgot that my own mama taught me to be a mom who would look to her children first, standing strong for them, holding them through their heartache.

It’s left me in an oddly suspended state.  Since I didn’t really grieve at mom’s funeral her loss keeps sneaking up on me, hitting me over and over again.  Then again, maybe I’d be feeling this way even if I’d fallen apart last week.  I guess I’ll never know.

But I do know this.  It was all those years with my mom – a woman who was so strong for so long – that gifted me the fortitude to stay on my feet last week.

20 thoughts on “walking through the fire

  1. beautiful …”and a strength I didn’t know I had held me up so that I could press them to my side” – It didn’t hit me until close to two years afetr my Father passed. I understand how you feel. Thank you for sharing this.

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  2. I’m so impressed that you can write about it. I started my blog shortly after I lost my youngest sister to MS. I had to suspend it for almost 2 years. I was torn as I watched her young adult children and 2 very young grandchildren witness her slow descent. It was heartbreaking. She was more like a daughter to me, I had so much responsibility for raising her when I was a teenager. Sorry to ramble on…I just believe I understand some of what you must have been feeling for the reaction of your children. Much sympathy to you, Laura. 💔

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    • Not rambling at all, just the way that stories tend to spill over. I’m so sorry about your sister. MS is such a hard road to travel & yes, I believe we do have very similar perspectives when it comes to watching those we love go through it. Thank you for your kind words.

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  3. It may well come in waves for a long time.
    I wish you strength in your grief, and also that you’ll be brave enough to ask for help when you need it.
    I found myself very composed at my mother’s mother’s funeral. I felt like she had lived a long and beautiful life, that she had died well, quickly, and had never been happier. She was a godly woman and I felt she’d gone home. I held up well…Until her friend of 40+ years wept so deeply, so loudly, with such intense pain, I lost it. I’ve since found this is often the way of grief. Grieving with other people is excruciating and helpful all at once. Your strength and your grace for your children is poignant here, but it’s also okay to let go, and to let them feel the impact of your love for her, your loss ❤

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    • Thank you, Joey. The strength to carry through is what I pray for now. And my daughter is so attuned to people’s emotions that there’s no way I could hide this — she turned to me at dinner over the weekend & asked if I was okay, saying I just looked sad. They see that part, too.

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss, Laura. Oh, my Heart just aches deeply for you. I’ve begun the journey with my own Mom who is at present very ill. I myself don’t know how I am going to get through this. Much Love, Amy ❤

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    • Thank you, Amy. I’m sorry to hear you’re walking this path; it’s not an easy one, & some days seem impossible. Family and a few very good friends made all the difference for me. Please reach out any time you need to talk.

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      • YOu have enough to deal with right now, my friend. I have some family members who have developed a strong bond with me so that we support each other. I am touched by your offer. (((HUGS))) ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • Thank you. It just reminded me of all the ways my own mom had been strong for us through the years, and how many times she probably reached out through her own pain to do it. We women are remarkable souls in that way…

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  5. My condolences on your loss Laura. Reading your story made my chest feels tight.”the mama in me would take away their pain”… very powerful, so true. That’s how my mom does it all these years and now we are doing for our kids. Sending you dusts of strengths. 😊

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