I don’t talk about it very much, but when I was 12 years old, my mother died. She was 39, and died following the birth of a baby–a little boy named Terry, who also died. There were three of us older ones–my sister who was 10 and my 7-year-old brother. We desperately wanted the baby to survive, and were deeply disappointed that he did not. In retrospect, I believe God was merciful in taking Terry home with my mom, for although we had great plans for caring for him, it would have been very hard for us. I see that now.
The funeral was in our small church which my dad pastored, and I remember that my dad collapsed when the funeral home attendants carried in the casket. My other vivid memories include being hugged by a lot of people, some of whom I did not know, and that I had a feeling of embarrassment, and that I didn’t know what to say, but I felt as though I should say something. My mom was dearly loved and highly respected. Walls of flowers stood on each side of the casket in which lay my mother and baby Terry.
Those thoughts and others rushed to my mind yesterday, as I stood with the Scott family at the private viewing of Tanya. Glenn fairly had to tear fifteen-year-old Shelby from where her mom lay, and as she was led from the room, this beautiful young woman stretched out her arm to Tanya, weeping and calling, “I can’t leave her. My mom doesn’t want me to leave her here.” Shelby’s sister, Shannon, was paper-white in her grief, and appeared on the verge of collapse.
I write of this, not to embarrass these precious people should they read my remarks, but to emphasize how dear–how priceless–is life, but how fleeting and short may be its duration. How fervently must we grasp the flicker of affection for our family and friends, how quickly must we shed the ugly feelings of anger, deprivation, abandonment and mistrust.
Balm is for the taking, and healing will attend the dreaded holes in our hearts.
My devotional blog is here.