Feeling the Sting

“Where O Death is your victory?  Where O death is your sting?”


That was the litany that wove itself throughout the worship service at my church this Easter Morning.

And it can’t have been an accident that it came as I stand staring down something I’ve wanted to avoid for a while:

A fear of death.

Friends and long time readers know that 7 years ago my Mom died of lung cancer.  And that it pretty much rocked my world. I was 24.  My oldest was four months old.  My husband was gone off and on just prior to her death and deployed for six months a month after.

I grieved hard and long.  Longer than many were comfortable with.  Some people told me that you have to get tough with yourself after about six months and not let it overwhelm you anymore.  Some people just intoned in hushed words that “they were very worried” about me.”

It took time.  Really, I find that grief is a lifelong thing.  Even if the active mourning is more or less over, I still have moments and days where I grieve her.  I suspect I always will.

All I know is that when she died part of my foundation was lost.  One of the anchor points of who I am had drifted out of the world.  As a dear friend of mine described it, I was “unmoored.”

One of the most important things I learned in that journey was that it’s ok to call a spade a spade.  Death?  Is bad.  Grief?  It hurts.  Sickness and pain?  It was not in the original plan for the world.  I became increasingly frustrated with Christian messages that told me to redefine the bad things that were happening to me as GOOD things.  I was supposed to wrap things up in a pretty little bow and say, “This was the hardest experience of my life, but it’s ok because I am stronger for it.  Isn’t God good?”  Or, “What a gift these trials have been to me because they have refined my faith.”

I could then and I do now vociferously get  behind the idea that God was in ALL of it.  That he was unraveling and unwrapping goodness even in the badness.  That he was using the ashes of my decimated soul to bring about a new and different kind of life.  That he could WORK all things for good.  But I could not get behind the idea that all things–losing my mother, watching cancer take over her body, the grief and loneliness that turned me inside out–were BY DEFINITION “good.”

Fast forward five years and there is a third baby on the way and I am a nervous wreck because months prior I’d lost a babe to miscarriage and there is a lump in my neck and the doctor has just had to wikipedia the diagnosis.

The physicians and medical journals dither and dally about how to classify the kind of tumor that I had, but it lands in the ‘cancer’ category eventually.  For the last two years I have been in various stages of living with the specter of paraganglioma.  Initially it was diagnosed and I was jumping through hoops trying to find doctors who understood the disease.  And then I was shuttled into a high risk group for pregnancy and told that labor could cause a hypertensive crisis and that I could not under any circumstances actively push my baby out.  And I had an amazing doctor and the most beautiful birth ever but it was rife with uncertainty and fear.

And then I had the surgery 3000 miles away at an amazing but foreign institution and parts of it were so hard.

And then I was grappling with life after and loose ends and extra questions.  At first they believed I had another tumor on the other side.  And we were ruling out genetic causes.  And one by one we crossed the questions that could be answered off the list until on this past Friday, Good Friday, in some capacity we could finally say, “It is finished.”

But still guardedness, caution, anxiety….  fear…  hang about me.  I want to be carefree and happy about the good news I have received, but the truth is.  I am still scared.  And I don’t want to be too happy only to find out that the journey isn’t over yet.

Furthermore, lately it occurs to me in a deeper way that I am a daughter–an only child–who lost her mother to cancer.  Who sat by her side as tumors ate away at her…  who watched the ugly stages of the progression of the disease.

And I am a woman who had cancer come knocking at my own door.

Stacked together, that’s really kind of huge.

My endocrinologist listens to me patiently.  Answers my long list of questions.  Affirms me for how much I have learned about my disease and how active I am in my care process.  He tells me, “I will be the objective one who realizes you are a patient who is scared of cancer and scared that this will come back.  We will talk things through together.”

I want to reject it outright and tell him that I have done my darnedest to be objective and to write my questions and present myself outside of that fear.

But I swallow hard and realize that he is right.

So I sat this morning and I listened to my pastor say over and over again, “Where O Death is your victory?  Where O Death is your sting?” and I tried to find my place in it.  But instead I felt the fear.

I am a believer.  I believe in the resurrection.  I believe in the redemption of all things…  Of me and my heart….  The redemption of the ugliness of things like grief and death and disease.  I believe that I will see my mother again.

But death?  It stings me.  I have felt the raging ache of loss at my core.  I have cried animal like sobs and lain awake at night re-living my mother’s last days.  I know what it is to move through life with a gaping hole where she should be.

I fear death.  Though I know if it comes to me…  If any of the subsequent aches and pains that I have that scare me enough to go to the doctor, or if any of the scans that I have come back and read that this disease or another kind has come knocking at my door and this time I am not able to stave it off….  I know when the inevitable comes that I will be with Jesus and it will be the most glorious of glorious days.

But I also know my children will know the ache of life without a mother.  And I know that if I can anticipate it’s coming I will grieve the loss of time with them, with my family and time in this beautiful, aching world.

I know, though I haven’t wanted to look at it up to now, preferring instead to keep it in mental generalities and spiritual platitudes, that I AM afraid of death.

I’m just not sure what to do with that right now.   I want to say with Paul and the Psalmist and my pastor, “Where O death is your victory?  Where O death is your sting?”

Right now though I am grappling with the enormity of losing my mother to cancer and then staring it down myself.

Incidentally my other pastor preached the Good Friday sermon.  He asserted that as Christians, we are more free to allow ourselves to feel and express our grief, our sadness, our hurt, and our fear because we know in the end there is victory…  Because we know that what undergirds us always is Christ’s victory over sin and death.  We can feel it all fully because on the other side of that darkness there is hope.

So maybe, in some backwards way, if I let myself sit here where I am…  And if I give myself the chance to do the work and process it, I am still grasping firmly to hope.

In the midst of the fear and the grief and the hurt…  In the midst of the enormity of living on the other side of all of this.  In spite of the fear and the sting I DO feel it is the hope that will allow me the peace and the defiance to say those words to death.  Even if this Easter Day I feel the fear more than the victory.

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Where to Hang my Hope

I’m addicted to my pastor’s sermons.  Which, I think, is a much healthier addiction than my very real addiction to chocolate and baked goods of all varieties.  There are a collection of past sermons on ITunes and some times when I’m needing a lift in the evenings, I’ll look for one I haven’t listened to yet.  I’m telling you, I’m pretty sure you’d have to be dead to not feel some moving of the spirit within when listening to these messages.

Last week I listened to a sermon that has kind of been rattling around the rafters of my heart ever since.  In it the pastor challenged the places that we focus our hope.  He stated the obvious:  Any place other than Jesus that you put your hope in will disappoint and frustrate you.

As I said, this is obvious and it’s not a new thought to me, but it made me do a reality check.  Have I mentioned lately how hard deployments are?  Oh, several thousand times?  Sorry about that.  So anyway…  In the midst of a deployment–at the beginning or the middle or even nearing the end when you’re just tired and worn down and the hard has just been so hard it’s so easy to see that ‘end date’ as the thing in which to put your hope.  It is the light at the end of the tunnel, and my wonderful and amazing husband gets to be cast as the super hero that will swoop in and chase the bad guys away.  I glamorize the welcome home and imagine that when he walks through the door and our family is again complete that the angels and little birdies will sweetly sing and my inner and outer world will be at peace at last.

I’ve been through this a couple of times.  And that bit actually happens sometimes.  For a couple of days.

Of course if that Rockwellian Happy Ending is what I put my hope in, I set myself up for a rather dramatic thud a week and a half into his being home when I’m knee deep in smelly boat laundry, feeling cramped in bed, and trying to figure out how exactly to let him back in to the running of the household that I have been managing just fine by myself thankyouverymuch.

Because then, the girls get rowdy and wild and instead of it just being me pulling my hair out, it’s me AND my husband pulling our hair out.  The dance of reintegration gets tricky and we start snapping at each other as we try to remember how we fit together again and as we assess where we changed and where we grew and where we got harder as a result of the challenge.  The honeymoon stage ends and life’s challenges creep in and we all have to re-calibrate.

If I put my hope in this deployment ending…  If I put my hope in my husband coming home and ‘rescuing me’ from this hard, I WILL be disappointed.  As great as the man looks in tights and a cape (or rather…  in Dress Blues and a Dixie Cup cover), I have to remember this.

If I put my hope in Christ, I WON’T be disappointed.  And I don’t have to wait til we get to the ‘end date’ to sink into the joy and peace that placing my hope there can bring.

 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

–Romans:3-5

I’m not trying to over dramaticize things by calling the challenges of deployment ‘suffering.’ When I apply these thoughts to my life though, I categorize pretty much everything that I consider ‘challenging’ as stuff that can produce perseverance and therefore character and therefore hope.  Deployments call for perseverance and endurance.  There’s just no getting around that.

So I’m doing my best to hang my hat on my hope where I won’t get disappointed.  I’m trying to hang it some place that won’t cause erosion to my relationship to my husband.  He’s pretty incredible, but if I hang my hope on him, he WILL fail me and then I WILL feel crushed and disappointed and angry.

Some days I have to remind myself over and over and over again–Hope in Christ.  He is here NOW.  He is in this NOW.  The end of the deployment looks like the perfect happy ending, but putting my hope in the right place means that the happy ending is unfolding even as we speak.  It is happening in the development of perseverance and character.  It is happening in the comfort I find in the hard days and the joys that I can count along the way.  It is happening in the places where I find abundant life sprinkled in and amongst the challenging stuff.  It is happening in the redemptive work being done inside of me as God faithfully promises not to waste even these relatively minor struggles.

I can’t wait for this deployment to be over, but I’m hanging my hope where it belongs.

Google has it’s limits

I’ve spent a lot of time with Google in the last year or so.

When my doctor called to tell me over a year ago that I had a Carotid Paraganglioma, he had to Google the term himself.

Since then I’ve spent time reading about my diagnosis, trying to find out if there could be a genetic cause, trying to understand what exactly the tumor was, finding out where to get the best treatment.  All on Google.  I learned more than you’d guess plugging things in to that magic little rectangular with a blinking cursor.  Had I not spent so much time researching with search engines, I wouldn’t have gotten to the doctor I needed.  I wouldn’t know most of what I do about my disease.  It was a powerful tool.

When I had the tumor removed in February I was told I had a ‘nodule’ on the other carotid artery.  I was told that there was a good likelihood that this little nodule would grow into another full-blown tumor.  I was also tested for two genetic mutations that might be the root cause of these tumors.  As I waited (and waited, and waited) for those test results I found myself turning to Mr. Google again.  I read and reread every article I could find about the genetic mutations involved trying to guess which one it might be.  I Googled the name of my medical institution and “how long do genetic test results take?”  I wanted answers and in the absence of the official answers, I tried to use my own resources to come up with something to satisfy my mind in the meantime.  It didn’t really work.

Then I found out that I was negative for the mutations for which I was tested.  Which blew my mind more than just a little bit.  And that, ironically, led to more questions.

If I don’t have a genetic mutation, but it does look like I have another tumor what does that mean?  Could I have another genetic mutation?  How many people without genetic mutations have tumors on both carotid arteries?  Does having bilateral tumors increase my risk for metastasis?  See what I mean?  Lots of questions!!

There’s a pattern to the searching and a predictable emotional spectrum that I experience when I do it.  Initially I’m just curious about something.  Then I’m finding all the different combinations of search terms I can think of.  Then I try another angle.  At some point I feel like I really must be on to something.  By the end I realize that my questions don’t have easy answers.  The doctors I see might not even have conclusive answers for me.  It’s a rare and somewhat mysterious disease.    Then, I realize what a thud:  The answer isn’t on Google.   I realize in these moments my search is futile.

Google doesn’t hold the answer to all of life’s mysteries or even most of life’s mysteries.  An amazing amount of information exists on the internet and can be accessed by things like Google.  It’s true.  But some questions just don’t have easy answers that can be dredged up with exactly the right search terms.

Sometimes you have to wait to talk to the experts.  Sometimes you have to talk to someone who can look at all the pieces of the puzzle and put them together.  Doctors are good for that.  I’m hoping to get a few more of those answers in the not to distant future from people with fancy degrees who know how to make sense of more of these things that I do.

But sometimes my questions are bigger than Google, and even bigger than folks with fancy degrees.  I’ve realized with a start several times that the real question I was looking to answer was bigger than the one I was typing into the search engine.  The real question I wanted answered on many days and late nights of Google Perusal was this one:  Why?  Why did this happen?  Why did this happen to me?  Why have so many other cancers and illnesses befallen my family?  Why?

Google is NOT that good, Y’all.

Sometimes there just aren’t answers. Sometimes only God holds the answers.  Often, they reside tucked into the folds of His essence so deeply that only He can see them fully.  Only He can comprehend them.  Only He can make sense of what seems senseless.

Moreover, while I can be lulled into thinking that seeking answers to questions like these has some intrinsic value, the reality is that the importance of my searching is minuscule in comparison to seeking after He who holds the answers my heart really needs.  He is the answer to many of the most important questions and He whispers reassurances to so many others my heart asks:  Is it all really ok?  Really?  (Yes.  All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him).  Am I alone in this?  (I will never leave you or forsake you?)  If all of this is so bad….  what does that mean about who He is to me? (For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

My brain, coupled with the wonders of the internet and Google are limited.  Sorely limited.

God isn’t.  And it’s Him I must seek first.


Still

I’m joining in the fun started over at Incourage today. Playing with the word “Still” for five minutes. Here goes:

Am I still here?

Am I still sitting here fretting and stewing about the tumor(s)? Am I still saying the same things over and over again? Writing the same things over and over again? Praying the same things over and over again? It’s still there (the new one… the little one…  what is it???). But I’m still here.

Am I still at this ‘stuck’ place as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a housekeeper.

Am I still stuck in ruts of sin? Laziness and gluttony? Lack of self control? Still not doing what needs to be done? Still losing my patience with my girls? Still feeling such a fatigue of soul and spirit.

Am I still yelling too often and spinning the same tapes of self-hatred in my head?

Am I still doing the things that I ought not do even though I want to do otherwise?

Am I still doing the same things day in and day out and expecting different results?

Am I still here? Still me. Still messy and broken. Still not got it together. Still fighting the same battles and feeling the same weariness of a year ago and 2 years and 5 years ago.

I still don’t have it together.

But the good news is. He is STILL God. He is STILL good. He STILL loves me.

With all of my imperfection. With my messy house, and filthy bathtubs, and dusty bedroom, and kitchen amuk.

With my ‘spare tire(s),’ and start, try, fall again at so many issues–eating, cleaning, attitude… He STILL loves me.

He STILL cherishes me.

He STILL offers to empower me with His Holy Spirit.

He STILL equips me for the battle.

He is STILL perfecting me.

He STILL hasn’t given up. He STILL sees my faltering progress even when I can’t. He STILL sees that I stay in the game even STILL. Even the days when I feel like I haven’t gotten anywhere. I’m STILL trying and He is STILL giving me the strength to.

He is STILL good when the tumor is still there and the answers don’t come.

He is STILL. And he helps me to BE STILL and know.

Still.

Mary Heart in a Martha World

I’m doing a little local drama this Easter.  I’m  Mary Magdalene in a little Maunday Thursday pageant about the “Other Twelve Disciples,” those being the women who followed Jesus and were there until the end. 

This week during the read through I was struck by another Mary:  Mary the sister of Lazarus.  Mary the sister of Martha.  Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet, soaking Him in, while Martha bustled about worried and anxious about many things.  I’ve always identified more with Martha, as I often feel worried and anxious about many things, myself.  It hit me though, as we were reading our parts that I might have a little Mary in me, afterall. 

The description offered in this little play categorizes Mary as “One who seemed to be busier internally than she appeared to be externally.”   That’s me.  That’s me all over.  “Bustling around the house was not one of her higher priorities” when Jesus was around, the script says. 

(It strikes me a day after first writing all this, that I’m basing all this thinking not on scripture so much, but on the words in this play.  However, as I look at the bits and pieces that we have written about Mary in the Bible, I think the play’s description might have been accurate.)

The thing is, while I’ve been aware of this constant internal chatter presenting itself more often than, “Busy hands,” I’ve had a hard time seeing this as a positive thing.  I have a hard time cleaning my house.  I know we all do, but I put it off, and put it off.  The things I want to do engage my mind and my relational muscle more than any industrial inclination.  I’m involved with many things, but I get into them by being a ‘think tank,’ an ‘idea girl.’  I love theories of math and science, but I can’t do the nuts and bolts of an equation to save my life.  I live in my head and sometimes…  often…  that gets in the way of my getting things done.  When company comes, I bustle and clean–at the last-minute–to try to make my home presentable.  Always though, I get to a point where I say, “They’re coming to see ME.  The rest of the clutter will have to stay put.”  While company is visiting, I have a hard time maintaining any semblance of cleanliness that I created because I pour my energy into spending time with my guests, and I can never figure out how the ‘cleaning maintenance stuff’ is supposed to get done with people around.  OR alternatively, I put so much effort into trying to be Martha-like against my nature with perfect meals and perfect home presentation that I  make everyone more stressed out.  That’s me.

It drives some people crazy.  It drives my husband crazy.  He’s a busy guy.  He’s always putzing, tinkering, cleaning, creating, doing.  He doesn’t have much patience when I don’t get things done because I’m so busy in idea-realm.  It drove my parents nuts.  My mother had at least learned to be a Martha after being shamed by key people in her life in regards to housework.  She implored me to learn the skills involved too…  the importance of it those skills though always did get lost with the stuff in my head or in my relationships that seemed to me to take precedence. 

I’ve labeled myself with words like ‘lazy,’ and ‘sloth,’ and maybe at times it really is a spirit of laziness that keeps me from getting things done.  I have a constant, nagging, internal mantra of, ‘Why can’t I get it together,” when I look at the chores that haven’t gotten done in a given day, or my kids’ dirty faces in public.  I often enhance this mantra with the butt-kicker of comparison:  “Why can’t I get it together like her?  Her kids are always neat and tidy.  Her house is always clutter-free and smells like vanilla and apple-cinnamon.  She’s able to juggle so much!” 

But Jesus didn’t do that to Mary.  He didn’t shame Mary for inactivity or mention the dust bunnies  left on her side of the cottage.  He didn’t shake her by the shoulders and tell her to snap out of her internal thought reverie.  He didn’t implore her to do FlyLady so that by unearthing the discipline to do housework and de-cluttering her world she could, “Finally Love Your(Her)self (though I really DO love FlyLady).”  Instead, he held her up as an example.  He exalted  her for choosing the ‘better thing,’ for soaking in His presence.  He recognized her for valuing those present even if that meant they had to order from Bethany’s local pizza joint instead of having a four-course meal.

And this gives me hope.  If Jesus valued Mary’s internal churning and presence to those present, maybe he values mine too.  Maybe he even delights in those parts of me.  I’m sure he equally delighted in Martha’s service to him.  He knew that her work came form a  heart of love–a love that wanted to honor him in her work, but he would not let her devalue Mary’s path of honoring him just becuase it was different than hers. 

So rather than beat myself up for the messes that pile up while the internal hum drones on, I’m going to try to see God’s delight in me.  I’ll continue to try to better myself and clean my home, don’t get me wrong.  But, hopefully I’ll give myself a little more grace. 

I have seen the book, “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World,” in  bookstores many times.  I’ve never read it.  I always thought the idea was that we supposedly wanted to BE Martha when we SHOULD be Mary.  That in my head is a double should.  But maybe some of my day-to-day frustration comes from the fact that it really *is* hard when you ARE a Mary in a Martha world.  I don’t fit in to the achievement and activity oriented world of women.  I’m a thinker.  I’m a listener.  And that isn’t something to should myself out of.  Even when I have a sink full of dishes.

Need a little Brennan

It was obvious from the second I woke up this morning that I needed a little Brennan Manning in my life. 

At 5:30 a.m. my eyes slammed open and started a catalogue of the day and the weekend and the week and the month.  That was ok.

And then it started a catalogue on the myriad of ways I would be defeated for the day the weekend the week and the month.  That wasn’t so ok. 

It was like I was a little bubble riding along with the soap scum down the drain…  I mean just filthy, disgusting talk about myself to myself.  The words went around and around and around and sucked me in.  It wouldn’t stop.  I told my friend, Jesus about it and he hung in there with me, but it didn’t stop.

So I stopped by the bookstore on the way home from a meeting I had to attend and picked up a Brennan Manning book.  Because if there’s anyone who can convince me that God not only loves me (which, is after all, a theological imperative), that he also LIKES me, it’s Brennan Manning. 

So I’m reading…  And I’m trying to let this stuff sink down deep.  Brennan’s words are good, but these were the ones that captured me: 

Come then my Beloved, My lovely one, Come.

For see, the winter is over, the rains are over and gone.

Flowers are appearing on the earth.  The season of glad songs has come,

The cooing of the turtle dove is heard in our land.

The fig tree is forming its first figs

And the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.

Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.  Song of Songs 2:10-13

Those words are much better than the soap-scummy ones being slung around and around the drain in my brain.  And what’s more?  Those words are the truth.

Because there are 100 Comments…

Because of those comments, I’m going to talk about my Mom, and where I am now going on 5 years without her (5 years in July). 

Tonight this post has 100 comments.  Some of those are replies that I’ve left in response to others, but still… 100 comments.

When I wrote it in March of 2007, I never dreamed that it would strike such a chord.  I never imagined that 3 years later I would still be getting comments in my inbox that make me cry.  I never dreamed I would be given the privilege to bear witness in some small way to so many people’s stories.  When I hit the post button, I remember feeling like I was maybe being a little ranty and wondering if anyone out there would ‘get it’ and know where I was coming from.  So many people did.  I think, honestly, that of all the words I’ve ever written, I’m proudest–or maybe more accurately, most grateful–for that post.  I’m so grateful that a community sprang up.  I’m so grateful to know that I’m not alone in my feelings.  I’m so grateful that hopefully, hopefully other people feel a little less alone in theirs.

I wrote a bunch of posts back then that I tagged with ‘Motherless Daughter.’  I got the term from Hope Edelman’s books about Motherloss.  But the more I think about that term, the less I like it lately.  I am NOT Motherless.  My mother is dead, but she is still my mother, and she always will be.  I am a girl with an AMAZING Mom.  My relationship with her wasn’t perfect.  I took her for granted far too often.  She wasn’t perfect.  She didn’t fit the mold of ‘Mommy perfection’ held up as the ideal today:  She swore in front of me.  She gave me fruit roll-ups as bribes to brush my teeth–often immediately after brushing them.  She yelled sometimes.  And she told me to tell people to F*** off.  BUT, she gave me the tools to survive without her way before I should have had to.  She gave me strength.  She gave me enough courage to know that even when I’m struggling, I am strong.  She taught me to value real people, people who work hard but who are a little rough around the edges.  She gave me a love of chocolate and of cake and of cheese.  She WAS a fantastic mother.  And  I am NOT Motherless. 

Last week I had a string of days where I couldn’t help but think, “I still really NEED my Mom right now.  Where  is she?”  I still miss her.  The memories have become less painful and more sustaining.  And I find myself just grateful that she was even if she’s no longer here with me now.  But I still NEED her.  I still MISS her.  I still GRIEVE her, even if I am not usually still in active mourning for her loss.  When I’m sad and want to talk things through with someone I still long for her.  When I’m sick I still want to be babied by her.  I still long to ask her how she really felt about the act of mothering (I know she loved BEING a Mom, but I want to know about her feelings in the nitty-gritty of it), and whether or not she ever went through depression, diagnosed or otherwise.  I want to compare my experiences to hers.  I want to see how we are alike and different.  And I long for her support, and her voice, her wisdom, and her ability to interpret people and circumstances for me in ways that gave me tremendous perspective.

So here I am 4 1/2 years later:  A lot of times I feel like in losing her I’ve lost my compass, but I do my best to follow the voice of the only One who can direct my path.  I struggle with depression, and apparently not just Postpartum.  I get lost in the mundanities and overwhelmed by the inane.  But even still, I know that I am strong.  I nurture others as she nurtured me.  I do my best by my own girls and pray like mad that in the end the balance sheet will show that I mothered them in a good way that helped them to get to know and to trust the voice inside themselves, and that my heart led theirs closer to their Father and Creator.  And as for the other side of that balance sheet, I pray like mad that God will fill in my gaps.  I feel so lost, so much of the time, but I keep walking with faith believing that I am where He wants me.  On the days that I feel desperate for my mother, and desperate to be mothered I cry out to God to mother me. 

I am still a young adult who grieves for and misses her mother.  But I go on.  And life is hard.  Very hard most days for one reason or another (and very few of those reasons are ever good ones), but it is also so very, very good.  And I hope I still make her proud.