On April 15, 2003, I held my mother's hand for the very last time. Surrounded by her adult children in the hospital room, Mother took her final breath after my oldest brother read the twenty third Psalm. While she finished her race well, I encountered an overwhelming and unknown course:  Facing life as a daughter without a mother.


Grief is a personal and intense journey that all of us will experience at some point in life. Although death does not "sting," emotional hornets still swarm around those of us left behind. I was surprised by my own "hornets" of separation anxiety, loss of identity and immeasurable tears. As a Christian, I rejoiced at my mother's reunion with the Heavenly Father. As a daughter, I mourned my own great loss. I missed my mother.


Faith became my autopilot of getting through the immediate days after my mother's death. But after the flowers wilted and the phone calls dwindled, I had to face the reality of a choice:   Do I let grief take over or do I give my grief to God and ask for direction? 


The first option seemed an easier route - stay in my pajamas and hang onto the Kleenex box. However, I am a mother of two young daughters. I couldn't let my own grief affect the happiness of their childhood. My mother would not have wanted that.


Instead, I gave my grief to God and He helped me find my way through the swarm of emotional hornets by following one of the Ten Commandments:  Honor your mother and father. By obeying God's rule, I found a healthy and healing alternative to face my grief.

Words From Heaven


Ironically, my mother's ninth and final book When Grief is Your Constant Companion:   God's Grace for a Woman's Heartache (New Hope, 2003) was published at the same time she was diagnosed with leukemia. In this book, she wrote about her own immeasurable loss after my father's unexpected death. She filled the pages with her personal outpourings of grief and outpourings of comfort from the Scriptures. 


When I read her book, the words feel like hugs from heaven. Since my mother didn't have a chance to share her book with others, I decided to honor her by finishing an earthly task that she was not able to complete. These days, I read excerpts from my mother's book at grief groups and share her words on radio programs. By reaching out to others who are grieving, I discovered that my heart was starting to heal. 


Two years have passed since my mother died. Some days I sprint. Some days I crawl. However, I continue to move forward on the now familiar course of being a daughter without a mother. As promised, the Heavenly Father has truly become my ever present parent, never forsaking, always uplifting, always guiding.   Always there. We are not left alone in our grief. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ~ Psalm 34:18.