A week ago today, my wife, two girls, and I woke up at 3:15am and traveled from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Denver International Airport. We were catching a plane to Cancun, Mexico for a ten day vacation. To say that we were excited is a massive understatement! We parked our car in a far-away parking establishment, took a transit bus to D.I.A., went through security, checked our bags, and boarded our flight… on-time. The flight was approximately three hours and when we landed we were sad that our seats were all the way in the back of the plane, which meant we would exit the plane last. As we sat waiting our turn to de-board, I pulled out my cell-phone and checked my messages. I only had one. It read:
“Michael, we are at Memorial North and Mom has just passed to glory. I am truly sorry to give you such news as you are off to Mexico. She passed peacefully, surrounded by much love. I’ll let you know what’s next, when I know. – Dad”
I couldn’t move. I have never gone from one feeling to an exact opposite feeling in such a short period of time. My wife and girls were laughing and joking… and I just sat there. Kelli said, “Are you ready, or what!?” I stared out the little window and just handed her my phone. She read it and then looked at our girls and said, “Grandma just passed away.“
We’ve been in Mexico for a week now. We return on Thursday night. It’s funny… when Kelli and I booked this vacation I told her I simply wanted to go someplace warm and for at least a week. Unlike every other vacation I’ve ever taken… this one almost seems too long. My father, and two of my sisters were able to be with my mom in those final moments. I wasn’t. My father, and my three sisters have been able to plan all my mom’s arrangements, and go through her things… I haven’t. When I return, I will go into “Easter-mode”, which every pastor knows of. When that finishes, I will make a series of trips to Colorado Springs to ‘view’… then ‘scatter ashes’… then on May 11th, we’ll have a ‘celebration of life’ service. All of which just seems… meh.
A preacher, who is well-known, wrote a best-selling book called, ‘Your Best Life Now’. I feel so sorry if that’s his or anybody’s best life… if it’s now. Our best life is to come. It’s not about this world. There’s blessings for us, yes. And there’s joy at moments, for sure! But this is NOT our best life. We have abundant life, blessings in life, good things throughout life… but this is certainly not our BEST life… now.
I believe my mom has enjoyed the greatest week in her existence. My faith tells me this is so. She went from severe pain to immense peace… in a matter of seconds. I love thinking like that.
But I miss my mom.
I know I’ve been on vacation and I wouldn’t have seen her this past week anyway… but just knowing that she’s not on this planet anymore is… weird… strange… odd… lonely… crappy.
I’m incredibly grateful, as I am sad. Is that possible? Grateful for her example to me. Sad that she’s no longer a phone call away. Grateful for her laugh, smile, and kisses. Sad because I’ll miss her laugh, smile, and kisses. Grateful for her unconditional love. Sad that she died on my birthday… but honestly, the day wouldn’t have mattered. Grateful for her selfless life. Sad for all the times… I didn’t spend in her presence.
I’m grateful for God’s Word that tells me that when my mom is apart from her body, she is with the Lord. I’m grateful that no eye has seen, nor ear heard, the wondrous things she’s now experiencing. I’m grateful there is now no more sorrow or pain… every tear is wiped away.
Not so much for me right now.
Yeah… this life now ain’t the best. Not by a long shot. Even as I type this in the midst of white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, and all-inclusive luxury. It’s way off… from the best.
The best will be to meet Jesus face-to-face. To high-five my friend Steve who beat me to Heaven when he was just 22. To squeeze my mom again, like I did when I was six. That will be the best.
If you’re reading this… I hope I see you there too. As my father whispered into my mother’s ear, as she was breathing her last: “Wait for me by the East-Gate… I’ll see you there!”
Willa Stanley says
We will al meet up there, Michael. My Mama has been gone for ten years this month. Missing her still, but know just as you do, WE WILL SEE THEM AGAIN. Love to you and Kelli.
Dwight Hasbrouck says
My mom informed me about Diana’s passing from FB posting. Physical death of loved ones is the bitter sweet of this life’s toughest reality challenge.
God’s peace comfort and strength be upon you and all family and friends. Your mom was special to as my once mother in law. Knowing that she is now free from health challenges and dwelling in God’s Kingdom brings joy to my heart/ mind and spirit.
Fond memories of her will burn bright in each of us along with knowing that she will be seen again one day when we are welcomed into heaven.
Love always in Jesus name to you and yours.
Nathan Ewing says
I just teared up on that last line man. How wondrous are the things yet to come – what a reunion that’ll take place. I love the song by Phil Wickham – Beautiful – “when death is just a memory and tears are no more”. But I don’t even know if we’ll have a memory of death, except Jesus’. Looking forward to that BETTER life. Love ya brother.
Donna Henry says
Bless your heart Michael! I am so so sorry for the loss of your Mom? It’s said that we grieve for ourselves as it’s harder for us left behind. Your Mom is not suffering anymore no more pain – she’s dancing before God’s Throne in the Presence of our King ❤️ and yet you are still here to continue this life without her – it is hard & it’s weird & it is crappy – so sad & so unfair!
Lost my Dad 23 yrs ago & my sister 6 yrs ago 4/11 hardest thing I have ever gone through in my entire life! Knowing Father God has been with me the entire time & leaning on Him to give me strength & peace to keep living without them here on earth
I just can’t imagine going through life without Jesus Christ carrying me when I just feel like I can’t.
Thank our Father we know Him and our loved ones knew Him it even makes more sure they will waiting for us.
Praying our Heavenly Father & His Son Jesus Christ give you everything you need to get through ?
Mandy Welch says
Brought me to tears, beautifully put! Praying that the Holy Spirit comfort you as you grieve the loss of your mom and strength to continue to live abundantly. Love you all!
Karen Lange says
Michael thank you for being ‘raw’ and sharing your grief and your joy. We as Christians know that God is sovereign, yet we as humans can’t deny our feelings, we just have to ask God in His mercy and grace to give us His strength to see us through these difficult times. I rejoice in your mom’s heavenly promotion and I look forward to meeting her someday soon.
My mom went home to heaven 29 years ago on my 31st birthday – days before she died from a lengthy battle with cancer, I told her not to hold on to this earthly life, but that it would be her gift to me if she went home to heaven on my birthday – she would be at peace, no more suffering. God granted me that wish, and while I miss not having my weekly phone calls with her, I am so grateful that she is walking with Him in all of His glory.
Praising God that because His Son rose and lives our loved ones have risen and are alive with Him, and we look forward to the day when we too can stand in His presence.
Lisa Buster says
Beautiful…I agree, this place is NOT our best life now! How could it be, as long as bodies still hurt and die, as long as addictions, betrayals and violence still exist? As long as hearts still brake and good-byes are forced. We ache for a place we’ve never seen, but somehow know IS, that is not yet but still to come. It will come my brother…it’s on its way…The East Gate huh? Happy tears. Awesome….❤️