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!”