It’s the epitome of a blustery fall day today. The rain was falling along with the leaves earlier and both were being whipped around by the wind. All too quickly the trees are becoming bare. Twenty years ago today was much the same. A blustery fall day that blew in grief and hardship and so many unknowns.
Twenty years ago today my mom came home from a week’s stay in the hospital with a cancer diagnosis. Three months later she was gone.
I remember that day so vividly. We were living with my parents at the time with our twin baby boys. They were just 2 months old. The front door opened right into the living room and I was seated on the couch with the babies. She came in, smiled and said Hello. I asked if she was feeling better. Then she told me. I just remember crying and crying.
The next three months were a blur. Well the next year was really. Taking care of two babies while grieving isn’t what I’d call easy.
Now I’m crying over my boys turning twenty and getting ready to leave the nest. I choke up when one tries on his new suit for his wedding. I choke up when I think of my boy entering the military in this volatile world.
But, today, for some reason the grief of my mom hit me hard. Something about two decades having gone by, maybe. What I wouldn’t give to hear her say “Hello” again. To hear the phone ring and it be her on the other end. To talk into the wee hours of the night about everything and anything. To have her hug all these grandbabies. It never ceases to amaze me how and when the grief hits. You can’t really anticipate it and you can’t predict it. And after twenty years, it doesn’t happen often. But it has been twenty years! Twenty. Where did that go?
My mom loved Neil Diamond. I can vividly picture her dancing and singing to his records in our living room growing up. I knew all the lyrics and sang along. “Hello Again” seems fitting for today. Someday I’ll get to say, “Hello” again.
I am certain of that, you know. She is in heaven, not because I wish it so or because she was a good woman. She’s there because of the power and blood of Jesus, who she accepted as her Savior when I was young. And because He’s my Savior too, I’ll get to be there with her and say Hello.
So, while I grieve, I don’t grieve as one without hope. I believe Jesus died and rose again and so I believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. Check out 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.
Do you know him? Truly know him? Can you grieve with hope? Can you look at this world and say, it’s not my home, there’s a better place waiting for me?
While twenty years is a long time and I’m thankful for all of them, we don’t know how long we have on this earth. My mom wasn’t quite 44 years old when she died. Too young, we say. But who are we to know? I’m thankful she knew Jesus in this life so that she could spend eternity with him in the next. I’m thankful He has given us that option, that free gift, if we’ll just take it.
Here’s another great Neil Diamond song I remember singing with my mom.