So, my Mom passed almost 10 months ago. I have a lot of unsaid, inexpressible thoughts and feelings about this. I still cry, randomly, without warning. I still forget I can’t call to share news with her. And I still know that society has very strong feelings about this, and how men should process this event. Especially sons.I was touched when my wife’s mother passed. It seemed I didn’t have to say much, because for quite some time, someone was calling, texting, checking. I took some solace in it, and had some level of expectation that when I faced that time, I would have that to kind-of process me through it. Sadly, I was very mistaken. My phone rang 5 times. Two of those calls were part of Sober by Grace. One was a dear friend from The Prayer Room. One from a friend that came late, but, still..it came. One call from a pastor at the church we were at. And another was from an old friend, a child of my Mother’s best friend. And that was it, save for a few texts. So I was left with the feeling that, this is the way adult children handle it. It’s the circle of life, get a grip, and move forward. But today, with some clarity and healthy healing, I can see that my church failed me. And it’s not to say they are bad, because we loved our ten years there. But it is to say that there is a way to treat a family that has been with you for ten years, and this wasn’t it. Fortunately, as sad as our home church made me, The Prayer Room was an incredible place to process, to grieve, to be accepted, as messy as we were. In every place our church let us down, The Prayer Room held us up.
To be honest, I really JUST gained clarity on that relationship tween an adult son and mother, and it took Jesus. Well, Jesus and Mel Gibson. Particularly, Passion of the Christ. I’m going to say some things that aren’t Biblical, but they aren’t anti-Biblical either. They are, however, statements that come from the humanity of Jesus. The same fully God Jesus, that was, and is, fully man…even at His trial, and even on the Cross.
In the movie, as Jesus is pulled from the Garden of Gethsemane and put on trial, we are invited into His thoughts. And no, the Gospel accounts, the Epistles, nowhere does it give us this insight. It’s poetic license, for sure. But, we can infer that, this may have been what actually happened, based upon the extreme esteem Jesus had for his mother. So, to think that on that day, at that trial, with the Godly knowledge that His time was ending His human mind would revert back to a joyous time with His mother, isn’t far fetched. And I began to ask, why? Why think of Mom, when you are God, and about to be tortured in a way that surpasses anything, any other human has endured? Jesus is on trial, thinking about cutting up with Mom! What a beautiful reality…death approaches, but fond memories are on the forefront of His mind for a minute. Not how to reconcile the world to His Father: But simply, His momma.
And I suppose that’s when it hit me: Our mother’s are our first friend in this world. And no, I’m not advocating for being friends with our kids, as children. What I’m saying is, at birth, when we make our appearance, our Mom’s are the first one’s to hold us. To comfort us. To speak to us. Our first advocate. And our best advocate. You know, we beat up on our Catholic brothers and sisters for putting so much emphasis on Mary, but maybe we can learn something from them. Because I’m willing to bet that Jesus has a pretty good opinion of His Momma. It’s easy to say that Jesus went to the Cross willingly that day to be crucified. But we forget that his Momma was undoubtedly crucified at the foot of that same Cross. She died that day.
But Jesus….on the Cross, recognized this. From that horrible instrument of pain and punishment, He was being Pastor Jesus. And a good Son. He was concerned about His mother. We don’t know much about what Jesus thought, from the trial to the Cross, but we do know that He made arrangements for His mother. Remember the words from John?
” When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. “
So in His last act, He provided for His mother. Let that sink in. His Mom was so esteemed byu Him, that in the few words He would speak from the Cross, He provided for her.
When my mom passed, the void it created was real, heavy, and painful. She was my advocate. And while I could do wrong in her eyes, for sure, she would never forsake me. As such is the relationship between son, and mother. And that is the void that is created: that no matter what, Mom is a phone call away. That changes to, Mom WAS a phone call away. I regret many things, in the way I handled that relationship. But as time has passed, those regrets are fewer. As I age, and look thru the lens differently, I understand she was wiser than I realized. And, something her best friend told me in the hospital room that day will always stick: daughters are daughters for a lifetime, but sons, are sons for but a season. There is an expectation that we live in the house, we grow, and we move on. It’s that dang circle of life again.
So, with his Mother’s Day, things have changed. I’ll miss her. But I have this blessed assurance that this painful goodbye is not a goodbye but, as I told her that last time we spoke, in front of my folks home, and the last thing I told her when I left the hospital room, the funeral, the burial….
“we’ll see ya in a bit.” And we will. And there are days that I recognize this more than other days, for sure. And maybe, today is not one of those days, and it helps, to just write it, speak it, read it, and know it. But I know something I didn’t know in the immediate aftermath of her passing:
That it’s OK for an adult son to be utterly, completely broken by his mom’s passing. Because our first friend that brought us into the world, has left. That our best advocate. The person we call to share news with. To share struggle with. To brag on our kids with. That person, is gone. And she’ll never be replaced. Because no matter how well our wife’s love us, and mine loved me well, and continues to do so….but it’s a different love. Because there ARE conditions on that acceptance. And they aren’t conditions I would violate, but if we are honest, that acceptance is dependent on our marital vows being observed.
I just needed to write. Mother’s Day is different this year. But, in a bit, it won’t be so different. Miss ya Mom, see ya in a bit.