Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pain with a Purpose

It’s been a while. I know. 

And so much has happened. Too much for a single post. 

I lost my mom in December. December 21st at 7am to be exact. While my parent’s clock chimed the Ave Maria, my mom breathed her last here on earth. And it has been hard. 

Not for her though, she finished her task, her journey, and she is receiving her reward. But for the rest of us who remain, there’s been a hole. To fill that emptiness seemed wrong and for a long time I wanted it there…I needed that void there. I just didn’t know it was in the wrong place. 
Many of my friends have told me that there is this “club” for those who have lost a parent. It’s not one they knew they joined until it happened, but it’s a club that welcomes everyone because the rest of the members know what that chasm feels like. 

My mother was very patient with me when I would share any new found science or faith tidbit that I thought was important. I’d talk through my ideas until they were well formed and sometimes those discussions helped mold my posts. 

There was one science idea that had special meaning to her. You can read it here, but to summarize, it was the examination of research that showed from the time that a baby is conceived in a mother’s womb, the forming human sends signals to the mother in the manner of lymphocytes that tell the mother not to expel this new life. Those lymphocytes are sent continually during pregnancy and attach to the mother’s nervous system. Over thirty years later those lymphocytes are still found in the mother—same place—unchanged. 

My mother went through thirteen pregnancies. She had eight children who remained on earth and five that preceded her to heaven. We all knew they would be there to greet her and thank her for the gift of life, no matter how short it was on earth. We all felt it would be a wonderful homecoming for her, because she never forgot them while she was here in this life. 

That lymphocyte science that I shared with her had special meaning. It meant that it was okay to feel nervous when her children left the nest. It was okay to feel angst when they did things that may hurt them in the future. And it was okay to feel that loss and pain of those who never got the chance to be here on earth.

That pain and loss was real. It was not imaginary. It was not all in her head or her heart. It was actually a physical part of her. Each child, with their own unique footprint of DNA was attached to her nervous system and with that piece of God’s plan she was connected to them forever. 

So what of that hole that I have? I realize now that it is real as well. The science is obvious…her DNA meshed with my dad’s to make me. It’s not just the old age spots that I now see on my hands that I inherited from her or the cheekbones and smile that mirror hers. It’s the connection that we will always share. The physical connection of the DNA she shared with me that binds us and that no one can take that away. For me, there is a comfort beyond all words to know that. It’s a personal consolation. 

Now that I understand that chasm, I understand longing for home even more than I did before. My steps are more determined, my choices are more meaningful and my days make more sense. Even in her physical absence, my mother guides me. She properly placed that hole where it belonged…a longing for the heavenly home that Christ prepares for us all. 

I’m not saying the hole doesn’t hurt, it does. But it’s a pain with a purpose…the perseverance to get Home.

(That's my mom giving me my first birthday cake.)


Michele Cushatt said...

Yes, yes, yes. Pain with a purpose. I admire you, Loretta. You have such HOPE even in your grief. You've honored your mother beautifully, and I know she's proud.

Loretta Oakes said...

Michele, so love you. Thanks for your words. I have a lot to live up to with my mom. She was one of a kind!

Gabreil said...

That was a great post and it touched my heart. you have written it beautifully. These loses are permanent but part of the life.
Its been so long

I hope you are well

Loretta Oakes said...

Thanks, Gabreil.

I am as well as I can be right now. :)

Megan DiMaria said...

Beautiful, Loretta. Truly beautiful. God bless!!

Loretta Oakes said...

Megan, I hoped you would like this. Same boat, we are Yoda would say. :)
Love to you!