If I had only known the last time
Would be the last time
I would have put off all the things I had to do
I would have stayed a little longer
Held on a little tighter
Now what I’d give for one more day with you
‘Cause there’s a wound here in my heart
Where something’s missing
And they tell me that it’s gonna heal with time
But I know you’re in a place
Where all your wounds have been erased
And knowing yours are healed is healing mine
Scars In Heaven, Casting Crowns
It was 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. Mom didn’t answer her phone when I called her on my way home from work. Instead of talking to her, I decided to jam out to my music on my drive. I pulled into my garage at about 6:15 and started bringing my things inside: gym bag, backpack, lunchbox. I greeted my boyfriend as I made my way into our house.
“I got you some sushi,” he told me.
“Thanks!” I said.
“And some Oreos. I know you’ve wanted Oreos.”
“What did you do?” I joked, making my way through the house.
I should have suspected something was wrong, especially since these sounded like comfort foods, but he had just bought the foods I’d been craving for a week, and the action wasn’t unusual for him. So, I brushed it off as just him being nice and headed for a shower.
My phone rang. Mom. I declined it as I gave my boyfriend a kiss.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” He asked. He looked concerned.
“I’ll talk to her when I’m out of the shower,” I said with a chuckle.
Mom called again. I answered.
“Woman, I was going to call you when I’m out of the shower,” I said jokingly.
There were tears on the other end of the line.
“Mom?!” I said, suddenly panicked. “What’s wrong?!”
An inhale. Sobs. “Nana…passed away last night.”
I did what I thought people only did in movies: I screamed, “noooooooo!” I fell to my knees in my hallway, sobbing. “Mom! No!” I didn’t know what else to say.
My world had just shattered.
I didn’t watch you slowly forget who I was. You weren’t sick. There was no terminal diagnosis, no treatment. I didn’t watch your body slowly give out. There was nothing. One day I knew I was going to see you in a few months, the next, just a phone call from Mom. I didn’t have time to prepare.
You were just gone.
I cried all the next morning as I pulled on my PTs. I hadn’t wanted to get out of bed to go in to work. I cried through my entire hour of PT. I took breaks in class to go to the bathroom and cry. Two days later, I got your signature, with your favorite flower, tattooed on my upper rib cage, under my bra line, at my heart. It was a way to keep you with me.
I talked to our Chaplain, fraught with spiritual concern and questions and pain. Unfortunately, there are no answers in death.
One day, I was trying to nap in my car during lunch, and I started to cry. I called out to God, “Why? Why would you take her from me? How do I move forward without her?”
As I closed my eyes, took some deep breaths, and laid back in my seat, trying to calm myself, I felt this stirring in my heart. It was like a little whisper. “Her soul needed rest.” And that little whisper left me with one more sob, and then… Peace.
You married young. You had two children. Your husband became ill and passed away too soon. You then became a single mom with little to no support from anyone else. You were strong and independent, and you managed. But you also experienced heartbreak and despair. You experienced physical pain from years of being a hairdresser. You left the life you knew to take care of me, your only grandchild.
You experienced mental and emotional pain. You watched mom struggle through divorce. You were right there with me as I struggled through my own divorce, depression, and despair. You had soul trauma. You, being who you were, didn’t cry out for help from anyone. But your soul did. And your Father heard.
I’ve been thinking of you a lot recently. Some things are coming to an end while others are beginning. So, when I heard Casting Crown’s Scars In Heaven on KLove on my way to work, I broke down. I felt like I was meant to hear that song at that moment.
I sometimes feel like I didn’t do enough, didn’t show you that I cared enough. I feel like I should have called more, should have written more, should have done more. But the Chaplain reminded me of something: every little bit I did, showed I cared. You wouldn’t have been so excited to see me if you thought I didn’t.
He also reminded me I am your legacy.
I’m glad I got to show you a little bit of my new life. And I know you’re watching me with Jesus. I know you’re reminding Him to keep me safe. I know that where you are now, you are not suffering from any pain. Your wounds have been erased.
Knowing you’re finally at peace brings me a little peace too.
Featured photo courtesy of Caroline Attwood