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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Heaven!

Can you remember the very first time in your life when you came face to face with the fact that there was a Heaven? I think I was always taught there was a Heaven, that God loved me and died for me so that I could go there, and that it was a wonderful place. But as a very small child, those are vague, unimportant things that really don't make a big impact. . .until!

I can still remember our backyard. It was small, fenced in, with a detached garage in the back. Since we lived on a corner, the side wall of the garage lined the back of our backyard. We played a lot there. And I remember being very aware of the birds building their nests in the little birdhouses that were built in under the eaves. Back and forth they would go with pieces of grass to build a nest. Soon, it seemed the nesting was overdone as it was all hanging out of the holes. Then, those little birds were carrying food back and forth in what seemed like a frenzy.

One day, I can remember being in a panic, as one of the birds was lying on the ground. It was still. And though I had not faced death up until this time, somehow I knew it was dead. I can still remember my Mom and Dad helping us through that time. She gave us a shoe box and we gently put the little bird into box. My Dad explained that God must have needed a little bird in Heaven, so now it was very happy flying around Heaven and that God would feed it and take care of it. He then said a little prayer and he buried the bird.

And that was that!

Little did I know that in a year or two, I would face death again. During that time, I know I grew up a little more, learned more about God and Heaven and angels. But I had never known a person who died. I had never been to a funeral, and didn't know what one was. I can still remember the events of that awful night. I woke up the a frenzy of activity downstairs. My sister and I went down the steps. I heard people crying. Someone told me, "Your Mother went to Heaven. Now, go back to bed."

And that was that!

I can remember thinking that this must be something very "matter of fact." No one hugged me, or told me everything would be ok. I can't remember anyone ever saying they were sorry about what happened. My Sunday School teacher never mentioned my Mom or said she was praying for me and my family. My older brother and sister never mentioned her or said they would take care of me. We were rushed away to my Aunt's home until sometime after the funeral. When I came back, another Aunt and Uncle had moved in with their family, all Mom's things were gone, and a new life began with never a mention of her name.

And that was that!

It was a long time before I realized that this was NOT normal. I think I was well into adulthood before I became aware of the fact that people grieved and were hurt deeply when someone close died. Up until this time, I just thought it was a matter of fact thing. You just died and went to Heaven! Like the bird in the backyard. Like my mother. I never forgot her. I never grieved her death. I never missed her. I never cried. But deep within my soul, even as an 8-year-old child, there was an empty hole that is still there even today.

It's not easy to look into dark, empty holes in your soul. It's like standing on the edge of a deep, dark well and being afraid of falling into . . . . .what???? Once in a while, a tear would run down my cheek and fall into that dark hole, and I would realize it was much deeper than I had ever imagined, because I never heard the tear hit the bottom of the well!

The journeys of my life took me many places. On some of those pathways, I knew God was with me. On others, I hoped He was not! And on the rest, I wondered where He was. But I now know one thing -- He was always there. He saw that sparrow fall that day, and He saw me there as I picked it up. He saw me there, alone, when my Mom passed away, And though I did not realize it, He picked ME up.

He saw me then. . .And He sees me now. . . And He loves me just the same.

And that is that!

5 comments:

nancy huggins said...

Cora...I know what it is like to not be able to say good by. That happened when my Dad died and when my Grandmother died...but I wasn't an 8 year old child and I did understand that they were in a better place and I never would see them again.
It is a big hole when you have good memories too because you remember them a lot...especially at Christmas...even though it has been over 25 years I still miss the Christmases way back when... and all the other memories too.
My dad was at my house on the Wed before Mothers day and I was going to give him a hair cut. He had to leave right away to go home and feed my Brothers Dog and he was going to come back the next Wed for me to cut his hair....He died on Mothers Day and no one even called me until he was gone. He had a heart attack and they cut him open in the Hospital and that was the end. I never got to cut his hair for him.
I never went to visit my Grandmother in the Hospital because my Aunt told me she didn't think it would be good for me to do that...well, she never came home either.
I never got to give them that last hug.
I now think about dying a lot...My Mother and my father and my Grandmother all died when they were 67 years old and I am now 66 1/2 and it makes me wonder if my time is about up.
I wonder how much I will be missed and if any of my kids will regret the time they could have spent with me but didn't when it is to late.
I guess only time will tell and only God knows when my time will end.
I think about you a lot Cora and I know how some things are very hard for you. I think that having Buster will help fill some of the holes you have (even if he does eat a loaf of Rye Bread :)
Don't ever change the way you are Cora..there are a lot of us that Love you and will always be here if you need us. I know we are miles apart but I still feel very close to you and am thankful that the Lord led us to find each other.
I hope your hole gets smaller every day and will be gone some day and you can live in Peace.
Thank you for being my Friend Cora....
Love you,
Nancy

Juri said...

Cor...the way we were brought up regarding grief did not prepare us for our future losses. Like you, I quickly learned "and that's that", when someone we loved died...we did not speak of them, we did not cry, we just went about our days, not daring to wonder or question. Like you, I did not grieve our mother as a little girl, but I did get my chance to grieve her as an adult. When my son, Brian, died, I went to the cemetary and cried and cried over the loss of such a beautiful baby! I was lost...did not know how to grieve, felt that my grief would literally kill me, as I could not do as I had been taught...just move on! I wandered through that cemetary and found our Mom's grave....and then the grief for her came flooding out! I so badly missed her, as I felt a mother would be able to help me through this stage in my life, and I finally realized how very much I had missed by her death. I learned a lot about grief since then, for sure...and one thing I know is that we were not helped in any way to cope with our losses as adults. I remember, too, that cold and brisk, "Your mother went to heaven", with no love, hug, tear, reassurance....and I well remember, as a six-year-old, my silent response..."then I don't like HIM".

We have come a long way since those days, Cor...through a lot of good and a lot of bad...but aren't you proud of who we both have become???

Jur

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

My heart is heavy and eyes tear-filled after reading your story. Wish I could just give you a warm shoulder and let you finally grieve. It is okay to do that, even now you know.

I don't understand why these things happen. Why does there have to be such suffering? Life is just not fair. But somehow God has taken these tragedies and created in you a lovely person that has touched my life across the miles. A person that I'm so glad to call a friend.

Dani said...

I understand the pain you've had, I've had it too....my dad's side of the family have always been very stoic, not showing any emotion, suffering in silence when someone passes on.....I think we understand now more than ever that grieving is a gift from God, that tears and crying are healthy...Jesus wept and understands grief....He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief...He will come again in glory and wipe every tear...
Maranatha!

kathyann said...

Cora I really feel your pain,it is bad enough being pushed aside when you are an adult put so unkind when you are a child . Your grief was bound to come out at some point in time but is a terrible thing to carry round with you for all those years.I lost my father on Christmas morning which was bad enough but when you own mother blanks you and makes you feel like you are not wanted its is so hard to take !Please don't put yourself down in that way .I'M sure you have a loving family who think the world of you .I am sending you a warm and gentle hug to let you know that I am thinking of you.I hope and pray that 2008 will be a healthy,peaceful and happier year for us all .God Bless from Kathyann at meg's mum's muffins