Preparing for the end.

Today my mom asked if I had any requests for her funeral.

How do you answer a question like that?

I was sitting on the sink in my parents' giant bathroom. I knew it would be a hard conversation, but I had planned on finding sneaky ways of keeping it smooth and pleasant. For instance, I wanted to ask her if she had any advice for the future, or to find out what being a parent is like. I wanted to ask what kind of person she wanted me to be, or to laugh about how many people have been offering forms of comfort that are less than theraputic. I wanted it to be nice because I still have a hard time being emotional in front of most people.

That stuff wasn't on her agenda, though. She wanted to know if I can handle representing my siblings, or if I had preferences on being a pallbearer or not. Oh Mom, how can I possibly think about that now?

She started to describe some of the things she and my dad had already worked out, like having one viewing day rather than two and not being creamated. I lasted for all of 10 seconds with that kind of talk, and "strained" into tears (the term "burst" never felt right for that particular action with me). Of course, being a mom, she had to come and hug and comfort me. How do you like that for backwards?

As I sat there, patting her bony back and avoiding her swollen stomach, I struggled to understand the sheer ugliness of the whole ordeal. I feel horrible about it, but there have been a dozen times I've wished that she'd been hit by a car rather than this. Has anyone ever deserved it less than her?

Of course, I don't know that I would have been forced to confront what my mom means to me if it hadn't been this way. Rather than avoid the guilt and frustration and anger that characterized my understanding of her before, I've been forced to deal with them head-on. I've had to cry through hating myself for the things I've said to her, had to forgive the things she said to me, and had to come to terms with the fact that our relationship isn't the gem it should have been if I was a better person.

This journey is a needed one. Without it, I'm just a kid who managed to get away from home. With it, I'm taking one more step toward being the man she would have wanted to see. God has given an opportunity far purer than one of "saying goodbye" or "a painless death." Instead, he's given the gift of cleansing to a relationship that needed it so desperately.

So with clogged throat and leaking eyes, I will lift up the name of the God who loves my mom more than I ever have or could. I will wait for the time when thoughts of my mom are full of reverent joy rather than immediate sadness. I'll cry out in pain knowing that it's a piece of the "life to the fullest" that Christ has offered. I will wait. And I know my God will answer.


Cece said...

God is good.

amanda said...

I don't know how to respond.