“…A time to kill and a time to heal…” ~ Ephesians 3:3
Healing does not happen overnight. It is a process. Sometimes a long, hard, and challenging process. During that process there are good days and bad days. Sometimes the process can make you question if you really are on the path to healing. And sometimes the process helps you to realize you cannot do this alone.
After the women’s retreat I shut myself off from the world. For one month I stayed locked in my apartment only allowing a select few access to me. I knew that I needed time to digest what had happened. I knew I needed to spend time with Jesus. During that month I cried, I reminisced, I laughed, and I cried some more. During that month I, for a brief moment, wished I had given my mother the one thing she wanted more than anything, a grand baby. I even had a dream during that month that I did have a baby, a girl, and I named her Theon. During that month I cleaned clutter (people and things) from my life. During that month I regretted not moving to North Carolina, somehow thinking if I had been there she would still be alive. And during that month it hit me…..I was now a motherless daughter who had lost her connection to this world and who was trying desperately to find her place in a world that her mother no longer existed. It was a month of ups and downs; highs and lows. But through it all, Jesus kept me.
I decided to return to school in the fall. My sister questioned if that was a good idea. I believed it was. I needed to feel useful again. I needed to bring a sense of normalcy to my life. So I registered at Temple University as a full time student. What I would learn by the end of the semester is that I was not ready.
By January 2011 I felt like my life was falling apart. I was still in school but finding it increasingly more difficult to concentrate. I would fail two classes that semester and as if that was not traumatic enough, I received a health diagnosis that shook me to the core. It was not a life threatening diagnosis. However, in my present state of mind it felt like a death sentence. I was depressed. I could not stop crying. I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown. My life was spiraling out of control and I needed help.
My church had a grief ministry so I reached out to them for help. I thought that I would be attending the weekly group sessions at the church. But God knows what we need. Instead of attending the group sessions, I was sent to a therapist outside of the church for one on one counseling. Once a week I met with a therapist in her office. Our sessions went beyond me grieving my mother. Our sessions touched on areas of my life that I had kept hidden. My therapist brought to the surface things that challenged me. Our sessions had me on my knees in prayer. And of course there were those sessions that made me emotional. But I will forever be indebted to my sister-in-Christ for seeing what I could not.
My sessions ended after a few months. More healing took place. I was beginning to feel normal again. If there is such a thing after losing a loved one. I was no longer crying every day. It was only every other day at this point. There were songs I could not listen to without crying. I would look at her picture and cry. And one day I was driving down the street and just started crying. But crying is part of the process, right? It is said crying is good for the soul. So surely something was healing with all of the crying that I was doing.
The summer of 2011 was good. I registered for classes at Devry University. It was something I debated doing but I could hear my mother’s voice pleading with me to finish my degree. Even in death I wanted to please my mother. So I registered for classes. I felt ready. I was excited. I still wasn’t working but God was providing. I wasn’t missing any meals and my bills were being paid so I was enjoying having the summer off. During that time I began to envy those teachers who are able to be off during the summer months. Life was getting better and I was happy about that.
But then another bombshell. Life was up to her old tricks again. Life wasn’t done with me yet. The death of my mother wasn’t enough. She had to throw another boulder in my direction. One year and four months after my mother died, my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.
Damn…………here we go again.