One Year Later

This is the first time I saw my mom. 
This is the last time I ever saw my mom.

My mom passed away a year ago today. She was 51 years old. She had been battling breast cancer for 10 years and after several years of remission it returned suddenly, unresponsive to any radiation or chemo therapy. She was a free-lancer writer, newspaper reporter, Pastor’s wife, and Sunday school teacher. My mom was also the most loved person I’ve ever known.

People like to say that time heals all wounds but as time goes on I only feel her absence more acutely. I often still feel the need to call her, especially on holidays. I often have things I want to tell her. I often think of what I would have done differently if given another chance.

Death has a numbing effect that interferes with the mourning process. When I got the call from my brothers last year, I was printing off my English lesson for the evening. I’m quite sure I did not realize the gravity of what happened. I only knew I wouldn’t be able to teach that night and I needed to buy a plane ticket. I ended up dazedly walking around a Turkish shopping mall, trying to find a nice suit so I would look respectable- somehow it seemed important to honor my mom in that way. As I struggled in my basic Turkish to explain that I didn’t have time for the suit to be altered, I tried to wrap my mind around a world without my mom in it.

It’s been a challenging year. Probably the most difficult I’ve experienced, but there’s also a lot of things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that I had 23 years with my mom. I was in junior high when Mom was first diagnosed and God sustained her through my high school and college years.
I’m thankful that our last Christmas together as a family was the sweetest in recent memory.
I’m thankful that I was able to spend a week with my mom while she was in hospice care. I regret I could not stay with her until her death, but my mom, stubborn to the end, refused to let me quit my job to be with her.
I’m thankful that my mom was able to meet my fiancee Julie, who she liked very much.
I’m thankful that God has promised in the Bible that all those that believe in Jesus will be resurrected unto eternal life. I will see my mom again one day, and she will have a body without cancer.


About mjbutterworth

Coffee. Books. Bicycles.
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