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  • Writer's pictureSusan Lawson

February Reflection

Where do I start? Normally, at the beginning, but this time I need to start in the middle.

My mama passed February 21. She was surrounded by people she loved and who loved her. There was no blood, no pain, and she was not alone. It's all she asked for in her passing. She knew what was happening, and she was ready.

I am incredibly grateful for the three and a half years we had her here with us, sharing our home and our life with her. I'm grateful that she got to know our kids so well, and they got to know her too. Being a military family meant that we only got to 'visit' my hometown, and not nearly as often as we would have liked. But to this day, for our kids, going back home means Grandma's place - the house where I was raised from the time they brought me home from the hospital to the day I married my high school sweetheart at 19. I will always remember her courage in choosing to move from there to here - away from everything she'd known her whole life, and most of her family - so that we could care for her as she aged and walk beside her as she journeyed to our real and eternal home.

There is so much to say about the memories we made while she lived with us, but that is for another day. Today, I reflect on the things that happened surrounding her passing, and the way God has gently guided me through my grief, pointing me to the beauty and joy that remains. The way loved ones gathered to sit together quietly with her, and with each other. The way even the most unexpected friends and family traveled, some from great distance, to honor her and to support and comfort us and each other. There were tears, but there were far more good memories shared and long overdue re-connections made. It was a simple and sweet gathering; just what she wanted.

In the midst of it all, so many other major milestones happened, some of which I believe - if such things were possible - were orchestrated by her. As news of things sought after with much hope began to appear from nowhere, I couldn't help but smile and whisper, "Mom didn't waste any time, she got busy, didn't she?" I realize it doesn't work that way, but I'll take the comfort of imagining that it does.


February ended with cold but sunny days.


I was in the middle of a project for this blog when everything changed suddenly, and it was set aside. As I try to get my head wrapped back around the work I was doing, I'm giving myself lots of grace to find a new rhythm.

John and I are setting our sights on new ways to enjoy our time together. We're learning how to relax and just be together, but we're also determined to learn how to actively have fun together.

On the way home from a recent date, we were discussing our hopes for the future and what it might look like to open up our home again. It was never really closed, but it certainly became more challenging in some aspects to host family and friends. We always made do with the situation, but time spent gathering together in our home diminished considerably. We like the concept of creating a life that you don't want or need a vacation from - and that is ultimately our goal. We've long batted around ideas for updating, renovating, re-arranging, re-purposing the space in our house to make it more accommodating for gathering. Somewhere in the throes of the conversation the words spilled out of my heart and through my lips - it doesn't really matter what we end up doing with the space, I just want us to have a posture that welcomes people in and makes them feel loved. The rest will work itself out.


What worked well in February? Allowing things to be what they are and not what we think they should be. It turns out that reality is often better than we knew.

What didn't work well in February? I can't say that I recall anything that didn't work well. We turned the page to February thinking we would be enjoying a 10 day trip to camp, but that didn't work out. But even that worked out okay, I'm so glad we weren't gone when it all happened. God's timing.

How can I do better next time? Honestly I think we're doing okay. I think I'm doing okay. From the start I said I would do my part to guide my grief in a positive direction so that I would not spiral. I would focus on her life, not her death. I would direct my memories to earlier years when she was young and energetic and none of us could keep up with her. That's what I have done. It's what I intend, with God's help, to continue to do.


Something to remember - oh, so many things, but this stands out for me - during the last night, as I sat in the chair next to her, holding her hand while she slept, she woke up suddenly, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You know I love you, don't you?"

Yes, Mama, I know you love me. You've loved me well.


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