How many times can I fail? The pain rips at my soul and just makes me fall further into the hole below my weary feet; I am so deep now I no longer see the light. To try so hard, only to end up here again- Lord, how can I win this battle? Just once, God, just once… I need this win. My children need their mother. Do you laugh at my attempts, Father, do you wait for me to fall? Do you even believe I can pick myself up at all…? Please, I need you now. . .
With caged tears held just below the surface, she sighs in heavily, lays her head to the pillow, and closes her eyes. She’s done this a thousand times. The physical entrapment of alcohol stains her breath and has tired her body as it sinks into the mattress, every muscle tense… A silent prayer to God, the same she’s prayed in vain for years. Just a Thursday afternoon; another day to fight through the nothingness her life has become, missing an afternoon of work because the chains of the bottle on her ankles are too heavy to bear another day.
… God, oh God! What is happening to me now? I didn’t mean for this to happen, wait… I’m not ready to go! There was so much left undone, so many hearts to mend, and words still in my heart to say to those I love.
They need me, Lord, they need their mother. . .
But… I am just so tired. I am so tired God.
I have given this all I have to give. I have screamed at you to take this burden from me, Lord, and yet I bear it. I have appeased others to get help and burned my pride to ashes when I failed, knowing that is what everyone expected me to do. Do you know the pain of failing every time you try? Because I do. And Lord, I am just so tired.
Maybe… Maybe if I let go now. Maybe if this is easiest on everyone else. Maybe…
As the pressure increase in her lungs, breathing becomes heavier and each breathe a challenge. As if gasping for air, her sleeping body suffocates under the weight of too much… Too much pain. Too much disappointment and failure. Too much alcohol.
Gasping slowly, her body gives into the moment, and breathes its last breathe. She does not feel this because it happens while she sleeps. The muscles relax as the tension escapes through the last bit of air exhaling from her parted lips.
I am sorry, Lord, tell my children and the man I love that I am so sorry. . .
But I just could not do this anymore.
… The call came first to Brandan, our mother’s oldest child and firstborn son. He told our dad whom then had to tell the rest of his children that we lost our mother to the greatest fight of her life.
I, her middle child and first daughter, have since struggled deeply with the fact that she died alone. That, although I knew somehow deep inside that if she did not stop drinking she would lose the battle, I felt as though I could have, should have been there. We all knew, and yet, this kind of thing is not up to any of us to decide, and perhaps, for her, it would not have changed a single thing.
Those finals moments of her life are a mystery to me and I think about that experience for her every now and then. Today, she would have been 47 years old… Today, I think about that last day, and what that day has meant to the rest of my life.
God knows how often I think of my mom. How much sometimes I still miss her so much it hurts. That I catch myself thinking so naturally, “I have to tell mom about this!” Only so suddenly to realize that is impossible. For 21 years of my life, she was my mother, and then as if I blinked and turned around, she was gone.
That journey was hers alone, and although she left in her wake questions for those whom loved her, things we wonder that will go unanswered until eternity, I believe the moment my mother died was the personification of grace. . . That she was not alone, because God was there. . .
Do not be afraid, dear child, for I Am with you.
Your cries to me have not gone in vain, for every single one of your tears was held in My hands. I was there when you were born, and I knew the life in store for you. I knew the challenges you would face, and I have watched you worship Me even when the pain was so bad you could not breathe.
Relax your body and know soon you will be in paradise, sweet child. Do not worry about your children, for they were first My children, and though they will miss you, they too are not alone. I will guide them and you will hold your babies again, just as I am holding you now. Life will go on for them, and because you taught them to believe in Me, each one of them will be just fine.
This is about you now, Roberta. This moment is what you have prayed for, because at last you will finally be free.
Free from the pains you held onto for all your life that taught you that you were not good enough, and that love had to be purchased. You will be free from the burden of addictions you could not fight, and the battle to live for something more than yourself.
I have loved you, sweet baby. I have loved you because you deserve My love, even when you fail.
This moment is for you, child.
This moment you are coming home.
I deliver you because the pain in your heart is heavy, and for you grace is the only way to release that burden… I AM the only way for you to let it go. Because I love you, because you are worthy of my love, now I set you free.
Come to me now, child, run into my arms, and finally look into the eyes of your Savior. . . Welcome home.
This is what exists in my heart, a love letter from God to my mother on the day she died.
That she deserved grace more than anything, despite her failures and regrets. She loved Jesus until her last breathe, and I imagine deliverance because her final breathe was a gift. In that moment of death she was free from all she could not do. Free from the guilt. The shame. The disappointment.
As hard as it is sometimes, when the pain of her absence is obvious because those around me can hold and talk to their mom any time they want, I try and remember why my mother is no longer here.
What I have come to believe the most is that she is not here because she was given grace. Like the thief on the cross whom was told by Jesus that he would join Him in paradise that day, so too I believe my mother was given pardon from the pain of her sins.
How could I do anything but rejoice in this? Though, admittedly, I am crying even now, and did cry rather heavily while writing a few parts of this, I am mostly grateful at the picture of such a gift in my heart. That her death was a gift my mother deserved, and one that led her into the arms of the God she loved.
Today, it is her birthday. She would have been 47 years-old.
I send prayers upwards to heaven, and I rejoice that my mother is with Jesus, and she knows the face of God. I have gone on living since she died, and in all of my 28 and 3/4ths years so far have yet to see ANYTHING even remotely a fraction as cool as meeting Jesus, so I’d say she’s not doing all that bad!
If she were here right now, I would introduce her to my children (and there are the water works again… cue the tissues, please…) and I would tell her how much I love her. There would be no talk of yesterdays, or the how’s and why’s of her life, my life back then, or anything having to do with yesterday. Except to tell her how much I have gained in my life knowing I have an angel in heaven. She gave me that gift when she allowed God to give her the gift of ultimate grace.
Happy Birthday, Mommy. I love you…
From here until eternity.