My mother passed away after a long battle with dementia Tuesday of this week. Later this morning I will have the honor of leading her committal service. I’ve posted here some of what I will say during that time. It is my hope that you, my faithful readers, may find comfort in these words as well; for we all know the pain the physical death brings to our families.
I will begin the service by reading Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; you rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (NIV)
I will then deliver this short message:
It is always with a certain amount of sadness when we gather at times like this. Life, as great as it can be, holds the final card over our physical lives. Experience teaches me, and I share with you, that healing begins as you feel your emotions in these times. Each of us had a different relationship with my mother, and regardless of the depth of that relationship, there is now a void. The spot in your heart that she occupied is now empty, leaving us sad and wishing it didn’t have to be this way.
As we process our grief, we now share the responsibility of keeping mom’s memory alive, as we share our stories of the good times and the positive influence her life has had on ours. That can be somewhat easy today, as we gather in support of one another. As we share our memories, we will readily laugh today as cherished things from our shared past will be re-visited. This is a good thing as it helps us all to begin to process our grief.
The more difficult times will be when we are alone. This is when the sadness, the reality of the loss can seem at its most powerful. When you get to that place, please call to mind the words I read a moment ago. Our ultimate comfort comes from the Lord. His perfect love is tailor made to each of our hearts. He promises to always be with us and He is faithful to keep that promise.
My last piece of love-filled advice is to remember what the psalmist wrote about death: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . . I walk, there is a sense of movement through it.
These words encourage us to not wallow in our grief. As I said at the top, feel your grief. Let others know how you are feeling. Cry as you need to, but please keep your feet, your heart, and your mind, moving forward. This is not to say we are trying to block memories from our past with mom. No, keep them alive as you continue living your life. Yes, it is now one person less than it was and collectively we mourn that fact today. But she remains alive within us as we all make the effort to remember our mom in the love you have for her.
Always, I thank you for taking the time to read what I post and I covet your prayers during these difficult times.