We are Changed

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When coming back from a time away, the sights of the city usually bring a contented sigh of belonging, an excitement for returning to the familiar.  The first spotting of the bridge, did bring a feeling of belonging, but it was mixed with an extreme heaviness.  We are not the same people driving in tonight, that we were when we left this place 13 days ago.

When we left, we didn’t know how long we’d be gone.  Two weeks, maybe three?  A month?  Would we still go to the week long school in June?  We didn’t know that we’d be having a funural before we came back.  We packed up, thinking we were going to spend some time with mom, and maybe the funeral would come later.  But somehow, I think we knew it’d be sooner rather then later.  The call from the brother right before we left – “nothing doctors can do” – caused me to dash back upstairs for what I deemed an appropriate dress for a funeral of a dear mother.

That first conversation with her – the one where she still felt like mom – she was in her own bed.  She talked and laughed and hugged us.  And three and a half days later she was gone – forever.   Her last words to me – that I could understand – “I love you”.

A good connecting moment with mom.

Mom and her dear sister Margaret.

There’s something about that moment – the transition from life to death – something that can’t be explained.  When they removed the oxygen, I wanted to scream, “put it back on.  She might not be gone.”  But I knew she was.  And in that moment hope was gone.  It was the end.  It was final.  Nothing could be changed.  And everything HAD changed.

The three and half days with her were spent mostly by her side.  We stayed close, wanting to make sure she was comfortable, hoping for another chance to speak with her, grieving.

Grateful to have this dear sister-in-law to journey this painful path with.

And in that moment, when life left, everything changed.  The obitiuary that dad had been talking about, now needed to be written.  The slideshow my husband had been talking about putting together for her funeral, now had a deadline.  There would be no more days (or nights) of sitting by her side.  I no longer wanted to sit in the living room.  The hope that her eyes would open one last time in recognition, was gone.

Death is so final.  Our lives forever changed.  And not just because she died.  We are changed because she lived.  We are changed because we knew Anne.  I thank God for the priviledge of having Anne for my mother-in-law for these three short years.  I couldn’t have asked for a better one.  I’m forever grateful for the impact she had on my husband.  I’m forever grateful for the way she welcomed me into her life.

Dad meeting his great-grandson for the first time.

Mom, in her death, initiated the quickest planned family reunion ever.  So many healing things about the family times.  It was so good to be with people who knew mom well – people who she had impacted, people who had impacted her.  The family times helped disguise the hole a little bit.  But then I’d look over and see dad sitting at a table by himself, surrounded by siblings and their spouses.  And reality would set in with startling force.

I often found these two by their mother’s side.  Those few last moments we had with her will never be forgotten.  She left us so quickly but we’re grateful for the time we had to say good-bye.

We are changed.  Life’s priorities have been completely shuffled up for us.  Things that mattered before seem to have such little value now.  We walk forward in this new world, clinging to God, searching for what really matters.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Lauren Stoltzfoos  •  May 27, 2011 @3:51 pm

    I cried reading this. I care about what you all are going through as you walk in the new normal and continue to discover God’s healing touch and savor the memories of your dear mother. Prayers.

  2. Renita Bushnell  •  May 27, 2011 @6:29 pm

    Thanks, Lucy… such a sweet post. You said it perfectly – we are changed. Forever. and life takes on a new meaning… how I miss Grandma. But it brings sweet comfort to know she’s walking with Jesus at HOME. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to all have been together as family. Praying for everyone as we “walk forward in this new world”. Love you!

  3. John & Martha  •  May 27, 2011 @7:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing your journey of the last weeks. As you continue on this changed path of grief and finding what really matters, know that we care and bless you for it.

  4. Penny Mullet  •  May 28, 2011 @8:26 am

    Thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts. The Friesen family has a very special place in my heart and I consider myself blessed to have had the privilege to know Anne. And now I am so glad that I got to meet you. I am so happy for Duane to have someone like you to share his life.

  5. Alvina Dueck  •  May 28, 2011 @1:45 pm

    Beautifully written.

  6. Rhoda Peachey  •  May 30, 2011 @3:38 am

    My prayers have been continually with your family since being at the funeral and since leaving TX. You are right, life has forever changed. But you also can take great comfort (and I know you do) in knowing what a godly legacy has been left behind…..from your beloved mother and mother-in-law…priceless, godly gifts that will last for generation after generation, and on into eternity. Nontheless, it is extremely painful, and you will continue to be in our prayers.
    You wrote very beautifully.

  7. christy  •  Sep 2, 2011 @8:40 pm

    Aww, this makes me sad for you all over again. Even though this is such a sad chapter in your life, I see so much beauty and love here, too. The pictures are precious!

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