Sunday, February 18, 2018

5 and 1

I am not the first person to lose a mom, nor will I be the last.  Yet it still sucks.  It has been 5 years since my mom took her final breath. 

My sister said today that my mom has missed a sixth of her life.  The best sixth.  What crap.

I miss her so.  

Just like my sister wishes my mom could have witnessed these last 5 years of her life, I so wish she could have witnessed the last 5 years of my life.  

She has missed out on squishy Asher snuggles, hysterical Grayson jokes, my pursuit of my midwife calling, an unexpected job transition for Jon, two moves, and most recently an incredibly painful and hard year that unexpectedly led to our decision to adopt.

We are fortunate to have family and friends that have surrounded us in the last 5 years with love.  But big transitions have definitely led to some lonely nights where I wished more than anything I could call my mom.

Grayson was conceived intentionally when my life felt just fine and comfortable.  An ideal time for us to become parents, we thought.  But then when I was 6 months pregnant my mom had the initial heart attack that led to 8 of the most challenging, painful, and rich months of my life.  No one would chose that road, but I do believe that those roads are the ones we are meant to walk.  They are the roads that bring us to our knees, the roads that help us realize what really matters in life, the roads that help us truly connect with other humans both in those hard moments as well as when you later walk alongside someone on their hard road. Grayson was such a sweet gift in those hard months.  If I knew my mom would get sick and require what felt like all my heart and care, I would have never chose to get pregnant when we did.  But of course, looking back we wouldn't change a thing.

This last year has been more privately painful.  It has been one year since Jon started his transition out of ministry.  It was hard, painful, and lonely.  I have wanted to be able to call my mom more this year than any other since she has been gone. I was created as an unfiltered, truth telling, open book kind of gal.  It brings peace to my soul to be able to share my story and our lives to be able to connect with others.  Alone is not something that I do well, adding to the difficulty of this last year in which I often felt that way. 

5 years ago I was praying for my mom to walk through the veil between earth and heaven.  I wanted her pain to stop.  And my prayers were answered.  While there was so much grief, there was also so much relief and joy for my mom.  

Now, being 1 year out from last February, I am so grateful that there is once again joy.  In the last year I have wanted my pain to stop, but I also wanted to practice what I preach and sit in the shit.  I wanted to learn what I needed to learn.  To seek healing and wholeness, not just escape. I knew we needed to do the hard work of this year, and not just survive it. God's redemptive work in our lives is so very sweet.  I am so grateful that God could use the pain of a job loss, transitions in community and friends, a miscarriage, the stress of grad school, and just the nitty gritty of life to again bring us to our knees.  

It was in this sacred space that we found our next steps.  1 year ago I never would have thought we would be in this crazy, joyous, and exciting place with our adoption journey.  1 year ago, much like 5 years ago, I was spending a great deal of time crying in the sacred space of my shower.  I prefer to cry where I cannot differentiate between the water and my tears.  I am so grateful for seasons, and that there is always a hill on the other side of the valley.

The adoption process is quite the hill to climb, with so many bumps and challenges along the way, but we know the end result, and we are confident once again that this is our road to walk.  Our hill to climb.  We know there will be joy not just in the end, but also in the process.  We are so thankful for those willing to walk alongside us.

Next week we are hosting a big party and fundraiser that is breaking down my pride in all sorts of ways.  

Remember how I don't do alone well?  I know that this adoption process and journey is a road where I want people next to me, in front of me, and behind me.  My deepest self wants that.  My prideful self wants to just do this all on our own and act like it ain't no big thang.  I am scared to once again chose openness and vulnerability. My inner self is super confusing, welcome to crazy town. 

I love helping my friends.  I love celebrating with them.  I love standing behind them and supporting them in a multitude of ways.  Why wouldn't I think our friends would want to do the same for us?  

When I was open and vulnerable during our last challenging season, people showed up.  I am trusting that it will happen again.  We can do hard things.  I will continue to chose to do hard things.  And I will continue to do them in community. Because in the depths of my soul I think this is how we are supposed to live.  I think we have an abundance in our lives, and it is meant to be shared. 

I so wish my mom could be at my party.  I wish she could celebrate this season of redemption and our growing family.  But I am so very grateful for what she instilled deep in my soul.  That she encouraged this open book girl to live how she was created.  My mom loved birth and was pursuing becoming a doula.  How proud would she be that I finally owned my midwifery calling?  She always created space in our house for others.  Whether it was long term or short term, there was always room in our family for those who needed it.  I am sure this planted the adoption seed long before I knew it was our future. While my mom may not be here, her fingerprints are all over my life, and the ripples of her love are continuing to spread.

You are welcome to join us at our party.  Please do.  I can use all the hugs, and love, and support you are able to share.  Adoption, especially the finances, feel challenging.  But we are not alone. We have room in our house and our family for another babe... maybe you have room on your calendar for a party and can love us in the process.  

This is a picture of my mom and I at another celebration.  Gosh I miss her.

You are welcome.  In our lives and at our shin dig.  If you are free and can join us, please do :)

Feb 24 5p-7p
52 E Northwest Hwy, Des Plaines

Come celebrate our upcoming adoption with us while enjoying
-walking tacos
-amazing raffle prizes (drawn at 6:45)
-fun fair games
-beverages for adults and kids
-face painting and balloon animals

If you cannot come to our party but are still willing to support us financially, there are tickets for the larger raffle prizes available for purchase online here.

There are over 40 other raffle baskets available at the event.  How incredible is that?  Our friends, family, and community have been so incredibly generous.  Both 5 years ago, and now. 

If you are reading this, thank you.  Thank you for praying for us, for coming along side us.  For bearing witness to our hard roads and knowing we are capable.  Thank you for pulling us up and pushing us on towards good things.  Thank you for walking this journey we call life with us, even if it is only through prayers on a screen.  Please know that I am always here to connect through email if you too need someone to come alongside you, or if my hard roads are similar to yours.

Happy 5 year Heaveniversary, Mom.  All my love.

**Update:  My brother has written a tribute to my mom.  Being 5 years older than me, I enjoyed hearing his different perspective.  He gave this to my sisters and I, and he wanted to share it with anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about her.  Link below.

Noah's Story: Memories of my Stepmother, Nancy

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