It is hard to believe, but today marks one year since my mother went to heaven. I was going to write ‘since I lost my mother’ – but, as my friend Debbie reminded me recently, I haven’t lost her at all. She is safe and I know exactly where she is. Thank you, Jesus.

I am grateful that she left us during Lent because my eyes are focused on the promise of the resurrection. Last March, we gave her a big Lutheran funeral with the liturgy she loved, and 350 people celebrated communion together.

We chose the Easter hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” for the recessional because we wanted to proclaim that, because He lives, she does too. I remember the Pastor saying “Well, that’s an unconventional choice and Lutherans do not sing Easter hymns during Lent, but I like it!”

It really was a beautiful way to end the service; we sang ‘alleluia’ all the way out of the sanctuary – even if it was unconventional.

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We have made it through all of the ‘firsts’. There’s a bit of relief that they are over – but, even though a full year has passed, the grief continues.

I miss my mom. I still can’t believe it has been a year since we have spoken or laid eyes on each other.

And as for grief… it is kind of normal now. The waves of sadness don’t hit as often and I am much better, but I truly expect it to be part of me for the rest of my life.

The death of someone you love so dearly is not something you get over. You do get more used to it and the grieving does improve, but it will never go away.

And I am ok with that. I really do not want to get over losing my mother.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I am stuck in time and unable to move forward in my life. The truth is, by allowing myself the time to grieve [and that would be as long as it takes], I am free to heal and embrace my new normal.

Healthy grieving moves us forward – stuffing, denying or trying to rush through too quickly keeps us stuck.

I have experienced two significant losses this past year – my mother in March, and my dearest friend, Mary Lou, in July. I’ve discovered that in the middle of the shock and heartache, Jesus comes in close. He extends His hand and asks “Do you trust me?”

I remember the heaviness of that question on both occasions. I knew He was asking me to trust Him in a way I never had before — and I said yes.

Last night, I went back and read a post I wrote last April, just three weeks after mom went to heaven. It was the first time I had written about her. I wondered if, with a year’s perspective, I would want to go back and change anything I had written.

Do I know something now that I didn’t know then?

After reading it again almost a year later, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a word. I feel the same way now as I did then. I thank Him that I had eyes to see the blessings even so early on. As the Chris Tomlin song says – He’s a good, good Father.

So, in honor of my mom and in remembering her on this one year anniversary, I hope that will you go over to You Will Never Truly Understand {until it happens to you}. It is one of the most heartfelt posts I have ever written and I hope it blesses you – especially if you are dealing with a loss of your own.

Thank you to all who have prayed, encouraged, and cared for me over the past 12 months. Your outpouring of kindness and love has meant so much to meYou have been a much-needed circle of sisters during a very difficult year.

 Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. — Philippians 1:3

Love to all –

 laura