When sorrow lingers


Three years ago today my mother passed away. Just months before she was in Tennessee celebrating my youngest graduate from high school. She seemed fine then.

But lung cancer stole her away quickly. I was there when she died. It’s a raw moment to witness one labor to take her last breath. To witness death steal your last parent. I couldn’t write about it back then. Even today I can vividly replay that moment in the hospital, in the last few minutes of tension between her life on earth and stepping across the threshold into the arms of Jesus.

Even after they pronounced her dead. I stayed in that room feeling like something died in me as well. Tears didn’t flow, they had been shed plenty already. But the feeling of emptiness and loss bore deep. The shell of my mom still there but the spirit and being of her whisked away in a flash.

I’m not sure where this sudden realization of sorrow came from. Maybe today’s date. Maybe the recent passing of my father-in-law and the fact that only my mother-in-law still lives.

Even though it’s been three years I still miss my mom. No, the ache is not as deep. The sorrow doesn’t cut to the core. And yes, I know I will see her again in heaven.

I believe today she is healed and whole, breathing in deep drafts of pure celestial air. I’m thankful she doesn’t have to hear the constant barrage of news and twitter feeds of political and racial division and school and church shootings anymore.

I would like to sit down and have a cup of tea with her one more time, though. I’d like to go home and visit her. I wish she could come to Tennessee for the holidays so she could see the kids. I’d like to send her flower on her birthday and Mother’s Day. I’d like to see my phone ID say Marilyn Haas.

She lived fourteen years without my dad and grieved for him that first year, but knew she needed to move on and live–and live she did.

But in those last few moments of her life in the hospital, I think she knew it was time. I think she was ready to exchange the aged and corrupted body for an incorruptible one.

Yes, I’d love to have a few “one more times”, but one thing I don’t regret is that we had no regrets. I told her I loved her. She told me she loved me. I heard it. I knew it.

Both my parents died knowing this daughter loved them and they would see me again in the future.

As my mom learned, the cycle of life continues to move forward here on earth. Since her passing, a granddaughter married, three great-grandchildren born, graduations, career changes, and on and on. I’ve come to realize that even with all the joys and highs of life, a hint of sorrow always stays entwined.

But one day it will be no more.

4 thoughts on “When sorrow lingers

  1. Sally, I loved your poignant recounting of your mom’s passing and the void that experience leaves in a daughter’s heart. I noticed her name was Marilyn Haas, my same last name so I am assuming that was your maiden name as well? So I feel connected not only by the name but by that almost undefinable moment when you watch your mother’s spirit leave the body which was your first home. Hard to explain the unreal sensation of that isn’t it? Your words were very accurate however and brought me back to that place, that room in time where I witnessed my mother’s departure as well. I’m glad to have found you online and look forward to following your work.


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