My mom passed away one year ago. Suddenly, shockingly she was gone. Within hours of her death I was on a plane to Houston, mercifully sitting in the first class front row window seat. Staring out at the snow-covered Rockies my tears fell and my heart cried out to God. Why? What the hell? What happened? O God – have mercy.
I was my mom’s executrix, responsible to ensure that her bills were paid, her home was sold, and her estate was fairly distributed. The deep weight of grief wove through all my decisions. My brothers, sister-in-law and I devoted ourselves to caring well for what my mom had loved and valued, all the while feeling that numbing disbelief that she was gone.
At the same time I was finishing my doctorate, working full-time and raising two young adult daughters. I began to feel two dimensional; externally giving and pouring into others while wasting away on the inside. Without reserves, I was struggling to keep focused.
Early this past December I got into my car after a long day at work. I sat there for a moment and heard an almost audible voice say, “It’s time to leave. It’s time to resign.” I was shocked. What? I then heard, “Go home and write your resignation letter.” And so I did.
As I waited and prayed about whether or not I had heard correctly, I remembered that I had been praying for a long time that God would give me a year off. Time to rest, to write, to recover from multiple layers of grief and loss. Was this what God was offering me? Now?
In the end, after much prayer and discernment with my community, I resigned from my job. This week, the first anniversary of my mother’s death, my 12-month sabbatical begins. I am utterly grateful to God for answering my prayer, for inviting me into a season of rest and recovery. I do not know what this year ahead will bring. I only know that God has set it aside for us to travel together.
As I write this, tears come again to my eyes. I miss my mom. I am weary to the depths of me. I struggle to hope. I am conscious that I am beginning this year trusting in God’s mercy and grace, fully aware of my utter weakness and humanity. It is enough today to recognize that the journey has begun.
“I put my trust in Your mercy; my heart is joyful because of Your saving help.” Psalm 13