Dealing with Death


As most of the Back 9 family knows, my mother passed away and was buried just a few days ago. On the Back 9 journal we always have new people join us so sometimes it is good to revisit or backtrack a little. It helps our new readers feel at home right off the bat. So bare with me if I sound redundant for a brief moment. I have promised myself in the Back 9 that I am going to Laugh a lot more and trust me, burying your Mom is no Laughing matter. In fact, it is heartbreaking, especially if you are blessed as Marcia and I have been to have the kind of mother we had. As we mourn deeply, I just have to say in the midst of the mourning there has been laughter!

When the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:4, “there is a time to weep and a time to laugh”….we found ourselves doing both during my mom’s last few days. At first it felt very strange and odd to me. I would be sobbing one minute and laughing the next. I have mentioned recently that my sister and brother-in-law have been great teachers in the area of “laughter!” Allow me to share a story that I/we have told countless times in the last week. In fact, there are two stories…I will tell one today and one tomorrow about things that happened in the last two weeks that helped ease the pain of the devastating circumstances. The events have given some pleasant memories for the future and have currently served as “medicine”…..real therapy in a tsunami of life! Here goes……… My mom would be the first person to say she loved to laugh. I love to laugh, except when Diet Coke comes out of my nose. LOL!!! I hope you at least smile at this story!

Three days before my mother passed away, and realize at the time of this incident we didn’t have any idea of when she would die we just knew it would be soon, our house was flooded with pain, sadness, and, at times, desperation….It was early morning and my dad, sister and I were sitting by my mother’s side. Our oldest son Brewer came walking in that morning. Tucker, my nephew, and Brewer and Thomas live very close by. It had become routine for them to come whisper in Mimi’s ear and love on her every day before heading to work or school. I am so thankful that Brewer came home from Washington just short of a year ago to work with our family…..seeing now that he has been able to see my parents more in the last year than he had in the previous five years.

On with the story…Brewer came in, kissed Mimi and drew me out of the bedroom to see if he could do anything before he headed to work….I gave him a very short list to fill at the grocery store…paper towels, Diet Cokes and …..fresh cut flowers. I explained to him how his Aunt Marcia had reminded me how much Mimi loved flowers and if she were healthy at that moment she would have been outside working in her flower beds. I thought it would be a great idea if she opened her eyes and could look at fresh flowers, or even smell them for that matter. So off he went to fill the short list and bring home fresh flowers.

My thought was that I wanted her to enjoy flowers before she died. It didn’t take Brewer long to return from the short jaunt to the store….as he came in proudly with the flowers and handed them to me….I was stunned…and to be honest, a little embarrassed… sister and dad were sitting there, along with my mom’s nurse. Brewer handed me the most gosh awful pink PLASTIC flower arrangement you have ever seen. I was bewildered and you could see it all over my face. It also spilled out of my mouth with something like…..”These aren’t real ….what are you thinking????” Brewer’s response was….”They aren’t?????”

If you could have seen my sister at that point, she dropped her head immediately as I turned to her in embarrassment. She put her head in her hands like she was praying….I later learned she was trying to hide the laughter….not at Brewer, but at my reaction. I then looked at my dad who was of course on Brewer’s side. He was giving me a look…..of “I am going to kill you if you say another word……” He was moved and touched by Brewer’s gesture…..I was mortified that my idea of what he was supposed to bring in for Mimi was the exact opposite of what was in his hands!!! As I looked at Brewer he began to smile….then I looked to my sister and she began to laugh…..I found out later that Samantha, the nurse, wanted to laugh but remained neutral, not being sure how to respond…for fear she would pick the wrong side……As my sister started to laugh, Brewer smiled really big and the “thick wall of sadness”….turned to complete laughter…Papa even laughed….

As we have told this story and, of course, showed the plastic pink flowers to our friends, many of the men confessed they thought they were real! I have to say this in Brewer’s defense…….so some people, especially the men….couldn’t distinguish…it did help to lessen the embarrassment I felt…. we all have since educated Brewer to look closely at flowers the next time he goes to buy any, especially if he wants to impress a “female”…..LOL! I am sure Brewer is not embarrassed with this story either….he really has learned quicker than I have how to laugh at himself!……..In the midst of extreme sadness as a family, we have enjoyed…some humor……! I believe now, after looking back over everything, God used Brewer’s innocent mistake……as direct medicine to our hearts. I didn’t know how much we needed it until after it happened!

So the take away….for you, the reader…….God provides medicine for the wounded heart. He does! He will turn our tears into joy! Mimi would have laughed too if she had been aware….Mimi would have laughed the hardest and there would have been tears streaming down her leg…but she, like Papa, would have taken Brewer’s side! I love that……they rarely took my side when it came to my children, always siding with the “grands!”……

In the book of John in chapter 16, Jesus explains to the disciples His predicted death and resurrection. He told them their grief would turn to joy…..the real joy and laughter will come when Jesus returns to take believers to heaven….this is where my joy comes from. Knowing my mom no longer suffers and that one day I will see her again….John 16:19-22, “Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, ‘Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.'”

I find great comfort today in knowing one day there will only be JOY… grief….only joy!

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  • This is a precious story. God does give us the medicine of laughter and humor when we need it.