My Mama was an angel. Not a real one, but the kind of person that just oozes kindness. In my Christian faith, I would say, “Jesus was ALL over her!” You could just see His light in her eyes and feel His love in her touch. Mama and I shared one of those rare mother-daughter relationships where she wasn’t just my mom, but my best friend…my kindred spirit.
Two years ago, when I was 25, and she was 61, my mama died. Her name is Sue, and now she lives in heaven. My mama was so good with kids. She didn’t brush them off or act annoyed with them. On occasion I worked in the church nursery with her and can still see her taking a distraught child in her arms, carrying him to the window, and in her soft, slow voice, pointing out the birds in the air, the flowers in the yard and the trucks passing by, animating the road noises, “bum, bum, bum.” She connected with children. With her big eyes and southern drawl, she knelt to their world and captured their hearts.
I know you’re thinking—that lady couldn’t have been a human mother with 5 kids and a pastor husband! You’re making this up! But ask anyone, and they’ll tell you I’m underselling her if anything. Ask the little girl who missed her play rehearsal to attend Sue Howell’s visitation. Mama taught this girl in the children’s Bible program, and as Mama treated this child with love, respect even, she was treated with the same value in return. You’re just going to have to take my word for it, because I’m running out of room. She was awesome, okay?!
So today, I went to work (I’m a Labor & Delivery nurse) and was assigned a patient who just found out yesterday that her baby has died. Such a strong woman, this lady. I was with her as she got her epidural and her induction process began, I rummaged through the closet of donated items to find a baby blanket and tiny hat to fit her baby when she delivers, and I asked for input from well-seasoned co-workers on how to navigate this delicate nurse-patient relationship.
And all day long, I grieved with her. Sometimes, I ignored it, but other times it would come to the surface like one of those annoying red and white fishing bobbers. I was somber all day. I took care of her. I hung more IV fluid, monitored her contractions, changed her bed pads and established a relationship. Towards the end of the shift, I had to ask her some really hard questions like: Do you want to hold your baby when she is born? Do you want an autopsy, and do you want to contact a funeral home? She was open to these hard, necessary questions, and at the end of the day, I left feeling like I really did take CARE of her. That felt good.
So now here I sit on my couch, trying to process this grief, trying to understand where all the connections meet up and what the deep loss is that I feel inside. And…I get a feeling it has something to do with my Mama. As I sit here, letting Jesus sift through my thought stream, I realize that yesterday, or sometime last week, that baby went to heaven. And…wait a minute—Mama lives there! Maybe they are together! And I see that as this woman misses her baby and grieves for a life that will never be lived, I am missing my Mama and grieving that this baby will never have an earth-life with her mother.
And somehow, I think I’ve discovered what Mama’s job is in heaven. Maybe she’s chosen to welcome all those babies who don’t make it on earth. And just maybe, when they first get there, they’re a little sad missing their mamas back on earth. I can see it now—Mama walks over, scoops the little one up, takes them to the window and makes the “bum, bum, bum” sound as the trucks go by.
And somehow, here in this scene, my grief makes sense. I feel connected to the woman who is suffering the loss of her baby. And amidst my tears, I am comforted.
I love you, Mama.
Thank You, Jesus