Life here has been a bit of a challenge this past year. In September, my mom lost her nine-year battle with ovarian cancer. We’d known it was coming – she’d been declining since February and started to slide quickly at the end of summer. But it still hit hard.
I don’t know that there’s anything that can prepare you for loss. (Any sort of loss.) In my mind, I can take great comfort in the knowledge that Mom is with Jesus. But my heart still aches.
In my mind, I can reflect on the incredible legacy of pro-life work that Mom left. But my heart still aches.
In my mind, there are lots of positive, happy memories. But, you guessed it, my heart still aches.
Three months later, the grief still sneaks up on me as harsh and raw as it was the morning my Dad called to say Mom was gone. For every day of those three months, I would sit down and stare at my computer and try to write. Sometimes, I’d manage a word or two. Sometimes I could zoom through a chapter or more. And sometimes I’d stare at the blinking cursor until tears blurred it into nothing and I’d close the document and sob.
Mom was my biggest fan. (I think all writers say that to some degree, but my mom loved the written word. She wrote non-fiction and had had dreams of writing fiction that she tried to follow but never made happen. She always said how amazed she was that I could put stories together and have them turn out.) She was my first reader, and she kept me from having entirely too many eye rolls and winks in my novels. Whenever I’d send her a new, just finished book, she’d call me as she read it. Sometimes the phone would ring six times in five minutes as she had to share what made her laugh or didn’t make sense.
I miss her.
The temptation to curl into myself–into my grief–was strong. (Some days, it still is.) But in addition to being my biggest fan, my mom was the first to tell me to get to work. She (and my dad) was a firm believer in the good ol’ protestant work ethic. It didn’t matter if you felt like it. It didn’t matter if you were tired or hurting or sick at heart–you did the work, because God created us to work. The first thing God gave Adam–even before He gave him Eve–was a job. (Genesis 2:15)
So I wrote.
Most days, I didn’t want to. (Ask Valerie, I whined to her a lot.) But I did it. And, when I grumbled too much, I could hear Mom in my head urging me to hush and do the work, but to do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24).
So I wrote with a slightly lighter heart.
There were more lemons this fall beyond Mom passing. My husband’s grandparents both joined my mom in heaven, and so there was travel for funerals and time with extended family. My sister is going through a big upheaval in her life, and I’ve been trying to be there for her and help her shoulder the stress that goes with moving house.
What I found, though, is that work is good. It relieves stress because it brings purpose. And, although it took me longer than I would have liked to do, when I finished this most recent manuscript and realized I was still on track for my projected (and desired) publication date in February, I admitted that once again, Mom was right.
God designed us to work. I work for His glory. I write for His glory. And I’m grateful that even in stressful, unhappy periods of my life, I’m able to persevere and finish the race set before me without giving up.
What have you done lately that you maybe didn’t feel like doing, but got through anyway?
To celebrate completing my draft, I’m offering one commenter their choice of my existing books (in ebook form).