When I went to my son’s end-of-the-year kindergarten play, I did not anticipate missing my mother-in-law. I sat joyfully watching my son participate in a short play and in name games. As we sat together on the colorful rug, he said, “If my nana was alive she would have been here. She would have loved watching this.” As tears welled in my eyes, all I could say was “Yes, she would have loved it.”
He moved on without missing a beat but my heart lingered on his statement a little longer. My mother-in-law died on my son’s second day of kindergarten. She never went to his school or walked him to the bus. He didn’t even get a chance to tell her about his first day of kindergarten. She would have asked him a million questions and would have soaked in his answers. She was his biggest fan and you could see the light in her eyes when she talked to him.
We later sat on the same colorful rug and looked through his book of Kindergarten drawings and pictures. I couldn’t help but think of each one through the eyes of grief. His Kindergarten book became documentation of our grief journey. I struggled to make it through without crying.
As summer begins, I realize I’m living with an underlying anxiety. I so badly want to fill our days with fun and joy but I fear that grief will rear its ugly head. My mother-in-law watched my kids one day a week since they were infants. And it became our natural rhythm over the past 6 years. But with the kids in school this year, I didn’t notice that loss as much.
This summer I fear that I will notice her absence more than before. I also wonder if the kids will miss her more.
Grief has manifested as fear recently. I’ve been trying to figure out our schedule in full detail for the summer because I’m terrified of having too much down time. I have vivid memories of last summer when we had nothing but time on our hands, having just moved from Indiana to Colorado. We had a few friends here and my husband’s parents who also moved here, but other than that, we found ourselves in a new state starting over.
Perhaps I’m fearing the summer more this year because my mother-in-law is not here as my backup and my buffer. Maybe God wants to be not only my backup but my leader. I need to wait on Him to lead and guide us through our days. He can fill our hearts with joy amidst the sorrow this summer. He can give us sweet moments with one another and start to heal our wounded hearts.
I feel His Spirit whispering, “Be still and know that I am God.” I can rest knowing that He is God, and He is in control. He knows our hearts and our hurts.
What about you? How are you feeling about the summer? Maybe you have not lost a loved one but is there something that you find yourself running from lately? Are you trying to over-plan and take control over your summer schedule? Perhaps God is trying to whisper sweet words to you as well.
“‘Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'”