Friday, June 1, 2012

The Dreaded "Firsts"

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  
From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed:  
lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Psalm 61:1,2 (KJV)

It's all of the firsts...after a death.
First Mothers Day.
First birthday.
First family she would have attended...and enjoyed.
First Thanksgiving.
First Christmas.
First time walking into church...without her.
First time visiting a usual spot....alone.

The firsts are the hardest.

We pulled into Mom and Dad Smith's familiar long driveway.
Everyone was there...waiting for us.
So anxious to see us.
So welcoming.
So sorry for our pain.

I felt a very stinging hurt...deep in the pit of my heart.
An emptiness...a sad, lonely void.
As it suddenly occurred to me, that there was no one to call.

My first time going there...without being able to call her and let her know we were safe.
That we had arrived.
That all was well.
She always worried about us...the whole time we were traveling.

I walked with Mom Smith into the kitchen.
"Mom, she's not there...for me to call."

"I know, Cheryl.  I'm so sorry."
She began to cry...right along with me.

It was always the first thing I soon as everyone was properly hugged...and we had all said our hellos, I would head straight to the phone to call Mom.
To check on her, and to tell her we were okay.

So many memories flooded over my mind.
I went and sat at the end of the couch...where I always have before...near the phone in Mom and Dad Smith's cistern room.
This is where I had talked to many, many times...through the years.

She would catch me up on who she had heard from and what was going home.
I would tell her all the news from West Virginia.
She'd tell me to tell Mom and Dad S. and all the family hello and that she loved them.
They'd tell me to tell her the same.

Usually, she would be at my sister, Debbie's house, playing Scrabble.
This time, Debbie was with me, at Mom and Dad's, and we had just left Mom's burial spot...that morning.
It had been so hard to walk away...and leave here....there.

The reality of it all....seeing Mom and Dad S. looking more feeble....knowing Mom was all hit me with such pounding, devastating force.
To say I felt overwhelmed doesn't quite do it justice.
I truly thought for a few minutes that I couldn't bear more second.

This hurt is completely overwhelming.
And when I think of being overwhelmed, I think of King David and today's passage of Scripture where
he said, "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

I am so thankful there is such a Rock.
To run to in times like these...every time I face a new "first".
To be led the only One Who can every moment of grief.

As I pass through these "firsts", and I survive each one of them, perhaps it will make it a little easier to go through the "seconds" and the "thirds", on down the line.

Maybe one day, this won't hurt so much.

Right now, that doesn't seem anywhere in the realm of reality.

I'm glad I know the Rock....on a personal, intimate level.
I'm glad He is always available...always waiting...always willing to stoop from His place so much higher than I....and minister to and bind up my broken heart.

His precious, healing tender, so gentle, so full of compassion.
What comfort to know that as I face these firsts....every, single one of them....He will face them with me.

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