• Cancer,  death,  Faith,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Life

    Red Suitcase

    Five years ago I was living from a giant red suitcase, sleeping with my babies in the bedroom that shared a hall with her, only not anymore. Five years ago today she wasn’t there by hours and among other things, my attention was beginning to turn to packing up the suitcase to go home after the long and hellish trip to say goodbye to the home I always had in her. It was weird. Today I am piling clothes to fold and put into the big red suitcase for a trip to see the same people I was with five years ago, only now we’re gathering for the fun of…

  • Birth,  Cancer,  death,  Grief,  Life,  Love,  Worship

    And Own that Love is Heaven

    This time last year we knew. Another tumor had presented and Mom’s doctor just told us that the treatment wasn’t working. Mom realized without trying to that she would not be with us much longer and she made peace with it, mostly. She was ready for her pain to end, she was ready to be done fighting, she was ready to “be with Jesus.” She wasn’t ready to say goodbye; really, for us to mourn her. She didn’t want to be the cause of our grief. So as she laid down to get through another headache and imagined at any point she may not wake up, she made us promise her that this…

  • Family,  Grief,  Life,  Love,  Motherhood

    We Mother

    During the 20 months of her diagnosis, I made several open-ended visits to my hometown about 900 miles from where we live to be with Mom. I would pack our giant red suitcase with clothes to move us through seasons in case we stayed long. We’d all load up into our barely-hanging-on minivan and Gabe would drive us down, stay for a couple days, then fly home to get back to classes and his night shift. It was never an easy transition, but I was grateful to be with her. The last visit started out particularly rough. The whole family had traveled from all over the country to be together…

  • Cancer,  death,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Worship

    When Those Songs Play

    There is a station on my Pandora account – I named it “My Nest” – which I have thumbed up and thumbed down to perfection. Just about every song is deeply meaningful to me because this station has played through 2 unique pregnancies and their furiously lovely births, a dying dog, 3 moving days, the cancer news from California, all the breath-holding and fervent praying, and now it plays over my mourning. When my mom had surgery to remove the tumor we still thought could be some sort of sinus infection, the music and lyrics matched every atom of my limbo. Peace and anxiety swirled around and up to a God…