(This was my original post in May of 2013 and is first in a series of three in which I process my mother’s death and its impact on my identity.)
Back in my early days of court reporting, some 25 years ago, there were no laser printers. The paper I printed on had two carbon copies attached. After the job was printed, I had to tear the pages apart and separate the copies. The original copy was crisp and legible, the next copy was fair, but the last copy would always be a little faint. I had to be careful not to smudge the copies with ink from the carbon paper as I separated the sheets.
God doesn’t make copies; he only makes originals. But I have tried and tried and prayed and prayed for God to make me into someone that I think I should be, someone that is acceptable to him, to my husband, to my family, and others. It has taken a lot of effort, and it hasn’t worked. I am tired, so tired.
One week ago, my mother passed away. Losing your mother is a profound experience, a life passage. It doesn’t matter that she had late-stage Alzheimer’s and was 82 years old. When I am still and quiet, I still see her taking her last breath. I’m afraid one day I will forget that, and I don’t ever want to forget it. It’s as though I will lose part of her if I lose that memory. It was a holy moment, a very humbling moment–holy because I know she was passing into the arms of Jesus; humbling because it was a reminder that I will be there too one day. Life on this earth really does come to an end.
So now I am evaluating my life. What do I really want? I know I want to be me, the one God thought up before the creation of the world, the one he knit together in my mother’s womb, the one he knows so intimately. I’m afraid life will take over too soon, and I’ll forget what this feels like, to have a choice. I do have a choice. I don’t want to be a smudged or faint copy of someone else or someone that I think I need to be. I want to be God’s original, and I know there is only one way to find out who the real “me” is.
Father, you say in your Word that we love because you first loved us (I John 4:19). Help me to receive your love and to love you with all that I am. I want to sit at your feet and listen. It is only then that I can know who I am, for you are the only one who can tell me.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14